Member Spotlight

Issue January 2006

The justices of the Supreme Judicial Court recently announced the appointment of Geoffrey R. Bok of Boston to the Board of Bar Examiners for a five-year term, ending on Sept. 30, 2010, in accordance with G.L. c. 221, §35.

The Board of Bar Examiners, consisting of five members appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court, makes rules with reference to examinations for admission to the Massachusetts bar and the qualifications of applicants, in accordance with SJC Rule 3:01. The Board prepares, administers and grades the bar examinations, evaluates applicants’ requirements and issues reports to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Bok is a partner in the Boston law firm of Stoneman, Chandler & Miller LLP, where he focuses on labor and employment law and on school litigation matters. Prior to joining the firm in 1995, he worked for four years at the Boston-based firm of Lane & Altman. He began his legal career in 1987 at Ropes and Gray in Boston. Bok has been a reader for the Massachusetts Bar Examinations since 1989 and has assisted in drafting bar examination questions and designing the current grading procedure for the examinations. He received a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University. He also studied at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, India. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Judge Steven D. Pierce has been appointed the new chief justice of the Housing Court Department of the Trial Court for a five-year term.

Pierce, who was appointed by Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan, succeeds Chief Justice Manuel Kyriakakis, who will retire on Jan. 1, 2006, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges. Kyriakakis has served as chief justice of the Housing Court since June 17, 2002.

The Housing Court consists of five divisions, in: Boston, Worcester, Northeast, Southeast and Western.

“I am very pleased to announce the selection of Judge Steven Pierce of Westfield to succeed Chief Justice Manuel Kyriakakis as the next chief justice of the Housing Court Department,” Mulligan said. “Judge Pierce brings a breadth of managerial experience which renders him uniquely qualified to lead the Housing Court and to contribute significantly to the management initiatives presently underway in the Massachusetts Trial Court. He is very bright, highly respected and will bring a wealth of managerial experience which will benefit not only the Housing Court Department but the Trial Court as a whole. I look forward to having Judge Pierce join my management team.”

Mulligan, who said that he was presented with an excellent group of candidates, praised Kyriakakis, stating that he was a superb chief justice and that he would miss his wise counsel and collegial presence.

Pierce has been a Housing Court judge since his appointment to the bench in January 2003. Mulligan said Pierce brings extensive leadership, legal and management experience in the public and private sectors to the position. He served as chief legal counsel to Gov. Jane Swift from August 2001 to October 2002, and as a senior advisor to Gov. William Weld. For nearly seven years, he was the executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, where he was recognized for strategic leadership and sound management practices. He was also cabinet secretary of Communities and Development in 1991.

Prior to that, Pierce was a state representative for 12 years and a candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and the U.S. Congress in 1991. He was a partner in the Boston office of Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott for two years and previously worked at Berndt, Antonellis & Larsen in Westfield.

A resident of Westfield and Boston, Pierce graduated with honors from Duke University School of Law and from Union College, summa cum laude.

Pierce said, “I am honored to be appointed by Chief Justice Mulligan and look forward to working with him on management initiatives underway to improve the Trial Court and also with my colleagues and staff on the important issues in the Housing Court Department. Chief Justice Kyriakakis has accomplished much in his relatively short tenure as Chief Justice of the Housing Court and has been an inspirational leader. I am grateful to have served with him, and I will miss him.”

The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action is honoring Judge Rudolph Kass, an associate justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court for more than 20 years.

JALSA will honor Kass at its fourth annual meeting on Sunday, Jan. 8 at the Brookline Holiday Inn at 1200 Beacon St. in Brookline. Formed in 2001, JALSA has established itself as a progressive voice, based on Jewish values, for social and economic justice, civil rights and constitutional liberties.

Kass is being recognized as a champion for social justice over his career. Before he became a judge, Kass was a partner at Brown, Rudnick, Freed & Gesmer, specializing in real estate, with a concentration in urban affairs. Kass has held numerous volunteer leadership positions in the Jewish, legal and health care communities, including serving as president of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the Ford Hall Forum.

At the annual meeting, Kass will deliver remarks on “Threats to the Independence of the Judiciary.”

Incoming President Ronny Sydney will be welcomed at the annual meeting.