On October 1, 2015, popular adjunct professor Judge Timothy Sullivan will become the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Housing Court. Judge Sullivan, who has been serving as First Justice of the Northeast Division of the Housing Court Department since January, 2014, was appointed Chief by Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey on September 9. In the release announcing the appointment, Chief Justice Carey said, “Judge Sullivan has earned a reputation with his colleagues for being accessible, approachable and receptive to addressing diverse concerns. His philosophy of open communication, collaboration and team building will ensure his ability to address the future challenges facing the department. He is firmly committed to Housing Court expansion and will capably continue the great work of [retiring] Chief Justice Pierce.”
Judge Sullivan, who teaches Landlord Tenant Law and Landlord Tenant Trial Practice at MSL, and has been an adjunct since 2004, was named to the Housing Court in that year. Prior to then, he had a general practice in Newburyport, where he concentrated on landlord-tenant, real estate conveyancing, estate administration and land use cases. He is a member of the Trial Court Standing Committee on Court Security and served on its ADR Committee until 2012.
“Among the most important issues facing the Housing Court in the immediate future is expansion of its jurisdiction,” Judge Sullivan commented. “The Housing Court currently serves about 70% of the Commonwealth. The pending legislation would expand Housing Court availability to every community in the state, a measure I fully support. I am grateful for the example of leadership set by Chief Justice Pierce over the last ten years, and I will miss interacting with him on a daily basis. I am committed to providing the same steady direction during my tenure as Chief Justice. This department is well-known for its collegial and cooperative approach within the ranks of the judges and clerks. It is such a joy to go to work every day with people who make it a point to maintain a professional and friendly work environment.”
Judge Sullivan will be ably assisted by MSLAW Alum, Ben Adeyinka (’11), who is an Administrative Attorney in the Housing Court’s administrative offices. “When I heard Judge Timothy Sullivan would be the next CJ I was very excited to work with Judge Sullivan, but I was not surprised by [Trial Court] Chief Justice Carey’s decision to appoint Sullivan to that position. I first met Judge Sullivan when I decided to take a landlord tenant class at MSL. He taught me how to try a summary process eviction case and gave me a practical understanding of some of the pitfalls to avoid in housing court cases. He gave all his students the tools to succeed in the landlord tenant arena.”
Ben admits that in the beginning he was a bit intimidated by Judge Sullivan, who is exceptionally tall. “But when you talk to him, he is a down to earth, a fair and practical guy who cares deeply for his family. I am confident that under Sullivan’s leadership and ability, the housing court will thrive and continue to provide ‘dignity and justice with speed.’ I have enjoyed working with Chief Justice Pierce, and I know that positive relationship will continue under Chief Justice Sullivan.”
Judge Sullivan is married (Julie), with three children, Frank, 16, and Julia and Anna, 14. He lives in Topsfield.
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