The Boston Bar Association honored Chief Judge Sandra L. Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit with its 2011 Haskell Cohn Distinguished Judicial Service Award at a special ceremony held at the BBA last Thursday, June 9. She is a past President of the Boston Bar Association.
“Chief Judge Lynch is a devoted servant of her country whose fidelity to the United States Constitution, to the Rule of Law, and to the highest standards of our profession makes her supremely deserving of the honor we bestow upon her,” said BBA President Donald R. Frederico at last week’s ceremony. “Chief Judge Lynch makes you feel good about being a lawyer. Even more than that, she makes you want to be a better lawyer.”
Chief Judge Lynch has long been associated with firsts. In 1995, she went from being the first woman to head the litigation department at Foley Hoag to becoming the first woman appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In 2008 she became the first woman Chief Judge of the First Circuit — serving as executive officer of both the Court of Appeals and the Judicial Council of the First Circuit, which handles all policy and decisions for the courts of the entire circuit. She also sits on the Judicial Conference of the United States, which sets general policy for the federal courts and their relationship with Congress and the President.
At the ceremony, Chief Judge Sandra Lynch, a BBA past president, was presented with a plaque that reads:
“The first and only woman judge to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the first woman to become its Chief Judge, the Honorable Sandra L. Lynch demonstrates the noblest ideals of the judiciary and public service, eminently fair and impartial, quickly grasping the intellectual complexity of the issues before the court, and always appreciating the profound ramifications of the court’s decisions.
From her earliest days on the bench, Chief Judge Lynch’s impact on the law has been felt well beyond the geographic reach of the court on which she serves. She is among the small group of federal judges whose work is most often cited by other judges and in law review articles, and has earned a reputation as an expert in the areas of immigration law, discrimination law, securities law, and civil rights law. She also is widely admired for her extensive knowledge of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Written with great clarity and precision, Chief Judge Lynch’s opinions reflect a keen awareness that she is dealing not with abstract questions, but with the lives of real people. Her opinions are also written in a manner that provides practical guidance to lawyers and legal scholars grappling with similar legal issues. In the courtroom, she is known for being meticulously well-prepared and courteous to all parties. She believes that sound decisions provide justice not just to those who are parties to the case but to others who will be bound by the ruling.
All who have the privilege of knowing Chief Judge Lynch benefit from her extraordinary leadership skills and her passion for sharing her rich knowledge of the law and the legal profession. The young lawyers who clerk for her are the beneficiaries of a mentoring relationship that continues long after they complete their clerkships. Her vision of the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse as a center of community and civic activities proved a driving force in the success of Discovering Justice, a program to educate children about democracy.
As Chief Judge of the First Circuit, she is attentive and faithful to the needs of the court, and of the federal judicial system. Above all else, she is a devoted servant of her country whose fidelity to the United States Constitution, to the Rule of Law, and to the highest standards of our profession makes her supremely deserving of the honor we bestow upon her today.
For her dedication and outstanding service as a U.S. Circuit Judge and as Chief Judge of the First Circuit, the Boston Bar Association is proud to recognize the Honorable Sandra L. Lynch with its Haskell Cohn Distinguished Judicial Service Award.”