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Indian-American named first justice of Ayer District Court in US

Indian-American judge Tejal Mehta took oath as the first justice of Ayer District Court in the US state of Massachusetts.

Mehta, who served as an associate justice with the same court, was unanimously selected and sworn in by Judge Stacey Fortes, chief justice of the District Court, on March 2, the Lowell Sun reported.

“I’m confident that with her leadership a that the best is yet to come for the Ayer District Court,” Fortes said.

The ceremony was attended by several members of Mehta’s family, including her 14-year-old daughter Mena Sheth, who was among the ceremony speakers.

“As a lawyer, you can help people, but you can only help them to a point,” Mehta was quoted as saying in the Lowell Sun.

“As a judge, you can do so much more and get to the root of issues and talk to people in such a way that really gets through to them.”

Mehta said her goal is to make a positive impact on the community she has grown close to.

“I have seen the same hopes and despairs in every court I have sat in as a travelling judge. But when you are the first justice, then you can really get to know the community and make a real impact.”

Born to a chemist father and a mother who worked in a hospital, Mehta earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame in 1997.

Thereafter, she completed a JD at Boston University School of Law in 2000.

After graduating from law school, Mehta began her legal career as an assistant clerk for the Suffolk County Superior Court.

She then entered into private practice the following year, working as an associate at Gadsby Hannah (2001 to 2002), Cohn & Dussi (2002), and Deutsch, Williams, Brooks, DeRensis & Holland (2002 to 2004).

In 2005, the Indian-American judge joined the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney.

She worked in that capacity until 2016, at which time she opened her own private practice as a sole practitioner.

Her memberships have included the Massachusetts Bar Association and the South Asian Bar Association.

She also sat on the Board of Bar Overseers as well as the Executive Board of the Bedford Montessori School.There are 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and one Supreme Court throughout the country.

They handle trials within the federal court system — both civil and criminal.