BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has nominated Kathryn Phelan-Brown, an attorney from Lynn, to serve as an Associate Justice on the Massachusetts Juvenile Court, and First Assistant Attorney General Christopher K. Barry-Smith to serve as an Associate Justice on the Massachusetts Superior Court.
“Attorneys Phelan-Brown and Barry-Smith will bring exceptional legal acumen and sound judgment to their respective benches, and put decades of relevant experience to work for the citizens of the Commonwealth, if confirmed,” said Governor Charlie Baker, in a statement.
“Ms. Phelan-Brown has devoted her practice to the Juvenile Court, exhibiting the compassion and commitment needed to represent children and families in some of the most heart wrenching cases in the Commonwealth. Mr. Barry-Smith has served three Attorneys General with distinction, in a number of positions of increasing responsibility within the AG’s office and I am pleased to recommend both to the Governor’s Council for their consideration,” said Baker.
“I look forward to the Council’s review of these two distinguished attorneys,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, in a press release. “I believe both possess the qualities and the experience to excel on their respective courts and I am confident that they will treat those that appear before them fairly and wisely.”
Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the statewide Judicial Nominating Commission and recommended to the Governor.All judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council.
The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, youthful offender cases, care and protections and children requiring assistance cases.
The Superior Court is comprised of 82 justices in 20 courthouses across all 14 counties and is a statewide court of general jurisdictions that handles a broad variety of civil litigation in matters of contract, injury, civil rights, and others with amounts in controversy exceeding $25,000. In addition, the Court oversees criminal matters including homicide, sex offenses, robbery, and financial fraud. Approximately 65 percent of the cases are civil lawsuits and the remaining 35 percent are criminal proceedings.
About Kathryn Phelan-Brown: Attorney Kathryn Phelan-Brown is a lifelong resident of Lynn and a 1990 graduate of Saint Michael’s College with a B.A. in English. She obtained her Juris Doctor in 1994 from the New England School of Law. Attorney Phelan-Brown’s entire career has focused on juvenile and family law. In 1995, she became certified as a Committee for Public Counsel Services, Children and Family Law Trial Counsel – Private Counsel Division and has accepted appointments as counsel for indigent clients involved on care and protection and CRA matters. In addition to representing low-income/indigent clients, Phelan-Brown has served as a Guardian ad Litem and Court Investigator in the Juvenile Courts. In 2015, Phelan-Brown was recognized by the North Shore Women’s Lawyers Association as the North Shore Lawyer of the Year, recognizing both her excellent legal work and her community contributions. She is member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, and serves on the City of Lynn’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
About Christopher K. Barry-Smith: Attorney Christopher K. Barry-Smith, who has found success in both private practice and public service with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1988 and in 1993 from William and Mary Law School. After a clerkship in U.S. District Court in Hartford, Barry-Smith practiced commercial litigation at Hanify & King in Boston until he joined the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division in 1997. Barry-Smith returned to private practice in 1999 at Bromberg & Sunstein where he focused on intellectual property litigation, and rejoined the Attorney General’s Office in 2002. As Consumer Protection Division Chief, Barry-Smith focused on predatory lending enforcement. While later leading the AG’s Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau, Barry-Smith directed public interest litigation in antitrust, civil rights, consumer protection, environmental, health care and insurance and financial services. Since January 2015, Barry-Smith has served as First Assistant AG for Attorney General Maura Healey. Barry-Smith is a resident of Arlington.