Court and Community News

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
SJC appoints Brieger as chief justice of Trial Court ; SJC rescinds COVID-19 operations order; Four openings on the SJC Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being; USDC to appoint new magistrate judge; U.S. Bankruptcy Court holds Pro Bono and Public Service Award Ceremony


SJC appoints Brieger as chief
justice of Trial Court 

The justices of the Supreme Judicial Court today announced the appointment of Hon. Heidi E. Brieger as the new chief justice of the Trial Court pursuant to G.L. 211B, § 6, effective Dec. 22.

Brieger was appointed chief justice of the Superior Court in June 2021. She succeeds Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke, who will reach the mandatory retirement age in December after serving in the position since January 2022.

“The Justices are delighted to announce the appointment of Superior Court Chief Justice Heidi Brieger, who has led the Superior Court with skill, wisdom and dedication,” said SJC Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd. “Chief Justice Brieger understands and cares deeply about the court system. Her thoughtful, collaborative leadership style makes her ideally suited to work with the Court Administrator, Tom Ambrosino, to lead the Trial Court.” 
Brieger was appointed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick to the Superior Court in 2012. Prior to becoming chief justice of the Superior Court, she served as the regional administrative justice for civil business in Suffolk County and chaired the Superior Court Education Committee. She served as the chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office beginning in 2006, following her service as a prosecutor in that office since 1992. She was a law clerk to Hon. Andrew A. Caffrey, chief U.S. district judge for the District of Massachusetts. Brieger is a graduate of Smith College and Boston College Law School.


SJC rescinds COVID-19 operations order

The justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have issued an order, effective Jan. 1, 2024, rescinding the existing COVID-19 operations order. The most significant effect of the order will be the return of 12-person jury trials for civil cases in Superior Court and Housing Court, starting in January 2024.

The justices issued the order in light of both the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency and the progress the Trial Court has made reducing the backlog of cases that resulted because of the pandemic.


Four openings on the SJC Standing Committee
on Lawyer Well-Being 

The justices of the Supreme Judicial Court invite interested members of the legal community to apply for appointment to four available three-year terms on the Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being.

Established in January of 2020, the committee is charged with planning and overseeing efforts to enhance the well-being of lawyers, judges and law students in the commonwealth. Its volunteer members represent a number of different legal sectors, including legal education, public and private practice, and the judiciary. Additional information about the committee’s work is available on its website:

Individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, who have affiliations with local and affinity bar associations, and who practice outside of the immediate Boston metropolitan area are strongly encouraged to apply.

Interested applicants should send a letter describing their experience and interest and a one-page resume to Anna Rachel Dray-Siegel, assistant legal counsel, Supreme Judicial Court, at by Dec. 1. Questions about the application process or the position should be directed to Dray-Siegel.


USDC to appoint new magistrate judge

The Judicial Conference of the United States has authorized the appointment of a full-time U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Massachusetts, serving in the Eastern Division, with a duty station in the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston,
commencing upon the retirement of Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein in 2024.

The duties of the position are demanding and wide-ranging, including, but not limited to:
(1) conduct of most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases; (2) trial and disposition of
misdemeanor cases; (3) conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from a district judge; and (4) trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants. The basic authority of a U.S. magistrate judge is specified in 28 U.S.C. § 636.

A summary of magistrate judge duties is available here.

For the full job posting and the application, click here


U.S. Bankruptcy Court holds Pro Bono and Public Service Award Ceremony

On Thursday, Oct. 19, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts held its 10th Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Award Ceremony. The court recognized and thanked those who attorneys who self-certified that they have preformed pro bono legal work and public service over the last year. The Honor Roll can be found here.

The court was also able to recognize, at an in-person gathering, David R. Chenelle, Esq, the recipient of the court’s 2021 District-Wide Pro Bono Publico Award. The recipients of the Court’s Pro Bono Public Awards can be found here.