Chief Justice, Massachusetts Appeals Court (2000-2006); Associate Justice (1972-1999); Recall Justice (2007-2009)
Yale University Law School, J.D., 1961
Yale University, New Haven, CT, B.A. cum laude, Political and Economic Institutions, 1958
Admissions to Practice
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Boston Bar Association, Administration of Justice Steering Committee
Massachusetts Bar Association
Awards and Recognitions
Awarded the Massachusetts Bar Association Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey Award, given occasionally to a Massachusetts judge who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and dedication to improving the administration of justice and upholding the highest traditions for public service
Boston Bar Association Award for Judicial Excellence
Continuing Education and Commitment to Excellence
Speaker and panelist, Appellate Practice, multiple programs for the Massachusetts Bar Association
Panelist, “End of life decision-making,” series of multi-disciplinary conferences sponsored by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and leading Boston area hospitals
Publications and Press
Author of chapter on end-of-life decision-making in “Critical Care,” a leading critical care textbook first published in 1988
Co-author, “Critical Care Medicine,” published in the Journal of the Society of Critical Care Medicine
Pro Bono / Community Service
Formerly Vice Chairman, Executive Committee Member and Board Member; currently Chairman of Nominating Committee and By-law Committee, Anna Jaques Hospital, Newburyport, MA
Co-chair, Historical Society of Old Newbury and Cushing House Museum, Newburyport, MA
Formerly First Chairman of the S.J.C., "Committee on Judicial Ethics",1988-1998
Christopher J. Armstrong
617 371 1209
Clients and Industries
In private practice, Judge Armstrong has represented a variety of individuals and institutions in matters involving appellate advocacy. In more than 30 years of public service on the bench, he became acquainted with issues arising out of every possible sector of commerce and industry, hearing thousands of cases and writing more than 1,600 opinions for the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Practice Areas and Experience
The Honorable Christopher J. Armstrong is Of Counsel at Collora LLP, and he focuses his work on appellate advocacy. He also provides to clients special counsel regarding trial strategy and the framing and preservation of objections, issues and rights that are predicates to successful appeal.
He heard (as a Judge) appellate matters involving substantive legal issues related to all legal disciplines within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts courts, including but not limited to:
Banking and Finance
Civil Rights and Constitutional Law
Evidence and Procedure Issues
Fair Trade Practices and Chapter 93A Matters
Governmental Enforcement Matters
Health Care/Pharmaceutical Matters
Real Estate/Construction Matters
Subpoena, Search and Seizure Matters
Trial Court Failures to Issue Legally Mandated Orders or Remedies
Zoning and other land use matters
Professional Experience Outside of Collora LLP
Judge Armstrong is the former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, was appointed to the Appeals Court in 1972 by Gov. Francis W. Sargent, and elevated to Chief Justice in 2000 by Gov. A. Paul Cellucci. Judge Armstrong had previously served the Commonwealth as Under-Secretary of Administration (1971-72); Chief Counsel to Gov. Francis W. Sargent (1969-1971), Assistant Attorney General; (1967-1969), Assistant Legal Counsel to Gov. John A. Volpe (1965-1967), and Executive Clerk to the Chief Justice of the Superior Court (1964-1965).
Sample of Results in Practice *
Part of team that successfully represented psychiatrist in proceeding to block a government subpoena of more than 20 patient files, establishing before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in a case of first impression, that the psychiatrist’s work in pain management was covered by the psychotherapist-patient privilege, and that the privilege cannot be pierced except by legislative enactment or constitutional imperative.
Participated in amicus brief advocacy on behalf of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys that was cited in opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court (the “SJC”) abolishing the traditional “accumulation of snow” rule pertinent to liability for sidewalk safety in favor of a general negligence standard tailored to fit municipal practices.
Part of appellate team, in a case of first impression, that won a victory in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals for a group of synagogues, establishing their right to hire, promote and retain religious teachers with First Amendment protections against certain kinds of employment actions (appeal pending in the SJC).
As a judge, crafted more than 1,600 appellate opinions covering virtually every area of legal practice in cases involving litigants from almost every possible industry.
* This sampling of cases represents a selected, small portion of this lawyer’s total experience, and past performance is not intended to be a representation of likely future results, which must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Judge Armstrong can provide a substantial list of reported cases in which he was the author of the Appeals Courts’ opinion upon request.
About Judge Armstrong
When Judge Armstrong is not advising an appellate practice, he can often be found on his Newbury farm, which grows corn and hay, and at one time raised cattle. He quips that he got into farming when he literally married “the farmer’s daughter,” but he was acquainted with agrarian life before that, working long hours in the tobacco fields of the Connecticut Valley when he was a boy. He also loves magic, and performed as a local magician at one time.