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Eleanor Coe Sinnott

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Eleanor Coe Sinnott is a Massachusetts judge. She was the first Korean-American to sit on the Massachusetts bench.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Sinnott’s parents left their native South Korea in the 1950s and moved to Belmont, Massachusetts.[1] She was born Eleanor Ngai Koh in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1][3] When she was four years old, her parents changed the spelling of the family name from Koh to Coe.[1] Her parents did not speak Korean in front of her as a child in an attempt to prevent it from hindering her skills in English.[1] As a child, she aspired to be a doctor, and for three years after graduating from Williams College in 1982[4] she conducted medical research and cared for patients at Massachusetts General Hospital.[1]

Sinnott was graduated from Boston College School of Law in 1989.[4][1][2] She was admitted to the Massachusetts bar, the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts bar, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit bar the same year.[4]


Sinnott served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy's Special Operations Command Korea.[1] She had originally wanted to become a Navy SEAL, but discovered from the recruiter that the unit did not accept women.[5] Sinnott served for 10 years in the Navy and then in the reserves.[6]

After law school, Sinnott went to work for a large law firm and then became an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts.[1][5] She then served as deputy legal counsel at the Executive Office of Public Safety and then the chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts State Police. She remained with the State Police for nearly a decade before being appointed as a judge in 2006.[1]

She initially served as an Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Department and in 2008 was appointed as the First Justice of the Charlestown Municipal Court.[1] On January 29, 2014, she became the first presiding judge of the Boston Veterans Treatment Court.[1][6][7] On January 1, 2015, Sinnott began presiding over the newly established gun court session in the Boston Municipal Court.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Sinnott is married to Rick Sinnott,[1] a fellow judge on the Boston Municipal Court.[3] The couple met while scuba diving with her Navy recruiter.[5] They live in Charlestown, Massachusetts.[3]

She has a black belt in karate.[5]

See also[edit]

  • List of first women lawyers and judges in Massachusetts


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Han, Brian (December 30, 2014). "Massachusetts' 1st Korean judge balances identity, education and social intelligence – The Korea Times". www.koreatimesus.com. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "BC Law Female Firsts" (PDF). BC Law Magazine. Boston College (SUmmer 2018): 19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Carr, Howie (April 12, 2017). "Carr: City judicial positions the new couples' retreat". The Boston Herald. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Judge Profile: Eleanor Coe Sinnott". Martindale. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Reske, Henry (May 1993). "Romance at 20 Fathoms". ABA Journal. American Bar Association (May 1993): 104. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sullivan, Jack (April 15, 2014). "Veterans court". CommonWealth. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  7. Dacier, Paul T. (March 13, 2014). "Dacier's Take on. . .Suffolk County's Veterans Treatment Court". Boston Bar Association. Retrieved April 9, 2020.

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