On her tenth anniversary leading the
Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall received
the Massachusetts Bar Association's Chief Justice Edward F.
Marshall was recognized with the
award at the Fourth Annual Bench-Bar Symposium, which was held Oct.
21 at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston. The honor has been
bestowed only five times, including when it was originally given to
SJC Chief Justice Hennessey in 1988.
Former Gov. William Weld appointed
Marshall to the SJC in 1996, and in 1999, she was appointed chief
justice by former Gov. A. Paul Cellucci and began her term on Oct.
Cellucci, now special counsel to
McCarter & English LLP in Boston, told the audience he based
his decision on intellect, courage and leadership.
"I had the great honor of elevating
Margaret Marshall to be chief justice of the Supreme Judicial
Court," he said. "The head of our state's judicial branch has to be
an exceptional person."
Cellucci noted that the Hennessey
Award reflects Marshall's exceptional life.
"It is quite an honor for me to be
here," he said.
Marshall, the first woman to serve
as chief justice and just the second to serve as an associate
justice, was born and raised in South Africa. As an undergraduate
student, she was elected president of the National Union of South
African Students, a leading anti-apartheid organization. After
receiving her bachelor's degree in 1966, she came to the United
States in 1968, where she earned a master's degree in education
from Harvard and a law degree from Yale University.
She practiced law for 16 years in
Boston, and was a partner at Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, where
she specialized in intellectual property litigation. In 1992, she
was appointed vice president and general counsel of Harvard
University, the first woman to hold that position.
Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice
Christine M. Durham, who succeeded Marshall as president of the
Conference of Chief Justices, also applauded Marshall.
While the Massachusetts legal
community may be aware of Marshall's "extraordinary" leadership
within the state, Durham assured the audience of Marshall's
"She is alive to the promise of the
American justice system," Durham said, " … and she is alive to
defending and preserving it."
In presenting the award, MBA
President Valerie A. Yarashus said, "She has surpassed all of our
highest expectations," noting in particular Marshall's commitment
to access to justice.
Marshall thanked Cellucci and the
Massachusetts legal community.
"What an extraordinary and
remarkable legal journey this has been for me in this legal
community," she said. "It is rich and welcoming."