Hon. Joseph N. Laplante sits on the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire. After several years in private practice, his pre-judicial career included state prosecution of both fiananical and violent crimes, as well as federal prosecution at both “Main Justice” in Washington, and at U.S. Attorney’s Offices.
He was appointed as a U.S. District Judge in 2007 at the age of 42 (serving as Chief Judge from 2011-2018) after five years in the US Attorney’s Offices in Boston, MA and Concord, NH working primarily for the New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, as both an Assistant a d First Assistant US Attorney. Judge Laplante also worked in the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice, the NH Attorney General's Office Homicide Unit, and the Manchester, NH law firm of Wiggin & Nourie.
Judge Laplante earned both his A.B. cum laude (1987) and his J.D. cum laude (1990) from Georgetown University, and attended one semester (3L, non-matriculating) at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He serves and has served as adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School, Georgetown Law, the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and Suffolk University Law School, teaching statutory interpretation. He has written several articles of legal analysis published in the NH Bar Journal, and book reviews for the NH Bar News.
Judge Laplante is the co-chair of the N.H. Access to Justice Commission, and a member of the Nashua Bar Association and the Webster-Batchelder American Inns of Court. He serves or has served on the NH Bar Association’s New Lawyers’ Committee (former chair), the Committee on Professionalism (former chair), and the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts.
Awards he has received include the American College of Trial Lawyers Golden Gavel Award (2018, New England chapter); the NH Bar Association’s Distinguished Service to the Public Award (2017); the NH Bar Foundation’s Robert E. Kirby Award (2001); the Edward “Ted” Jordan Humanitarian Award (Nashua Bar Association 2008); and the St. Thomas More Award. Prior to assuming the bench, he received several awards from the New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force; the NH Drug Task Force; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Boston Police Department; and the NH Congressional Delegation.
Judge Laplante is the vice chair of the Rivier University Board of Trustees, vice chair of the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program Board of Overseers, and the Georgetown University Alumni Association Board of Governors. He currently sits on the board of the Southern New Hampshire Regional Medical Center, and formerly chaired the Nashua Region Board of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
He served on the United States Judicial Conference (governing body of US Judiciary) Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM), as well as the First Circuit Judicial Council and the Board of Directors for the Federal Judges Association.
Locally, the majority of Judge Laplante’s volunteer time is spent at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua, where he oversees the youth wrestling program and was named Volunteer of the Year in 2019, and Nashua PAL, where he operates an after-school gymnasium.