"Being a judge in what is often termed the people’s court calls for someone with a unique combination of knowledge of the law and what it requires, coupled with an awareness that laws are made for people who are often unwise in their choices and even frail. The wise judge must both know the law and be able to discern people’s hearts. Paul Vrabel, your community acknowledges you for having those qualities in large measure."
Words of recognition spoken upon his being
Presented with the Saint Thomas More Medal
By Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell on September 29, 2013
HONORABLE PAUL M. VRABEL
Judge Vrabel is a native of Worcester and grew up in Webster where he received his early schooling. He completed his undergraduate studies at the College of the Holy Cross and his legal studies at Suffolk University School of Law. He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1979, and to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1994. A young Attorney Vrabel began his career as a civil litigation attorney in Worcester where he was an associate with the firm of Kressler & Kressler. Between 1980 and 1983, Paul Vrabel served as an assistant district attorney within Berkshire County. From 1983 and for the next sixteen years Attorney Vrabel was a member of the Berkshire County firm of Donovan & O’Connor LLP where he concentrated in civil and criminal litigation. In August 1999, Paul Vrabel was named by Governor Cellucci as a justice of the District Court, being assigned to sit in the Northern Berkshire court located in North Adams.
Prior to going on the the Bench, Attorney Vrabel was successively the vice president and then president of the Berkshire County Bar Association. With equal enthusiasm, however, Paul Vrabel served as a member of the Williams Elementary School Council, as a Cub Scout den leader and as a merit badge counselor for a local Boy Scout troop. It has been a particular characteristic of Paul Vrabel that he could always balance his professional responsibilities and community service work in such a way that his principal focus is always his family, which now includes a grandchild.
One a lighter side, it should be pointed out that in his immediate neighborhood His Honor has been dubbed “The Lawn Ranger”. He enjoys yard work, and one very elderly neighbor proudly tells her friends – “I have a judge who mows my lawn.”
At the time of his confirmation to the Bench, the choice of Paul Vrabel was roundly praised by his confreres at the Bar. One of those individuals said of him – “I think he’s a first-rate choice for the District Court Bench. He’s very bright, has a great work ethic, …” and “He has a very low-key, easy way about him.” A religious sister who is a pastoral minister in the community very quickly says of Judge Vrabel – “He has a great understanding of human frailty, and his own modesty in demeanor evokes the respect of us all.”
Judge Vrabel and his wife, Mary, are the proud parents of four grown children and one grandchild and they are members of Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield.