Court and Community News

Thursday, July 27, 2023
Trial Court appoints chief access, diversity and fairness officer; SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being launches Interactive Web Tool; Northeast Conference for Young Lawyers, Sept. 21-23; Job opening: Tax attorney at Northeast Legal Aid


Trial Court appoints chief access, diversity and fairness officer

Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Locke and Trial Court Administrator Thomas Ambrosino this week announced the appointment of Natoschia Scruggs, Ph.D., as chief access, diversity and fairness officer (CADFO), effective Aug. 14. 

Scruggs, who has more than two decades of experience developing and overseeing strategic plans, projects and initiatives to promote equitable and inclusive cultures, will oversee the court’s policies and practices related to access and fairness, diversity, equity and inclusion. Most recently, Scruggs served as assistant provost for diversity, equity and inclusion at Marymount University in Virginia, where she developed and implemented a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) strategic plan.

“This is a new senior position that reflects the Trial Court’s commitment to its core values and mission to deliver justice with dignity and fairness to all,” said Locke and Ambrosino. “In this role, Dr. Scruggs will ensure consistency and collaboration among the Trial Court’s many diversity, access, and fairness initiatives. Her significant DEI leadership and experience make her ideally qualified for this position to help us build a more robust culture of inclusion and equity for court staff and users alike.” 

Departments and offices that will report to the CADFO include the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Office for Language Access; Office of Court Services; Office of Access to Justice and the User Experience; and the Office of Alternative and Online Dispute Resolution.

Before joining Marymount University, Scruggs held a variety of teaching and leadership roles rooted in promoting DEI at other academic institutions and nonprofits, and within government, including having served as principal advisor on research to three U.S. ambassadors at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York. She also worked with MIT, Harvard and the city of Boston. Scruggs has extensive experience working with conflict-affected populations, refugees, asylees and survivors of gender-based violence and has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters addressing family violence, elder abuse, sexual exploitation, displacement and state violence. 

Scruggs has a Ph.D. in African diaspora studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was a Ford Foundation Fellow, Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and American Field Service high school foreign exchange student.

Along with the chief justice and court administrator, the selection committee included Supreme Judicial Court Justice Serge Georges Jr., co-chair of the Access to Justice Commission; and District Court Chief Justice Stacey Fortes. 


SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being launches Interactive Web Tool

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being has launched an Interactive Web Tool for viewing data. The tool provides six dashboards that include demographic, employment and professional characteristics of lawyers in Massachusetts presented in tables, charts and a county-level map. The tool also compares Massachusetts’ lawyers to the general population of Massachusetts.

In 2020, the SJC amended Rule 4:02, titled “Periodic Registration of Attorneys,” to include a requirement that attorneys complete a demographic and law practice survey, the results of which will be used solely for the purpose of developing services and programs to aid lawyers. Pursuant to the amended version of Rule 4:02, all registering attorneys must complete the Attorney Demographic and Law Practice Survey as part of the registration process with the Board of Bar Overseers (BBO). Responses are not associated with BBO attorney accounts and do not contain identifiable information that would reveal any individual’s identity. Data is stored confidentially and anonymously with NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan research organization. 

According to the 2019 SJC Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being Report, the collection of this data is intended to address “concerns about a lack of diversity in the Commonwealth’s legal community” and “to create programs to better address the needs related to equitable participation in the legal community.” The data will also provide insights to offer programs and services to help lawyers improve their professional and personal well-being.

The Interactive Web Tool initially provides insights from 78,198 lawyers who registered with the BBO from Nov. 11, 2021, to Nov. 10, 2022. The SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being will populate this Interactive Web Tool on an annual basis, providing additional insights, trends and comparisons over time.

Information about the Standing Committee is available at


Northeast Conference for Young Lawyers, Sept. 21-23

YLS NRPD Square Graphic (002)New and young lawyers from New England, New York and New Jersey are invited to attend the Connecticut Bar Association's Northeast Regional Professional Development Conference for Young Lawyers from Sept. 21-23 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The conference will feature opportunities to network with attorneys from other states, engage with sponsor booths, and hear from speakers from around the country.

Conference topics will include: 

  • Lawyer Well-Being
  • Growing your Business
  • General Counsel Career Panel
  • AI/Future of the Legal Profession
  • Leadership through Civic Engagement

Click here for more information and to register.


Job Opening

Tax attorney at Northeast Legal Aid

Northeast Legal Aid is hiring a staff attorney for its Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. Applicants should send a resume and two references to

Northeast Legal Aid is an Equal Opportunity Employer seeking a diverse pool of candidates.