For Immediate Release - July 23, 2008

Governor Patrick Nominates Three Highly Regarded Practitioners and Accomplished Judge to Fill Probate and Family Court Vacancies

BOSTON - Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - Governor Patrick announced today the nomination of three seasoned family law practitioners and a highly regarded judge to four Probate & Family Courts around the Commonwealth.

Joan P. Armstrong is a family law litigator with many years of experience appearing in the Probate and Family Courts. For the past 16 years, she has been the chair of the Probate and Family Law Department at Murtha Cullina LLP, where she is currently the partner in charge. She began her legal career as a law clerk at the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Armstrong is a South Boston resident and a graduate of Drew University and Suffolk University Law School. Armstrong will fill the vacancy on the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court created by the retirement of Judge Nancy F. Gould.

Amy L. Blake is a veteran domestic relations lawyer and a partner in the Boston law firm of Casner & Edwards, LLP, where she is responsible for hiring and training new associates. She also volunteers at Senior Partners for Justice, a lawyers' group that assists self-represented litigants in all areas of family law. She previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney and Victim's Advocate in the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office. Blake, a West Peabody resident, graduated from the University of Rochester and the New England School of Law. She will fill the vacancy on the Essex County Probate and Family Court created by the retirement of Judge Edward J. Rockett.

Arthur C. Ryley, a long-time resident of East Sandwich, graduated from Hampshire College and the New England School of Law. He has practiced in the trial courts in and around Barnstable County for 21 years, and has substantial experience handling domestic relations and other matters in the Probate and Family Court. Ryley has served as the Clerk, Treasurer, Vice President, President and the Chairman of the Family Law Committee of the Barnstable County Bar Association. He has lectured at the Barnstable Police Training Academy, the Committee for Public Council Services and the 2002 Juvenile Court Judge's Conference. He will fill the vacancy on the Barnstable County Probate and Family Court created by the retirement of Judge Robert E. Terry.

"I am delighted to nominate three such talented and respected attorneys as Joan Armstrong, Amy Blake and Arthur Ryley to the Probate and Family Court, where I know they will make enormous contributions to the critical work of that Court," said Governor Patrick.

Associate Justice Angela M. Ordonez, 45, has been nominated to the Norfolk Probate and Family Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David H. Kopelman.

A Boston resident and graduate of Northeastern University and its law school, she has served as Associate Justice in the Nantucket Division of the Probate and Family Court since 2000, and has most recently been assigned to serve in the busy Norfolk Division of the court. Ordonez, who is bilingual, is a former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Family and Probate American Inn of Courts.

"Judge Ordonez has consistently demonstrated her dedication to the Commonwealth's families in her tireless efforts on the bench. She has distinguished herself in every area of the court's work," Governor Patrick said.

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