student working on a laptop

Superior Court Judge Makes Virtual Visit

Monday, May 4, 2020

Remote learning has started to feel remarkably "normal" as Landmark students have adjusted to attending one-to-one tutorials, gathering in small groups for academic classes, visiting teachers during "office hours," even joining athletic team meetings—all online. So when head of Landmark's High School, Bill Barrett, needed to shift an in-person presentation by Superior Court Judge Jeff Karp to an online session, no one skipped a beat.

On Friday, May 1, more than 20 students, faculty, and staff attended a virtual visit and presentation by Judge Karp. The judge started off his talk by sharing a bit about his personal story as a student who struggled in school. He credits his success to "a lot of hard work and some lucky breaks" leading to a career as an assistant district attorney, as a lawyer in a private firm, and ultimately a judgeship on the Massachusetts Superior Court following a nomination by Governor Charlie Baker. 

He expounded on the structure of the federal and state courts, the difference between trial and appellate courts, as well as civil and criminal cases over which he presides in the Essex County system. Judge Karp also explained how juries are selected and discussed the importance of serving on a jury, a system brought to the colony of Massachusetts by the pilgrims in 1630.

The students asked several challenging questions about how the prison and court systems are functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what some of the hardest decisions are that he's had to make since assuming the role in 2017. 

Judge Karp provided honest answers to even the trickiest questions suggesting that being a judge carries a great deal of responsibility and can, at times, be a lonely job. "Every day you are confronted by having to make life-altering decisions that directly impact human lives." He ended by saying that he loves what he does and feels honored to have been appointed to such a distinguished position in the state's legal system and is eager to host Landmark students in person as soon as possible. 

Judge Jeffrey Karp's virtual visit to Landmark School