News Releases
September 12, 2013

Boston Bar Association Celebrates Chief Justice Paula Carey with Haskell Cohn Award

Press Release

Last night, the Boston Bar Association presented Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey with the Haskell Cohn Award for Distinguished Judicial Service. Established in 1975, the Haskell Cohn Distinguished Judicial Service Award is “presented to a member of the Massachusetts judiciary, or a resident of Massachusetts who is a member of the Federal judiciary, who has distinguished himself/herself in a manner that calls for special recognition.”

Chief Justice Carey is known throughout the legal community for her steadfast leadership in the face of inadequate funding, overwhelming numbers of self-represented litigants, and other difficult circumstances. Appointed as a judge on the Probate and Family Court in 2001 and later as Chief Justice in 2007, she was decisive and compassionate with court personnel and litigants alike, aware that the court was understaffed and that those who came through its doors were often at the lowest point of their lives.

As Chief Justice of the Trial Court, Chief Justice Carey is working with Court Administrator Harry Spence to implement a strategic plan that will match the quality of the court’s decisions with quality in structure and operations. She has stepped into the role with her trademark collaborative, inclusive leadership style, maintaining a supportive presence and a positive perspective.

During the ceremony, the BBA gave Chief Justice Carey a celebratory plaque, which read:

“Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey exemplifies excellence as a judicial leader with a clear vision of advancing access to justice for all in the 21st century. Her passion for innovation, her ability to foster collaboration, and her skill in executing sound management principles amid scarce resources earn her the respect of all who know her.

Thoughtful and inclusive, Justice Carey is receptive to divergent viewpoints, and gives all of the court’s constituents the opportunity to speak and be heard. At the same time, she is courageous in her decisions, doing what she believes is in the best interest of administering justice fairly, compassionately and efficiently in challenging times.

Her enthusiasm for embracing the most ambitious of strategic plans, and for doing frequent checks on what is being accomplished, is grounded in her view that the trial court department must evolve with the needs of those it must serve today and in the future. Her self-confidence as a leader fosters constant self-appraisal and allows her to welcome guidance from others.

She has a practical grasp of every aspect of the law-making process, understands the big picture, and knows how to build consensus in situations that might otherwise result in gridlock. Demonstrating profound respect for all three branches of government and the work done by each, Justice Carey in turn has developed great credibility among her colleagues in the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive office. 

For her dedicated and outstanding service as an associate justice of the Probate and Family Court, as Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court, and as Chief Justice of the Trial Court, the Boston Bar Association is proud to recognize Justice Paula Carey with the Haskell Cohn Award.”