Faculty Directory

John Ward

Adjunct Professor


John Ward received his J.D. degree from Boston University. Law School in 1976. After clerking for Judge Raymond Pettine in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, he went into private practice in Boston in 1977. In 1978, in response to a pattern of police harrassment of gay men, he gathered a group of community activists and founded GLAD, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (now GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders). He has handled a number of noteworthy cases involving LGBTQ clients, including the Rhode Island prom case, vindicating the right of a high school senior to bring another young man to the prom as his date, and the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade case. In that case, he was the first openly gay man to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court. Recently, he was co-counsel in a case involving the first transgender woman in Massachusetts to be housed in a gender-appropriate prison – MCI Framingham, defending her against what the defense alleged was a retaliatory criminal prosecution. Ward also represented death row inmates in post-conviction proceedings in California. Ward was recently selected by the History Project to receive the 2021 Historymaker Award. He is still in private practice in Boston and lives in Providence with his husband, Alain Balseiro.