BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP today announced that Margaret H. Marshall, Senior Counsel at the firm and former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, has been selected to receive the 2014 We Are Boston Leadership Award. The award, which “honors the outstanding accomplishments of individuals and organizations who embrace diversity and immigrant heritage,” will be presented by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh at the We Are Boston gala in Boston on December 8, 2014.
Marshall, who was the first female Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the first female general counsel of Harvard University, was selected for the award for her “leadership by example as a champion for access to justice and a transparent and independent judiciary.”
Previous recipients of this prestigious award include Senator Edward Kennedy (2006), Red Sox player David Ortiz (2007), Celtics Bill Russell (2008), cellist Yo-Yo Ma (2009), Victoria Reggie Kennedy (2010), Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield (2011), Dr. Gary Gottlieb of Partners HealthCare (2012), and George A. Russell, Jr. of State Street Corporation (2013).
“Throughout her career, Margaret Marshall has supported the principle of equality before the law and the importance of allowing people to have representation and access to justice,” said Charles Cheever and Bill Gelnaw, co-managing partners at Choate, Hall & Stewart. “She has made historically significant contributions to the justice system in Massachusetts, and we are very proud that she has been selected for the We Are Boston Leadership Award.”
During Marshall’s 14 years on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court – including 11 years as Chief Justice – she wrote more than 300 opinions. She is best known for 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. In her opinion, Marshall took a strong stance against all forms of discrimination, stating that the “Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens.”
As Senior Counsel at Choate, Marshall focuses her efforts on the firm’s extensive community outreach, pro bono, and diversity programs, mentoring junior lawyers, and providing senior level counsel to clients on special projects. One of her most important community projects is her work with Greater Boston Legal Services, where she helped raise money for the Marshall Plan (named in her honor) which was created to help ensure that as many poor people as possible have access to legal assistance.
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, she was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court and was named Chief Justice in September 1999.
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 has served as a Fellow (trustee) of Yale Corporation from 2004 to 2010 and now serves as the Senior Fellow, the first woman to hold that position. 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 served 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 J.D. from Yale Law School in 1976.
Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, one of the nation's leading law firms, is consistently recognized for excellence by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, The Legal 500, World’s Leading Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Lawyers, and Expert Guides. With all of its lawyers under one roof, Choate focuses on a core group of areas where it represents clients across the United States and internationally and provides exceptional efficiency, service and value. Choate’s areas of focus include high-stakes litigation, corporate/M&A, private equity, technology companies and intellectual property, insurance/reinsurance, government enforcement and compliance, and wealth management.