- 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 Attorney Edward P. Ryan, Jr., the Managing Partner at the Leominster, Massachusetts law firm of O’Connor and Ryan, P.C. The Commission’s new Vice Chair is the First Justice of the Bristol County Probate and Family Court, Judge Katherine A. Field. Many thanks are extended to the outgoing Chair, Judge Julie J. Bernard, and Vice Chair, Attorney Kathleen M. O’Donnell, for their dedication, hard work, and contributions to the work of the Commission.
Mr. Ryan was appointed as an attorney member of the Commission in 2016. He was elected Chair of the Commission in December of 2020. Mr. Ryan has significant federal and state court trial experience in a diverse array of matters, including criminal, civil, personal injury, civil rights, and divorce and estate matters. He has also served, by court appointment, as a discovery master and guardian ad litem, monitoring litigation for the court and reviewing accounts in estate matters.
Mr. Ryan is a past President of the Massachusetts Bar Association (2000-2001). Mr. Ryan has also served as President of the Worcester County Bar Association, the Northern Worcester County Bar Association, and the Bar Advocates of Worcester County, Inc. He is a member of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.
Mr. Ryan served as an Assistant District Attorney/Student Prosecutor in the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office from 1973 to 1979. In private practice since 1979, Mr. Ryan has been involved in a number of high-profile cases, including his successful defense of a homeless person against manslaughter charges stemming from the tragic Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire. As labor counsel to the cities of Fitchburg and Gardner, Mr. Ryan has negotiated labor contracts on behalf of those municipalities and has handled a wide variety of labor disputes as an advocate and hearing officer. More recently, he has served as counsel to various unions. Mr. Ryan has represented both employees and corporate employers in various private sector labor matters. Mr. Ryan has also appeared as a legal analyst and commentator for various media outlets, including NECN, WBZ, and the Fox News Channel. Mr. Ryan also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Social Law Library.
Mr. Ryan has received the American Jurisprudence Awards for Criminal Law, Administrative Law, Trusts, and Constitutional Law; the Massachusetts Bar Association Gold Medal Award (2007); and in 2014, was named Lawyer of the Year by the Frank J. Murray Inn of Court. He was also named Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2000, and Martindale-Hubbell, the nation’s premier attorney directory, has given Mr. Ryan a rating of AV, which is its highest rating for lawyers.
Mr. Ryan is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He is on the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel list of attorneys approved for appointment in murder cases, and is also on the Federal Criminal Justice Act panel of attorneys qualified to accept appointment in federal criminal cases in Massachusetts. He received his undergraduate degree from Wheeling Jesuit College in 1972 and graduated magna cum laude from Suffolk University Law School in 1976, where he was a member of the Law Review.
Judge Field was appointed to the Commission in 2018 and was elected Vice Chair in December of 2020. Judge Field was appointed to the Commission in 2018 and was elected Vice Chair in December of 2020. Judge Field was appointed First Justice of the Bristol County Probate and Family Court in 2015. Judge Field has served as a judge in that court since her appointment as a judge in 2010.
Prior to her appointment as a judge, Judge Field was an attorney and shareholder at Gay, Gay & Field, P.C., where she worked for twenty-five years in the areas of divorce, paternity, adoption, and guardianship. Judge Field also served as a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission from 2003 to 2005.
Judge Field is a graduate of Boston College Law School and has served as a panelist for MCLE and the Massachusetts Bar Association. She has also been active in the local, county, and state bar associations, including serving as the President (2001-2002), Vice President (2000-2001), Treasurer (1999-2000) and Secretary (1989-1991) of the Bristol County Bar Association.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct is established and governed by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 211C. In accordance 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.