Court and Community News

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023
Opening on the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services; SJC to present Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, Oct. 25; Land Court seeks amicus submissions; Probate and Family Court adopts standing order; USDC issues general order; Job openings: Housing Court seeks assistant clerk magistrates; Superior Court seeks research attorneys


Opening on the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services

The justices of the Supreme Judicial Court invite applications for appointment to the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services. The committee currently expects to have at least one position open for appointment. Membership terms ordinarily run for three years, with the possibility of reappointment for a second term. 

The justices seek volunteer applicants from diverse backgrounds across the commonwealth who are willing to devote their time and energy to improving the justice system and who have demonstrated a commitment to and experience in assisting persons unable to afford legal counsel for their essential civil legal needs. Candidates who applied in prior years may reapply.

The committee works to support and promote volunteer legal work to assist people of limited means who need legal representation. The committee presents the annual Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to honor Massachusetts lawyers, law students, law firms and legal organizations that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to providing pro bono services for the benefit of individuals of limited means. The committee also administers the Pro Bono Honor Roll; engages with law schools, bar associations and other community organizations to promote pro bono legal work; and considers rule changes and other initiatives to facilitate pro bono practice by attorneys and law students.

Applicants should submit a resume and a letter describing their experience and interest in serving on the committee by Wednesday, Nov. 8, to Chip Phinney, deputy legal counsel, preferably by email to, or by mail to Chip Phinney, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108.


SJC to present Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards, Oct. 25

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd will present Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards to three attorneys and a law student selected by the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, in recognition of their exceptional dedication to providing volunteer services for persons who cannot afford an attorney for their essential legal needs. The event will take place from 4-5:30 p.m. at the SJC's Seven Justice Courtroom at the John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, and will also be available live online here.

The committee will also recognize the achievements of attorneys, law students and legal organizations who qualified for the SJC Pro Bono Honor Roll.

The following individuals will be honored:

  • Devin Cohen of Ropes & Gray
  • Scott G. Ofrias of K&L Gates
  • Doreen M. Rachal of Sidley Austin
  • Sara Sam-Njogu of Western New England University School of Law


Land Court seeks amicus submissions

The Land Court (Speicher, J.) has issued a request for amicus submissions in Town of Tyngsborough v. Recco, 18 TL 001223. This pending case involves an action to foreclose the right of redemption of a tax title for land and improvements in the town of Tyngsborough, and seeks the input of interested persons or entities on proposed remedies and forms of judgment in light of the issuance by the U.S. Supreme Court of Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota, 598 U.S. 631, 143 S. Ct. 1369 (2023).

All submissions must be made to the court no later than Nov. 30, addressed to Emily Rosa, sessions clerk, at the address of the Land Court. Interested parties may make submissions provided that they state the party's interest and are submitted by Nov. 30.

Click here for more information. 


Probate and Family Court adopts standing order

The Probate and Family Court has adopted Standing Order 3-23: Co-parenting education course for married and unmarried parents, which is available here.

The order will take effect on Nov. 1, rescinding and superseding Standing Order 2-16.


USDC issues general order

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued General Order 23-5: In Re: 2023 Amendment of United States Guideline Amendments §§ 4A1.1 and 4C1.1. The order will take effect on Nov. 1 and concerns the appointment of counsel and motions for retroactive guideline applications.

Click here to view the order.


Job Openings

Housing Court seeks assistant clerk magistrates 

The Housing Court is accepting applications for the following positions:

Assistant clerk magistrates assist the clerk magistrate in performing magisterial and administrative duties as set forth in state statutes and court rules.

Magisterial responsibilities include determining probable cause for the issuance of criminal complaints and administrative search warrants, and adjudicating small claims motions and trials. Administrative responsibilities include the preparation and maintenance of all court (electronic and paper) records and performance of administrative tasks to ensure that cases move rapidly and smoothly to a determination by the court.

Click on the links above for more information and to apply.


Superior Court seeks research attorneys

The Superior Court is seeking to fill the following positions:

These are professional, permanent positions within the Administrative Office of the Superior Court. Research attorneys assist the justices with legal research, writing and analysis; prepare draft decisions, research memoranda and other documents; analyze and research specific legal issues and questions for the judges; and may assist in training and oversight of other legal research staff and interns.

One position will be based primarily in Western Massachusetts, and the other in Fall River/New Bedford, but travel or transfer to other locations may be required according to the needs of the court.

Click on the links above for more information and to apply.