Land Court seeking applicants for clerkships

Issue July 2004

The Land Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court is accepting applications for one-year clerkships beginning in September 2005. Six clerks will be hired.

The Land Court provides an unparalleled opportunity for significant research and writing experience, observation of courtroom practice and working closely with one justice for the duration for the clerkship. The starting salary is currently $43,028.81. Benefits include a partially subsidized health and dental insurance program.

Applications should contain a cover letter, resume, official law school transcript/academic record, two short writing samples, two recommendations and completed trial court application. Materials must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Sept. 30. Hiring decisions will be made by the end of fall 2004.

Appeals Court catches up

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has eliminated its appellate case backlog. Cases considered by the court now are scheduled on a timely basis, Chief Justice Christopher J. Armstrong announced in June.

Four years ago, approximately 1,400 cases on appeal had a waiting time of 22 months for civil cases and about 14 months for criminal cases to be heard or considered by the justices. Today it takes about five months from the filing of parties' legal briefs to oral argument or consideration by the court. Cases briefed by Feb. 1 are now considered by the Appeals Court by June of the same year.

Armstrong credits the legislation enacted in 2000, which expanded the Appeals Court from 14 to 25 judges, as the primary reason for the elimination of the case backlog.

"Our goal to eliminate the case backlog has been achieved because of the steadfast determination of our judges and staff, but we could not have accomplished our mission without the aid and support of bar leaders and other lawyers, executive and legislative branch leaders, and the editors of many media outlets, who recognized our court's dire need for more resources to administer justice. We are grateful to all of them," Armstrong said.