BOSTON - On September 5th Governor Charlie Baker nominated Attorney Karen E. Hennessy of Reading as Associate Justice of the Juvenile Court. Attorney Hennessy has 17 years of family law experience in the public and private sectors.

“Attorney Hennessy has spent nearly two decades in the court system for the Commonwealth’s children and families,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am pleased to submit this qualified nominee to Governor’s Council for their advice and consent.”

“Attorney Hennessy will bring deep knowledge of family law in Massachusetts to the Juvenile Court bench,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “I am confident that, if confirmed, she will serve the court well.”

The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, care and protections, youthful offender cases and children requiring assistance. The Juvenile Court's mission is to protect children from abuse and neglect, to strengthen families, to rehabilitate juveniles and to protect the public from delinquent and criminal behavior. The Juvenile Court has over 40 judges, including Chief Justice Amy L. Nechtem, in over 40 locations.

Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth's diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April 2015.

About Karen E. Hennessy:

Attorney Karen E. Hennessy began her legal career in 2001 as a Law Clerk in the Juvenile Court Department of the Trial Court in Boston. In 2002, Hennessy joined Children’s Legal Services in Boston as a staff attorney representing parents and children in CAFL cases. Attorney Hennessy began her own private practice in Boston in 2003, practicing delinquency and child and family law until 2011 when she became Training Attorney in the Children and Family Law Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) in Boston. At CPCS, Hennessy taught child welfare law and trial skills to new staff attorneys and private panel attorneys. Additionally, Hennessy collaborated with the Youth Advocacy Division to develop a model for trauma-responsive legal representation and maintained a caseload of Child and Family Law cases. Since 2015, Attorney Hennessy has privately practiced family law in Woburn and serves as a mentor for the Children and Family Law Division Panel in addition to acting as Guardian ad Litem for the Essex County Juvenile Court. Attorney Hennessy earned her B.A. cum laude from Tufts University in 1998 and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in 2001.

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