CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Suffolk County Sheriff (first woman in Mass. to hold the position)
  • Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney
  • Appointed to the Justice Department’s Science Advisory Board by Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney
  • Staff attorney, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department at Charles Street Jail
  • Prosecutors Clinic, Suffolk Law

Andrea J. Cabral JD’86

Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety

As a youngster growing up in East Providence, R.I., Andrea Cabral developed an early passion for law enforcement. She spent hours at her neighborhood library captivated by books about true crime, always admiring the role of the prosecutor, whose job was to untangle murder cases and bring the guilty to justice.

“The challenge of that was just fascinating to me,” she says. “I knew I wanted to be an assistant district attorney before I started law school.”

In nearly three decades since graduating from Suffolk Law, Cabral has become much more, rising in 2013 to the demanding job of Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety. She earned a name for herself as the first female sheriff in Massachusetts when she was first appointed and then elected sheriff of Suffolk County from 2002-2013 (which encompasses the communities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, Mass.). Before that, as an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County, she specialized in domestic violence and civil rights cases and co-founded the office’s first major felony Domestic Violence Unit.

“Many of Suffolk’s mandatory courses provided just the right foundation for my prosecution work,” she says. “By the time I passed the bar and started practicing, I was completely comfortable in the courtroom and ended up spending 16 years of my career there.”

In her current role, she manages a $1 billion budget and oversees 13 agencies, including the State Police, the state prison system, and the National Guard. It’s a heavy set of duties and one that brings her into contact with many Suffolk Law alumni.

“There’s always a level of comfort and respect in dealing professionally with a Suffolk alum,” she says, “and, of course, we all enjoy and benefits of the school’s excellent reputation.”