By Jennifer Brown Bonniwell
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick nominated two Suffolk Law alumna to be judges in Boston Municipal Court this week, adding to the ranks of the more than 200 active judges who have graduated from Suffolk Law School.
Patrick nominated Lisa A. Grant JD ’82 as associate justice in the South Boston Division. If confirmed, she will replace another Suffolk Law graduate, the Hon. Mary Ann Driscoll JD ’74, who is retiring. Grant has practiced law in Boston for 29 years, including the past 24 years as a sole practitioner in Boston. Her litigation practice focuses on criminal defense.
Debra A. DelVecchio JD ’83 was nominated as associate justice in the East Boston Division. DelVecchio has maintained a criminal and civil litigation practice based in Salem since 1995. Her prior legal experience includes three years as assistant district attorney in Middlesex County, three years as a Department of Justice tax attorney and four years as a litigation associate at a Boston firm. If confirmed, she will fill the vacancy on the Boston Municipal Court created by the appointment of the Hon. Kenneth V. Desmond, Jr. to the Superior Court.
A Deep Bench
Suffolk Law School has 226 active judges among its alumni, as of 2013. Suffolk graduates are on the bench at nearly every municipal, state, federal and administrative level, from the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C., to the chief justices of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
There are 116 active judges on the bench just in Massachusetts, including 47 district court judges, 20 superior court judges, 13 probate and family court judges and six juvenile court judges. Suffolk alumni also sit on the bench of the Massachusetts Land Court, Boston Immigration Court, U.S. Immigration Court in Boston and the Department of Industrial Accidents (which oversees the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts.
Suffolk Law graduates also are chief justices of the highest courts in Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire. The Hon. Linda S. Dalianis JD ’74 was the first woman on the New Hampshire Supreme Court and is the first female chief justice. The Hon. Paul A. Suttell JD ’76 served as a state legislator for eight years before he was appointed as a judge in 1990; he became chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 2009. The Hon. Paul Reiber JD ’74 is chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court.
There are 28 federal judges among Suffolk Law alumni. Recent judges in the news include the Hon. Richard Leon JD ’74, who recently struck down the NSA telephone surveillance program, and the Hon. Marianne Bowler JD ’76, who is overseeing the trial of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect.