Press Release

Press Release Supreme Judicial Court Announces New General Counsel to the Board of Bar Overseers

For immediate release:
  • Supreme Judicial Court
  • Massachusetts Court System
  • Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers

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Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MA — The Supreme Judicial Court today announced that the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers has named Joseph Berman, Esq., as its General Counsel, effective May 8, 2017. He fills the position following the retirement of Michael Fredrickson, Esq., who served as General Counsel since 1989.

"We're pleased that the Board has filled this important position," said Supreme Judicial Court Justice Frank Gaziano, the Court's liaison to the Board. "Attorney Berman’s significant experience and deep knowledge of professional ethics will provide valuable guidance to the Board as it adjudicates disciplinary matters."

A well-regarded trial and appellate lawyer, Attorney Berman began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard P. Matsch of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. He was an associate at a white collar criminal defense and commercial litigation boutique law firm in Denver. In 1993, he joined the Boston law firm of Posternak, Blankstein & Lund where his practice focused on the defense of lawyers and other professionals in malpractice and ethics cases. In 1998, Attorney Berman formed a new law firm, Berman & Dowell, where he continued his work in professional liability defense and expanded the practice to include real estate, employment, and insurance litigation. In 2007, he joined Looney & Grossman as a partner, where he continued his practice until 2015 when he devoted his energies full time to Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Attorney Berman has received honors for his legal work. Since 2010, he has been named a Massachusetts "Super Lawyer" and was elected one of the 100 Best Lawyers in New England in 2013. He has received the President's Award from the Boston Bar Association for his pro bono litigation, and was also honored by the New England Region of the Anti-Defamation League with the David A. Rose Civil Rights Award and the Krupp Young Leadership Award.

He is a frequent lecturer and writer in the areas of litigation and trial practice. He has taught classes at the Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. He is the author of numerous articles and serves on the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct as well as the Massachusetts Trial Court's Committee on Attorney Berman is an active member of his community. He is a member of the national and regional boards of the Anti-Defamation League. He is also a director of the Associates of the Boston Public Library. He sits on the Conservation Commission in his hometown of Weston. He is a member of the American, Massachusetts, and Boston Bar Associations. He is also a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), a national organization of lawyers who focus on legal ethics.

Attorney Berman graduated from Dartmouth College cum laude in 1986 and received his law degree, also cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1990. He and his wife, Sharon, live in Weston and have two children.

The Board of Bar Overseers was established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 1974 as an independent administrative body to investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers. The Board acts as an administrative tribunal to consider disciplinary charges brought by Bar Counsel. The activities of the board are governed by Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01 and the Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers. Although it is an official body subject to the supervision of the Supreme Judicial Court, no public funds are spent to support it. The board's revenues come solely from the annual registration fees paid by lawyers.  

Board of Bar Overseers Members
Donna Jalbert Patalano, Chair
Vincent J. Pisegna, Vice Chair
Andrew Ferrara
Erin K. Higgins
Thomas A. Kenefick, III
Francis P. Keough
David B. Krieger, M.D.
John J. Morrissey
Regina Roman
David A. Rountree
Kevin P. Scanlon
Michael G. Tracy


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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The SJC is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.

Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers

The Board of Bar Overseers and the Office of the Bar Counsel were established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 1974 as independent administrative bodies to investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers.


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