John Pappas was sworn-in as the 15th Suffolk district attorney on Wednesday, officially succeeding his former boss, Daniel F. Conley, who stepped down as the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop after 16 years.
Pappas, who worked as Conley’s chief trial counsel, told a room of lawyers, friends, and relatives at a downtown office that “hard work and integrity will get you everywhere in this office.”
“You won’t be judged on your wins and losses in this office,” he said, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office. “I can tell you that from experience. Honesty. Integrity. Fairness. Compassion. These are the things that matter most here.”
Pappas, 54, will serve out the remainder of Conley’s term, which runs until January.
According to the office, Conley recalled his first day on the job after his 2002 gubernatorial appointment.
“I knew how the DA’s office worked,” Conley said. “I’d been a prosecutor for nine years, working in the district courts, the Juvenile Unit, and then Superior Court trial teams. I had some experience in government from my time on the City Council. But I’d never been a DA before, and I knew I was going to need a great team. And I’ve had one – for 16 years, seven months, one week, and one day.”
Conley hailed the work of Suffolk prosecutors, victim advocates, investigators, and support staff.
“When I walk out this evening, I won’t be district attorney,” he said, according to the statement . “I’ll be one of almost 800,000 Suffolk County residents depending on you to carry this important mission forward.”
Conley’s last official act as district attorney was to administer the oath of office to Pappas, a son of Greek immigrants who earned his law degree at night while working during the day, according to the district attorney’s office. Over the course of 24 years, Pappas “worked his way up from district court assignments to the very highest levels of the office,” the office said in the statement.
Earlier this week Governor Charlie Baker appointed Pappas to the post.
Conley is stepping down to work as special counsel at Mintz Levin, a Boston law firm.
Conley announced in February that he would not run again for district attorney, setting off a five-candidate Democratic primary. Earlier this month, Rachael Rollins emerged as the Democratic nominee. She will face independent candidate Michael Maloney, a Brockton defense attorney, in November. The winner will take office in January.Maria Cramer of Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.