Voices of the Bar 9/29/16: Choate Colleagues Help Us Get to Know Chief Justice Marshall

The Boston Bar Association is very pleased to announce that Hon. Margaret H. Marshall, former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, will be honored at the Boston Bar Foundation 2017 John & Abigail Adams Benefit.

A quick internet search or conversation with someone who has been practicing in the legal field in Massachusetts for long enough will provide a laundry list of her many accomplishments. Chief Justice Marshall was the first female Chief Justice of the Massachusetts SJC, and during her 11 years in the position, she gained a national reputation for both her landmark decisions and her reforms of the Massachusetts court system.

Chief Justice Marshall rejoined Choate, Hall & Stewart in 2012 after her retirement from the bench. For this week’s Voices of the Bar, we asked some of her colleagues at Choate to share a little bit about their personal experiences with her.

“How has working with Chief Justice Marshall impacted you personally or professionally?”

Diana LLoyd – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“I met Chief Justice Marshall when she interviewed me for a lateral associate position at Choate, Hall in 1992.  I was immediately taken with the Chief’s warmth, obvious brilliance and impressive success as a litigation partner at a major law firm.  At the time, few women had achieved that type of success.  In my first months at Choate, I came to learn about the Chief’s background fighting apartheid in South Africa, and her remarkable achievements in this country.  I also marveled, though, at the Chief’s focus on the personal side of those she met.  She learned and cared about the details of people’s lives – their spouses, their children, their concerns.  Many people now link the Chief, first and foremost, to her courageous and ground-breaking decision on same-sex marriage in Goodridge.  However, if you ask the Chief whether she views Goodridge as her most important decision, she will tell you that is not the way to look at it – that for all litigants who come to a court seeking justice, their own case is most important to them and deserves equal attention and consideration.  To me, that sentiment encapsulates the Chief  – a person who cares for the people in our system as well as the principles and a lifelong crusader for justice for all.”

Melissa Bayer Tearney – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“As President of the Board of Directors of Greater Boston Legal Services, I know I speak for the entire organization in expressing our gratitude to Chief Justice Marshall. She has been an avid supporter of social justice throughout her life, and she has made extraordinary efforts to help ensure that legal representation is available to all, regardless of an ability to pay. Her commitment is unwavering, and she is a true leader in this effort.”

John Nadas – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“It’s hard to know where to begin, as Chief Justice Marshall has influenced so many of us in so many ways, both professionally and personally, over the span of her extraordinary career. I want to emphasize one of her unusual personal qualities. Every day she demonstrates to us the importance of trying to make day-to-day connections with people, including strangers. When you walk with the Chief you’re well advised to set aside extra time to get to your destination because she often  stops to talk with people, whether she knows them or not. It’s not superficial. She does so out of genuine interest in, and caring for, people. To an unusual degree, she wants to see, connect, and get to know everyone. It is a reflection of her warmth, kindness and curiosity which, given her stature in the community, has a particularly profound and meaningful impact on others. ”

Jack Cinquegrana – Choate, Hall & Stewart
“When I learned that I would have the opportunity to serve as the Boston Bar Association’s President, the first person I called was Chief Justice Marshall.  She took most of a morning out of her busy schedule to meet with me, over breakfast on a rainy day in Harvard Square.  I recall our meeting quite well, because the more she spoke about the BBA, the greater my ambition for what the organization could accomplish.  I am sure The Chief has been an inspiration to every BBA President through her example of leadership, and I want to express my personal thanks for the wise counsel she has given me over the years, beginning on that rainy morning.”

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Lauren DiTullio at lditullio@bostonbar.org.