Celebrating Excellence in Legal Leadership: Governor Healey Nominates Trailblazing Justices for Probate and Family Court

Unveiling Visionary Advocates: Championing Justice and Compassion in the Legal Realm

In Boston, Governor Maura T. Healey has put forth the nominations of Manisha Bhatt, Bernadette Stark, and Michelle A. Yee for Probate and Family Court Justices, signaling their candidacy for confirmation by the esteemed Governor’s Council.

Governor Healey expressed admiration for the profound dedication exhibited by these three legal professionals towards supporting families and advocating for children throughout their distinguished careers. Emphasizing their esteemed reputation among colleagues statewide, she highlighted their remarkable adeptness in navigating complex cases with grace and empathy. The Governor eagerly awaits the Governor’s Council deliberation on these nominations.

Joining in the endorsement, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll conveyed shared enthusiasm for the inclusion of these attorneys within the Family and Probate Court. Their potential addition to the court is viewed as a significant contribution, and both Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll acknowledge and appreciate the extensive review process undertaken by the Governor’s Council.

The Probate and Family Court Department handles a myriad of legal matters involving families and children, encompassing areas such as divorce, child support, and wills. Its overarching mission is to provide equitable and timely justice while ensuring an accessible, fair, and efficient platform for resolving family and probate legal affairs.

Earlier this year, Governor Healey recommended Stephanie L. Everett, Esq. for the role of Suffolk Register of Probate and Family Court.

For comprehensive insights into the Probate and Family Court, visit its homepage.

Diving into the profiles of the nominees:

Manisha Hemendra Bhatt boasts a rich 22-year tenure advocating for indigent clients in probate and family matters at Greater Boston Legal Services. Her portfolio spans divorce, paternity, guardianship, and abuse prevention cases, predominantly aiding limited English-speaking immigrants across Massachusetts. Apart from her legal contributions, Attorney Bhatt has been an influential figure in the South Asian legal community, serving as President of the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston. Her noteworthy endeavors include spearheading the award-winning “Know Your Rights” program, a grassroots initiative empowering community leaders with legal knowledge to assist fellow community members. Attorney Bhatt holds a B.A. from Boston College and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.

Bernadette Stark brings a wealth of experience bridging probate and family court realms alongside a comprehensive background in civil litigation. Her professional journey encompasses representations of private clients in intricate financial matters, initially at Goulston & Storrs and later as a founding partner of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys At Law. Additionally, she has extended her legal expertise to the representation of indigent clients via Western Massachusetts Legal Services. Stark’s current role as Director of the Student Legal Services Office at UMass Amherst allows her to represent student organizations and students while serving as “Of Counsel” to the University’s student governance bodies. Her dedication to justice and accessibility has been acknowledged with awards such as the Senior Partners for Justice’s 2010 Gideon’s Trumpet Award. Stark holds a B.A. from Binghamton University and a J.D. from Cornell Law School.

Michelle A. Yee stands as a vital asset to the Probate and Family Court system with over 18 years of invaluable service. Her current role as Senior Program Manager in the Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court showcases her instrumental involvement in implementing the Pathways Case Management Initiative across all 14 divisions of the court. Yee’s professional journey encompasses roles such as Judicial Case Manager, Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (“MUPC”) Magistrate, Sessions Clerk, and Judicial Law Clerk in various court divisions. Her diverse experience also spans time as an associate at a small firm. Yee holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and a J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law. Her upbringing as the daughter of Filipino and Chinese immigrants in Minneapolis, MN, deeply influences her commitment to serving and contributing to the community. She currently resides in Peabody with her husband and two sons.

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