Leader in law and education; devoted member of the New England Law | Boston community
(Boston, 1/14/14) New England Law | Boston: Trustee Robert Quinn, a member of the New England Law | Boston Board of Trustees for more than 40 years, passed away on January 12. Quinn’s law school service was just one facet of a distinguished career that advanced the public good in his native Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the nation.
“For more than 40 years, Bob Quinn championed New England Law’s cause and helped guide our institution. We are grateful for his dedication to the law school, which benefited immeasurably from his wisdom and experience. Bob was one of the law school’s most steadfast supporters, and we will greatly miss his talent, generosity, and friendship,” said Martin C. Foster, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Following graduation in 1955 from Harvard Law School, Quinn served as a law clerk to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1957, he entered private practice and was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
In 1967, he was elected speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives after having served as majority whip and majority leader. His legislative achievements included championing the Police Career Incentive Pay Program, or “Quinn Bill
,” which encourages police officers in participating municipalities to earn degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice and to provide educational incentives through salary increases.
He was elected state attorney general in 1969, a position he held until 1975. In this capacity he led his East Coast peers in their challenge to the federal government's title to offshore oil, set up the state's first Environmental Protection Division, spearheaded drug abuse law changes and the alcohol rehabilitation act, and led the establishment of the New England Organized Crime Intelligence System. In 1974, he was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General.
In 1975, Quinn reentered private practice and founded Quinn and Morris in 1979.
Quinn helped found University of Massachusetts Boston and served as chairman of its board of trustees. The university created the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership
in his honor in 1987. He also served as vice chairman of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
He was the featured speaker at New England Law’s fifty-eighth annual Commencement ceremony in 1969, at which time he received an honorary Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. In 2011 he was named to the “Irish Legal 100,” an awards program of Irish Voice.