(Boston, Revised-4/29/13) New England Law | Boston: The Law Day Banquet scheduled for Friday, April 19, has been cancelled, due to the lock-down in Boston and neighboring towns that day, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Honorable Roderick L. Ireland, chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, was slated to deliver the keynote address at New England Law | Boston’s annual Law Day Banquet. Chief Justice Ireland is the 36th chief justice and has been a jurist for more than 35 years.
Chief Justice Ireland was appointed an associate justice to the court in 1997 by Governor William F. Weld. In 2008, he became the senior associate justice, and in 2010, he was appointed chief justice by Governor Deval Patrick. Before his appointment to the Supreme Judicial Court, he served as a judge of the Juvenile Court (1977–1990), after which he was appointed an associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (1990–1997). He is the first African American to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court and the first African American chief justice.
Chief Justice Ireland began his legal career in 1969 as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney, then worked as a public defender with the Roxbury Defenders Committee. He was assistant secretary and chief legal counsel of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance and chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds.
Chief Justice Ireland has received numerous awards, including the Great Friend of Justice Award from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation (2008); the Judicial Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Bar Association and Lawyers Weekly (2001); and the Judicial Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (1999). He is the author of the juvenile law volume of the Massachusetts Practice Series, as well as law review articles. He delivered the Sixteenth Annual Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice at New York University School of Law in 2010.
He is a graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Columbia Law School and has a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School and a Doctor of Philosophy in Law, Policy, and Society from Northeastern University.
Law Day was established in 1958 by proclamation of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Celebrated annually by the nation’s legal community and the general public, it promotes awareness of our country’s laws and justice system and the role they play in maintaining our nation’s freedoms.
Recent Law Day Banquets at New England Law have featured Supreme Court Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg; U.S. Senator Scott Brown; Governor Howard Dean; U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas; former chief UN weapons inspector, Dr. Hans Blix; and former federal Court of Appeals judge and solicitor general Kenneth Starr.