All applicants must upload a resume with the online application. The resume must be in PDF format and its filename must start with the applicant’s last name. Applicants must indicate whether they would like to be considered for a law clerk position in either eastern Massachusetts or western Massachusetts.
In addition to the submission of their resume and application online at the Trial Court website, applicants are required to submit, in a sealed envelope, a current transcript (official or unofficial) and two copies of the writing sample in response to the fact pattern as listed in this posting. The writing sample and transcript must be submitted together and received by 4:00 p.m. on October 23, 2018, by mail or hand-delivery, to the following address:
Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, MA 02108
ATTN: Law Clerk Program
Transcripts and writing samples that are faxed, emailed or late will not be considered.
Letters of recommendation are not requested or required. Applicants selected for interviews may be asked to submit additional materials, including a statement of interest, an official law school transcript or an additional writing sample.
The Trial Court is committed to:
-the fair and impartial administration of justice;
-protection of constitutional and statutory rights and liberties;
-equal access to justice for all in a safe and dignified environment;
-efficient, effective and accountable resolution of disputes;
-prompt and courteous service to the public by committed and dedicated professionals utilizing best practices in a manner that inspires public trust and confidence.
The Probate and Family Court Department's mission is to deliver timely justice to the public by providing equal access to a fair, equitable and efficient forum to resolve family and probate legal matters and to assist and protect all individuals, families and children in an impartial and respectful manner.
The law clerk position is responsible for performing legal research and writing assignments to assist the judges of the Probate and Family Court. The term runs until August 30, 2019. Law clerks work directly with the judges, and under the supervision of the Manager of Legal Research Services and the Chief Justice.
A reliable car and the willingness to travel to courthouses throughout the Commonwealth are requirements of the position.
A judicial clerkship in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court offers a unique, exciting and rewarding environment in which to begin a legal career. The Probate and Family Court hears cases on subjects relating to all aspects of a person’s life, from birth to death. Law clerks in the Probate and Family Court are exposed to a wide variety of family, probate and equity issues; including adoption, paternity, custody, divorce, guardianships, legal bioethics, petitions to partition real estate, trust reformations and will contests. The law in these areas is constantly evolving and cases of first impression often confront the court, making a clerkship experience in the Probate and Family Court interesting and challenging. Cutting edge issues such as the changing definition of family are not uncommon.
Law clerks apply to serve in either eastern or western Massachusetts. The majority of opportunities to serve are in eastern Massachusetts. All law clerks are assigned to rotations by the Manager of Legal Research Services, with the final approval of the Chief Justice.
Law clerks based in eastern Massachusetts may be assigned to any of the Probate and Family Court divisions within or east of Worcester County. These are Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. Law clerks based in western Massachusetts may be assigned to any of the Probate and Family Court divisions west of Worcester County. These are Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin. The rotation system gives law clerks the opportunity to work with numerous judges and to gain a broader understanding of the work of the Probate and Family Court.
These are the minimum requirements necessary to apply for a position of Law Clerk:
-Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school or eligibility to sit for the Massachusetts bar exam, as of the start of the clerkship
-Excellent legal writing and communication skills
-Excellent legal research and analytical skills, using both online and book resources
-High professional and ethical standards
-Access to a reliable car and the willingness and ability to travel to courthouses as assigned
-Experience and knowledge in the use of personal computers, including word processing programs such as WordPerfect and Microsoft Word and legal research services such as Lexis or Westlaw
-Demonstrated ability to follow written and oral instructions
-Demonstrated ability to manage, prioritize, and complete simultaneous assignments from various judges
-Demonstrated ability to work well independently while maintaining productivity and demonstrating good judgment
-Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and otherwise complete assignments in a timely manner
-Demonstrated ability to work well with others in a professional setting, including judges, managers, court staff, and other law clerks
-Genuine commitment to serving the full term of the clerkship
Additional preferred qualifications include:
-Membership in the Massachusetts Bar and intent to practice law in Massachusetts
-Substantial legal research and writing experience, including prior experience as a Probate and Family Court Law Fellow or judicial intern for a Probate and Family Court judge
-Courses in probate and/or family law, research assistant positions, prior work experience in the areas of probate and family law and clinical placements
-Familiarity with legal research resources beyond Westlaw and Lexis
-Demonstrated commitment to government or public service
-The Probate and Family Court invites well-rounded and distinguished recent law school graduates and practicing attorneys to apply for the clerkship positions. Solid academic credentials are important, however, there are no rigid requirements regarding class rank or standing.
-All law clerks must reside in Massachusetts for the duration of the law clerk term.
The law clerks will serve until August 30, 2019 at a salary of $62,662.46. Employee benefits include subsidized health, dental and vision insurance, and paid vacation, personal and sick time.
Employment is contingent upon passage of a criminal record check.
Writing Sample Instructions:
Please draft a response to the fact pattern listed below in the format of a memorandum of law. The writing sample must be typed, double-spaced, and cannot exceed six pages. Apply Massachusetts statutory and case law to each fact pattern and follow the Blue Book system of citation. The Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court must receive two copies of the writing sample (with the applicant’s transcript) by 4:00 p.m. on October 23, 2018. Writing samples and transcripts that are faxed, emailed or late will not be considered.
Mandy and Frank met while working as flight attendants for P & F Airlines. They became good friends and roommates in an apartment in Boston. Eventually their friendship developed into a romantic relationship. Throughout their relationship, Mandy and Frank flew on different crews. Each would travel two weeks of every month. Sometimes the weeks were the same, and sometimes they were different. In December 2014 Mandy became pregnant. Frank was thrilled. He had always wanted to have a child. The pregnancy strained Mandy and Frank's relationship and they decided that they were better off friends. However, due to the high cost of housing and their alternate schedules, Mandy and Frank agreed that they would still be roommates. In July 2015, while on a layover in Florida, Mandy gave birth to Catriona. Mandy and Frank continued their alternate work schedules. Catriona was cared for by either Mandy or Frank, whomever wasn't traveling that week. Because Catriona was thriving under this schedule, having quality parenting time with both of her parents, Mandy and Frank did not go to court to establish their parenting plan. In December 2017, Frank met Olivia, a flight attendant from Montana. Shortly thereafter, Frank changed his work schedule and began spending less and less time parenting Catriona. On February 14, 2018, Frank asked Olivia to marry him. Olivia agreed, and they decided that Montana was the best place for them to live because, coincidentally, they both have extended family there. Frank plans to buy a ranch and Olivia would like to open a catering business. When Frank told Mandy about his plans to marry and move, he also told Mandy that he wanted Catriona to live with him in Montana because he could provide stability and wide open spaces. He is hoping Catriona will start kindergarten in Montana. Mandy was irate and refused to agree to the move. The once amiable relationship between Mandy and Frank soured, with them resorting to emails for communication.
Frank went to the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court and filed:
(a.) a Complaint to Establish Paternity in which he sought legal and physical custody of Catriona, as well as permission to take Catriona to Montana; and
(b.) a Motion for Temporary Orders seeking immediate custody of Catriona.
Judge Ree has reviewed all of the case file before the first hearing and asks for your analysis regarding:
1. whether a judge has the authority to order parties to mediation before proceeding with the case;
2. in which sequence the issues of custody and removal should be decided; and
3. the standard to be followed in this case and whether Frank should be allowed to move Catriona to Montana.
Employment is contingent upon passage of a criminal record check.
If you are not currently viewing this posting online, please visit the Judicial Branch Employement website at www.mass.gov/courts to apply for this position or any other Judicial Branch employment opportunity.
No paper applications will be accepted.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER