BOSTON – May 11, 2022 – On Wednesday, May 4, New England Law | Boston and prominent members of the legal community celebrated former Dean John F. O’Brien for his dedication to the school where he began his legal career as a student (’77), and went on to serve as dean from 1988-2019, and president until 2021.
Dean O’Brien was recognized for spearheading the development of a diverse, national student body at New England Law, creating new summer fellowship programs, and expanding the law school’s clinical and educational programs. He brought prestige and recognition to New England Law for attracting distinguished visitors, including eight Supreme Court Justices, during his time as dean of the law school.
Beyond the walls of New England Law, Dean O’Brien was one of the most influential legal educators in the country. He held leadership roles in the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education, chaired the Committee on Accreditation, and was a founding dean of the Consortium for Innovative Legal Education. He is a recipient of the Robert J. Kutak Award, the ABA’s highest award for advancement of legal education. Justice Antonin Scalia referred to Dean O’Brien as “The Dean of Deans” in recognition of his long service and impact on the field of legal education.
Many noteworthy guests attended to honor the former dean, including chairman of the Worcester Red Sox and The Jimmy Fund Larry Lucchino; executive director of the International Bar Association Mark Ellis; Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Department Roberto Ronquillo Jr.; former U.S. Associate Attorney General and senior counsel at Goodwin Procter LLP, Wayne Budd; former senior vice president and general counsel to Northeastern University Ralph Martin; former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz; Bristol County Superior Court Judge Jackie Cowan; former dean of Boston University Law School Maureen O’Rourke; former Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly; and artist Ben Aronson, who painted a portrait of Dean O’Brien for the law school. Aronson follows in the footsteps of his mother the late artist Georgiana Nyman Aronson, whose portrait series of the Supreme Court Justices who visited New England Law is a notable feature of the school’s law library. John O’Brien will continue to serve New England Law as Special Advisor to the Board of Trustees.
Pictured above: Dean John O’Brien, Chairman of New England Law Board of Trustees Albert Balboni, daughter of Dean O’Brien Karalyn O’Brien, Former Attorney General Tom Reilly, Former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Trial Court Barbara Dortch-Okara, Former Dean of Boston University Law School Maureen O’Rourke, Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, Prominent Attorney Barry Feinstein, Executive Assistant Tracy Silveira, Artist Ben Aronson, Former U.S. Associate Attorney General and Senior Counsel at Goodwin Procter LLP Wayne Budd, Baltimore Attorney James Hanks, Worcester Red Sox and The Jimmy Fund Larry Lucchino, Boston Executive Assistant Fay Scheer, Former Senior Vice President and General Counsel to Northeastern University Ralph Martin, Executive Assistant Paula LaMonica, Executive Director of the International Bar Association Mark Ellis, Former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court Robert Cordy, and Former Professor Gary Monserud