- Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct
Media Contact for New Chair and Vice Chair for Commission on Judicial Conduct
Howard Neff, Executive Director
Boston, MA — The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct announced today that it has elected new officers. The new Chair is the Honorable Julie J. Bernard. The Commission’s new Vice Chair is Attorney Kathleen M. O’Donnell. Many thanks are extended to the outgoing Chair, Attorney John J. Carroll, Jr., and Vice Chair, the Honorable Robert N. Tochka.
Judge Bernard was appointed to the Commission in 2014. First appointed to the bench in 2002, she currently serves as the First Justice of the Brockton District Court. Judge Bernard is a member of the District Court Committee on Continuing Education, a member of the District Court Working Group on Alternative Dispute Resolution, a member of the Trial Court Task Force on Diversity and Cultural Competence, and a Judicial Mentor. Judge Bernard previously served as a member of the District Court Appellate Division.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Bernard was a Senior Counsel for Keyspan Energy Inc., and served as a Litigation Counsel for Verizon, Inc. Judge Bernard was also an Associate at Segal and Feinberg, Assistant General Counsel for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and Staff Attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Judge Bernard is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston College Law School.
Ms. O’Donnell was appointed to the Commission in 2014. Ms. O'Donnell has her own law practice, O'Donnell Law Firm, where she concentrates her practice in all aspects of personal injury litigation. Ms. O'Donnell is a past President of the Massachusetts Bar Association (2004-2005), the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (1995-1996), and the Greater Lowell Bar Association (1990-1991). Ms. O'Donnell also served as Vice President of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. from 2002-2003 and has served on its Board of Directors continuously since 1998. She was listed by the Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly in 1995 as one of the top ten lawyers in Massachusetts and in 1997, as one of the twenty-five most influential lawyers in Massachusetts between 1972 and 1997.
In 2000, the National Law Journal named Ms. O'Donnell one of the twelve most influential lawyers in Massachusetts. In 1996 and 1997, the American Association of Justice (an organization with 60,000 members) awarded her the prestigious Weidemann Wysocki Citation of Excellence for her commitment to the civil justice system. She has been listed by Boston Magazine as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer since 2004 in the category of Best of Boston Personal Injury. Ms. O'Donnell was the first woman elected as a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and she has been listed consistently in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who of American Women, and Who's Who in the East. Ms. O'Donnell's peers have given her the highest rating established by Martindale Hubbell's Legal Directory. This rating is only given to lawyers and law firms which are considered to have a very high to pre-eminent legal ability and who are thought to embrace very high professional standards. Ms. O'Donnell is a frequent presenter or lecturer on personal injury litigation and automobile insurance policy and law. Ms. O'Donnell graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton College and cum laude from Suffolk University Law School.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct is established and governed by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 211C. In accord with the mandate of that statute, the Commission’s mission is to enforce standards of judicial conduct for Massachusetts state judges in a manner that, while respecting judicial independence, promotes public confidence in the judiciary and preserves the integrity of the judicial process. The Commission serves as the forum for complaints alleging misconduct by judges both on and off the bench, and for allegations of mental or physical disability affecting a judge’s performance. The Commission is made up of three judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court, three attorneys appointed by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court, and three lay people appointed by the Governor. Members serve non-renewable terms of six years.
Please visit the Commission’s website for more information: www.mass.gov/cjc.