Hon. Judith C. Cutler (Ret.)


E-mail: jcutler@k-plaw.com
Phone: 617.654.1782
Practice Areas: General Municipal, Land Use, Real Estate

The Honorable Judith C. Cutler recently rejoined the firm after serving for nearly ten years on the Massachusetts Land Court, first as Associate Justice and, more recently, as the Chief Justice. Judge Cutler’s practice focuses primarily on real estate and land use law. In addition to general municipal law matters concerning town meeting procedures, open meeting law, conflict of interest law, and public records, she advises on matters involving municipal authority, obligations and procedures relative to: public and private ways; licensing; zoning; comprehensive permits; subdivision control; acquisition; disposition and control of public land; tax title; earth removal; and sign regulation.

Representative Matters

  • Assisted the Town of Weston in creating and drafting an Active Adult Residential Development zoning by-law.
  • Assisted the Town of Groton in creating and drafting a Town Center Overlay District zoning by-law.
  • Assisted the Town of Uxbridge in creating and drafting new zoning by-laws for senior housing development and town house development.
  • Assisted the Towns of Weston and Webster in the updating and recodification of their zoning by-laws.

Reported Appellate Decisions
Bruni v. Planning Board of Ipswich, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 663 (2009) (on brief)
Town of Uxbridge v. Griff, 68 Mass. App. Ct. 174 (2007)
Moncy v. Planning Board of Scituate, 50 Mass. App. Ct. 715 (2001)
Massachusetts Broken Stone Co. v. Town of Weston, 430 Mass. 637 (2000)
Bonfatti v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Holliston, 48 Mass. App. Ct. 46 (1999)
Massachusetts Broken Stone Co. v. Town of Weston, 45 Mass. App. Ct. 748 (1998)
Massachusetts Broken Stone Co. v. Planning Board of Weston, 45 Mass. App. Ct. 738 (1998)
Bisson v. Planning Board of Dover, 43 Mass. App. Ct. 504 (1997)
Leominster Materials Corp. v. Board of Appeals of Leominster, 42 Mass. App. Ct. 458 (1997)
Town of Northborough v. Collins, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 978 (1995)
DiStefano v. Town of Stoughton, 36 Mass. App. Ct. 642 (1994)

Prior Experience
Massachusetts Trial Court
Associate Justice, Massachusetts Land Court (2009-2013)
Chief Justice, Massachusetts Land Court (2014-2018)
Recall Justice (2018-2019)

Kopelman and Paige, P.C.
Associate (1990-1999)
Principal (1999-2009)
Primary Land Use Principal for approximately 30 Cities and Towns. Chair of the Land Use Practice Group for two years. Advised clients, and supervised or handled litigation and appellate work in the areas of zoning, subdivision, comprehensive permits, historic districts, earth removal and other land use related matters. Regularly presented training to boards and committees relative to topics such as subdivision control, special permits, open meeting law, conflict of interest law, and defensible decision-making.

Town of Concord, MA
Town Planner (1978-1990)
As head of Planning Department, coordinated review of all applications pending before the Planning Board; advised the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals concerning pertinent state law, local by-laws and regulations, and planning policy; drafted by-laws and regulations; prepared grant applications and requests for consultant services; administered grants and consultant contracts; prepared department budget and assisted in preparation of capital budget; provided technical planning assistance to numerous Town boards and ad hoc committees; reviewed easements, deeds, covenants, declarations of trusts, and home owner association documents submitted to Planning Board in connection with the proposed developments; responsible for preparation of long and short range plans; developed and administered Town’s Fair Housing and Affordable Housing programs.

Professional Memberships

  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Steering Committee Member, Municipal Coalition for Affordable Housing (MCAH)
  • Real Estate Bar Association (REBA)
  • The Abstract Club
  • SJC Committee on Judicial Evaluations
  • American Law Institute Member, and Adviser on the ALI Restatement of the Law Fourth, Property Project

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts Bar
  • U.S. District Court (Mass.)

Suffolk University Law School
Juris Doctor, 1989
First Place, Justice Thomas Clark Moot Court Competition (1988)
Best Oral Advocate, Northeast Regional Competition (1989)
Finalist, McLaughlin Oral Advocacy Competition (1986)
Member, National Moot Court Team (1988-1989)

University of Rhode Island
Master of Community Planning, 1977

University of New York at Stony Brook
Bachelor of Arts, 1974

Speaking Engagements

  • “Developing Housing Under Chapter 40B,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
  • “Expedited Permitting,” A Discussion on Recent Legislative Changes in Permitting Regulations, Sponsored by the BSCES Land Development Group
  • “Permits by Design,” Massachusetts Bar Association 2005 Annual Conference
  • “Zoning Tear Downs,” REBA 2005 Annual Meeting Seminar
  • “Zoning and Subdivision Issues 2000, An Update,” Massachusetts Bar Association
  • “Massachusetts Broken Stone – Zoning Freeze Issues,” Boston Bar Association
  • “Municipal Liability for Public Way Defects,” Massachusetts Highway Association
  • “Subdivision Performance Bonds,” Massachusetts Treasurers and Collectors Association
  • “Comprehensive Permits – Municipal Response,” Bristol County Selectmen’s Association
  • “Differing Municipal Responsibilities for Maintenance and Repair of Public and Private Ways,” Plymouth County Highway Association
  • Citizen Planners Training Collaborative:
    • “Defensible Decision Making”
    • “Subdivision Control”
    • “Introduction to Zoning, Roles and Responsibilities of Land Use Boards”
    • “Nonconforming Uses and Structures”
  • Lorman Education Seminars:
    • “Advanced Zoning and Land Use Law in Massachusetts”
“Groundwater Protection on a Local Level: Integrating the Fragments of Regulation,” Journal of the New England Water Works Association, Vol. 96, No. 4, December 1982