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Mass. SJC Chief Justice to Speak at Law School


By Nathaniel Kenyon | Law School Marketing and Communications Director

Published: Apr. 14, 2011

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland will give the Commencement Address at the 2011 Boston College Law School Commencement on May 27 at 10:30 a.m. on BC’s Newton Campus.  

A jurist for more than three decades, Ireland became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court when he was appointed in 1997, and last December became the court’s first African-American chief justice. He is an expert in juvenile law and authored Massachusetts Juvenile Law, a volume of the Massachusetts Practice Series. He has received several awards for his work with youths.  

"Chief Justice Ireland has had a long and celebrated career in public service, including over 33 years as a judge in the Massachusetts Juvenile Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Judicial Court," said BC Law Interim Dean George Brown. "I'm very pleased that he has accepted our invitation to address our 2011 graduating class."  

A native of Springfield, Ireland began his legal career in 1969 as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney, then worked with the Roxbury Defenders Committee as chief attorney, deputy director and executive director.  He was assistant secretary and chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance, and chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeals on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bond.  

Ireland served on the state Juvenile Court from 1977-90 and as associate justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 1990-97.   He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University, a juris doctorate from Columbia Law School, master of laws degree from Harvard Law School, and a PhD in law, policy and society from Northeastern University.    

Ireland has been an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern University since 1978, and on the faculty of the Appellate Judges Seminar at New York University Law School since 2001.    

More information on the Boston College Law School Commencement is available at the school’s website