The following is a media release from the Governor’s office.
BOSTON – Today, May 1 , Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker nominated Jenifer Allen of Ashland to the position of Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court and Steven Bolivar of Shrewsbury to the position of Associate Justice of the Juvenile Court.
Both Attorneys Allen and Bolivar each have 24 years of legal experience.
“Both Attorneys Allen and Bolivar have shown their individual commitments to serving the children and families of the Commonwealth and protecting our most vulnerable populations,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am pleased to submit these two nominees to the Governor’s Council for their advice and consent.”
“Attorney Jennifer Allen’s vast experience in all aspects of family law makes her qualified for a position on the Probate & Family Court, and Attorney Bolivar’s contributions to the community through his legal service makes him a great addition to the court,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “If confirmed, I am confident they will each serve all parties before them with fairness.”
The Probate and Family Court Department has jurisdiction over family-related and probate matters such as divorce, paternity, child support, custody, parenting time, adoption, termination of parental rights, abuse prevention and wills, estates, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, and changes of name. The Probate and Family Court has over 40 judges, including Chief Justice John D Casey. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Attorney Allen will fill the seat vacated by the Honorable Susan Tierney.
The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, care and protections, youthful offender cases and children requiring assistance. The Juvenile Court’s mission is to protect children from abuse and neglect, to strengthen families, to rehabilitate juveniles and to protect the public from delinquent and criminal behavior. The Juvenile Court has over 40 judges, including Chief Justice Amy L. Nechtem, in over 40 locations. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Attorney Bolivar will fill the seat vacated by the Honorable George Leary.
Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. GovernorBaker established the JNC in February 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth’s diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April 2015.
Attorney Jennifer Allen is currently a solo practitioner in Ashland, pecializing in divorce, custody, alimony, guardianship, modification and contempt actions, and restraining order litigation.
She started as an associate with Catanzaro & Effren, P.C., in 1995 before becoming a partner with the successor firm of Catanzaro and Allen, and, since 2017, the proprietor of the Law Office of Jennifer Allen and Jennifer Allen Mediation Services.
Attorney Allen frequently serves as a Guardian Ad Litem, Special Master, and conciliator to the Middlesex and Worcester Probate & Family Courts and serves on the Board of Directors of Metrowest Legal Services.
Attorney Allen earned her B.A. cum laude from Brandeis University in 1990 and her J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1994.
Attorney Bolivar has been a solo practitioner representing children and parents in Juvenile Court in cases involving the Department of Children and Families and in Child Requiring Assistance cases since 1993. He also regularly appears before the Worcester Probate Court for matters regarding divorce, modification and guardianship investigations. Attorney Bolivar served as an adolescent social worker developing service plans to protect the children on his caseload until 1993.
Since 2017, Attorney Bolivar has been the Juvenile Supervising Attorney for the private Bar through the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Those duties include training’s, supervising and evaluating the attorneys, and liaison to the Court on behalf of the private Bar.
Attorney Bolivar received his undergraduate degree from American International College in 1983, his Master of Education from Worcester State College in 1988, and earned his J.D. from Southern New England School of Law in 1993.