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A Life That Spans 100 Years

francis voss carries the banner for class of 1932

Francis Voss, 100 years oldFrancis Voss, 100, the surviving member of BC Law’s first graduating class, 1932, says people still ask him for legal advice.

“I have to be careful, though, because the laws have changed and you don’t want to get backed into a corner. If it’s something complicated, I send them to someone who’s still practicing,” says Voss, who attended commencement in 2007 to receive a Boston College Law School 75th Anniversary Award.

Voss practiced law for more than fifty years, starting his career in the depths of the Depression. “When I graduated from Boston College undergraduate in 1929, the stock market fell apart and there were no jobs around. There was no sense in trying to find a job, and since the Law School was just starting, I thought that would be a good thing to try,” he recalls.

Voss’s father, a plumber, helped with tuition, and Voss managed to find a nighttime job at the post office, earning sixty cents an hour to cover some costs. “Of course, streetcars were cheap, so it only cost me a dime to commute to school from home in Arlington Heights,” he says.

At the time, the Law School was at 11 Beacon Street, but by the end of his three years, space had been made on the main campus for the school. “The classes weren’t that interesting,” Voss admits. “You just tolerated them; you didn’t enjoy them. Once you got to work, that was fun.”

After graduation, Voss took a job in a Boston law firm earning $11 per week. He went on to become a partner with Gorman, Voss, Broadbind and Gorman, and with his wife, raised his three children in the Medford home where he remains. “My children still live fairly close, which is nice,” he says.

Voss’s favorite branch of law has always been civil suits and estate law. “If you draw up enough wills, sooner or later the clients come back to you,” he says. “I always found going through the probate part fascinating.” He steered clear of jury trials, however. “I never bothered with that,” he says. “If I had a jury case, I would get somebody else to try it.”

“I enjoyed my legal career,” he says. “It’s nice if once in a while you feel like you’ve been able to help someone out.”

—Terry Byrne

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