AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The first African American to serve on Maine’s highest court was sworn in Wednesday, and he said he’s ready to get to work.

Rick Lawrence said he’s already reading legal briefs to bring himself up to speed on some of the cases before the court.

The Maine Senate voted last month to confirm Lawrence to serve as an associate justice on the seven-member Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Lawrence was sworn into office Wednesday at the State House by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who nominated him.

Lawrence, 66, is a two-decade veteran district judge who currently serves as deputy chief judge of the District Court.

Lawrence is a Portland resident who worked as an attorney at Pierce Atwood and as an in-house counsel for disability insurer Unum before becoming a judge.

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