SWAMPSCOTT — Three of Gov. Deval Patrick’s judicial nominees, including a Swampscott resident and chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office criminal division, got the green light to be sworn in Wednesday.
The Governor’s Council voted 5-0 to approve James Lang’s appointment to the Superior Court, with Councilor Terrence Kennedy voting present. Lang has spent 20 years working in the federal courts.
During his confirmation hearing Dec. 5, Lang told the council he never thought about pursuing an appointment to federal court.
“My interest is in the Superior Court,” he said. “It is the work I have always been the most motivated by.”
After graduating from Boston University Law School, Lang started his law career in the Norfolk district attorney’s office working under former District Attorney William Delahunt. He decided to leave the district attorney’s office when Delahunt ran for Congress. He has worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office since 1993.
Lang said he sees the position of Superior Court judge as one that is engaged in the “pure practice of law.” As chief of the criminal division, he said he spends a lot of time on management and personnel responsibilities.
“I have harbored a desire for a long time in my career to be a judge,” Lang said. “I have always wanted to be a judge because there comes a time in one’s career where one wants to be the decision-maker, the final decider.”
A good judge is someone who is intelligent, has a good work ethic, extensive litigation experience “in the trenches,” as well as humility and a lack of arrogance, Lang said. “He is not afraid to admit when he doesn’t know something and seek assistance of the litigators,” he said.
Lang, who grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Cornell University, said he followed his college sweetheart back to Boston after graduation. He received his law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1985, while his wife, Stephanie, worked toward her medical degree.