Faculty Directory

Elspeth Cypher

Huber Distinguished Visiting Professor


Justice Cypher was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1959. She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Emerson College in 1980 and a J.D., cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in 1986, where she served on the Suffolk University Law Review.

From 1986 to 1988, she was an associate at the Boston law firm of Grayer, Brown and Dilday. In 1988 she became an Assistant District Attorney in Bristol County, where she served for the next 12 years. From 1993 to 2000, she was chief of the Appellate Division of that office and argued many cases before the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court. On December 27, 2000, Governor Paul Cellucci appointed her to the Massachusetts Appeals Court as an Associate Justice.

Justice Cypher has been an adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School. Prior to that, she taught for many years at the University of Massachusetts School of Law. She received an honorary PhD from Emerson College in 2017, an honorary JD from UMass in 2018, and, most recently, the Marilyn Archer Trailblazer Award in 2022.Over the years, Justice Cypher has written extensively about developments in criminal law in the Commonwealth. Active in the Massachusetts Bar Association, she has served as co-chair of its criminal law section. She was the recipient of the Green Bag’s Exemplary Legal Writing award in 2018, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly‘s Lawyer of the Year Award in 2000.

In 2012, Justice Kent B. Smith asked her to co-author a fourth edition of his books in the Massachusetts Practice Series, Criminal Practice and Procedure. Before his death, she assumed responsibility for the supplement in 2013 and for the fourth edition, which was published in 2014. Each year, she updates the annual supplement and plans to continue to do so.