Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall Rejoins Choate

Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall



Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall Rejoins Choate

Choate Press Release

 | January 4, 2012

Choate today announced that Margaret H. Marshall, who served as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for more than a decade, has rejoined the firm as Senior Counsel.  Marshall will work part-time and will focus her efforts on the firm’s extensive community outreach, pro bono and diversity programs, mentoring lawyers, and providing senior level counsel to clients on special projects.

Following her graduation from Yale Law School, Marshall practiced law for 16 years in Boston and was a partner at Choate.  In 1992, she became Vice President and General Counsel of Harvard University.  In 1996, Governor William F. Weld appointed her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.  Marshall was named Chief Justice in September 1999 by Governor A. Paul Cellucci, becoming the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Court in its more than 300 year history.  Marshall retired from the Court in December 2010.

During her 14 years on the Supreme Judicial Court, Marshall wrote more than 300 opinions, many of them landmark decisions including the 2003 decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which declared that the Massachusetts Constitution prohibits the state from denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage.  The ruling made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage.

“We are thrilled to be working with Justice Marshall again.  She is a remarkable person and leader, with a brilliant legal mind, who has made historically significant contributions to the Commonwealth and to our profession.  She is committed to giving back to the legal community that has given her so much,” said John Nadas and William Gelnaw, co-managing partners at Choate.  “We know that she will make important contributions to our firm and its lawyers, our community and our clients.”

“Choate is a spectacularly talented law firm, and I look forward to rejoining my many friends here,” said Chief Justice Marshall.  “Choate and I have many shared values, including a deep respect for the rule of law and the important role it plays in the lives of individuals, in organizations and in our society.  I look forward to working once again with Choate colleagues as I explore ways to contribute to the community, strengthen pro bono programs, mentor new attorneys, as well as counseling clients on special projects.”

In addition to her position at Choate, Marshall will join the faculty at Harvard Law School this spring as a senior research fellow and lecturer.

Marshall served as president of the Boston Bar Association from 1991 to 1992, president of the United States Conference of Chief Justices from 2008 to 2009, and chair of the Board of the National Center for State Courts.  Marshall is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She served as a fellow of the Corporation of Yale University from 2004 to 2010.  She has received many honorary degrees and other professional awards.

Born and raised in South Africa, Marshall received her undergraduate degree in 1966 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.  She spent three years as president of the National Union of South African Students, a leading anti-apartheid organization.  She moved to Boston in 1966 to attend Harvard University, where she received her master’s degree in education in 1969.  Marshall received her JD from Yale Law School in 1976.


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