Judge Amy L. Nechtem, who serves in the Essex County Juvenile Court in Lynn, has been appointed to a five-year term as Chief Justice of the Mass. Juvenile Court. Nechtem will succeed Chief Justice Michael F. Edgerton, whose term ends on July 30 when he reaches mandatory retirement.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Judge Amy Nechtem to lead the Juvenile Court in promoting positive outcomes for children and families,” said Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey. “Her judicial and leadership experience will advance juvenile justice and child welfare using the latest research, data analysis and evidence-based practices over the next five years.”
Judge Nechtem, 59, has served on the Juvenile Court since 2001. She is a graduate of Simmons College and Suffolk University Law School and a member of a prominent Chelsea family known for its athletic excellence. Her father, the late Saul Nechtem, is considered Chelsea High School’s greatest athlete. Like Lynn’s legendary star Harry Agganis, Mr. Nechtem went on excel at Boston University where he received 12 varsity letters.
In her new post, Nechtem will be responsible for the administration and management of the Juvenile Court Department that is comprised of 11 Divisions with 41 authorized judicial positions across the Commonwealth. Nechtem will also be responsible for the education of new judges and the ongoing education of current judges.
“I am honored to have been chosen to serve the court I love,” said Nechtem. “I’m privileged to have the opportunity to serve as the Chief Justice of the Juvenile Court and to work with our extraordinarily talented judges and staff who are devoted to promoting the best interests of our children and families involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
“I am fortunate to be guided by a tradition of excellence as exhibited in the leadership of Chief Justice Michael F. Edgerton and Chief Justice Martha P. Grace. I truly appreciate Chief Justice Paula Carey’s confidence in me and thank her for her outstanding leadership of our Trial Court.”
Nechtem has had a distinguished career in the legal profession. She served as Suffolk County District Attorney prosecuting child abuse and major felony cases. As president of the 1,200-member National Association of Women Judges, she led the development and implementation of a strategic plan, presented three national conferences and oversaw 30 specialized committees working to advance fair and equal access to justice and national juvenile justice and child welfare initiatives.
Nechtem was the recipient of a Community Service Award from Simmons College and the 2011 Massachusetts Judges Conference Judicial Excellence Award for the Juvenile Court Department.
Nechtem credits her formative years in Chelsea for setting a positive foundation in her life and career.
“I really credit my extraordinary upbringing in Chelsea and my parents, Gladys and Saul Nechtem, for my grounding and the respect for others and the need to give back,” said Nechtem, who has an older sister, Karen, and older brother, Todd, who was a Division 1 college basketball player at UNH.
Nechtem has a daughter, Kate, who is an attorney and a graduate of Suffolk Law School. “I am so proud of Kate, who has carried on in the legal profession, and we miss every day her beloved father, Richard I. Clayman, who was my mentor in the law and dear friend.”