Page 45 - BusinessWest December 7, 2020
P. 45

lic, the lawyers, the other court officers. There was the administrative aspect and also the substantive aspect, where they presided over small claims and criminal show-cause hearings, and I decided that’s really what I wanted to do.
“When I got that job, I was thrilled, and I loved it,” she went on. “I really anticipated staying there.”
But it wasn’t long before people started asking her what was next when it came to her career. The obvi- ous answer was the bench, and while she listened to those who said she was ready to take that step forward, includ- ing Judge William Boyle, whom she considers her first mentor, she was
at first reluctant, thinking she wasn’t ready to take that step forward.
“I think we’re always our tough-
“Each case that comes before you represents people, it represents families, and it represents communities. Cases are not just papers, they’re not just documents ... and you have to address each case with that in mind.”
est critics,” she said. “We want to be
at our very best before we move on to the next level; you want to make sure you’re ready for the responsibility, have the education and knowledge, all that.
“Judge Boyle said, ‘why don’t you think about it?’” she went on. “I said, ‘but I’m not ready, judge; I haven’t even thought about it.’ And he said, ‘well, you should think about it.’ That meant a lot to me that someone who has
seen me grow through my legal career thought this was something I should consider.”
Eventually, she gained the confi- dence to apply, and while her first bid for the bench was not successful, she applied again, and this this time, in a decidedly different interview process in the midst of a pandemic, she succeed- ed in impressing various interviewers and the Governor’s Council, the body that confirms nominations made by the governor.
She said her four years as assistant clerk magistrate certainly has prepared her for this next stage of her career.
“As an assistant clerk, you come
to know who you are, especially if you’re sitting in the Springfield Dis- trict Court,” she explained. “I know
my temperament, I know the different agendas that happen in the courtroom — and having a different agenda is
not a bad thing. The district attorney’s office represents the Commonwealth,
the defense attorney represents their client, and I am a neutral party in
the courtroom. Understanding those things, and having experience in man- aging all those different agendas in the courtroom, has been invaluable.
“Also,” she went on, “to sit in those sessions with the judges in motion hearings and trials, and listen and try to anticipate how I would respond to those issues, has been a tremendous platform for me, and a way to be pre- pared for the role of associate justice.”
If the interviewing and selec-
tion process was different because of COVID-19, so, too, was the swearing-in ceremony.
Usually a formal affair attended by hundreds of colleagues, friends, and family, this swearing-in was conducted from her dining room with just a few people in attendance.
“I had planned to have it in the atri- um on the Springfield District Court, where I could hopefully social distance and have the public, friends, and col- leagues in attendance,” she said. “But, given the circumstances, it seemed safer just to have a small swearing-in for now.”
As for where she’ll be next week, or the week after ... she doesn’t know yet. While appointed out of Westfield, she could be in one of several other courts
across the region, from Chicopee to Palmer to Orange, depending on where there is need.
What she does know is that, which- ever court she’s in, she’ll bring in that mindset she mentioned at the top — that court cases are not documents or pieces of paper; they represent people, families, and communities.
It was the ability to communicate this philosophy, if you will, that helped her win this coveted — and historic — appointment, and it’s the one that will guide her for the next 26 years or so. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
 We’ve Got Your Back!
The Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England at Mercy Medical Center offers
• Patient benefits include less risk of infection and muscle damage, a faster recovery, a typically shorter hospital stay, and minimal scarring
Procedures include robotic spinal surgery, artificial disc replacement for neck herniations, mini-thora- cotomy for thoracic disc herniations, approaches to the lumbar spine through a small incision in the flank to treat degenerative scoliosis, spinal instability or spinal stenosis
minimally invasive and robotic spinal surgery to relieve neck
and back pain, which means a faster recovery with less pain— • and equally good long-term results compared to traditional
open surgery.
Learn more about the Mercy Neurosurgery Institute and the Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England at Mercy Medical Center and how it provides cutting-edge options at, or call 413-452-6650.
Mercy Neurosurgery Institute
175 Carew Street, Suite 300, Springfield, MA • 413-452-6650

   43   44   45   46   47