Alumni Contributions with Personal Meaning

Deborah Marson and Mark E. Sullivan support law clinics connected to their personal passions

By Kara Baskin

Photographs by Michael J. Clarke

Suffolk Law is fortunate to boast legions of alumni devoted to giving back. That giving is especially resonant when generosity dovetails with professional passions.

Consider Dean’s Cabinet member Deborah Marson JD’78, executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Iron Mountain, a Boston-based global leader for storage and information management services. Her $100,000 of funding supports a clinical fellow for Suffolk Law’s Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) Lab.

“I’m very involved in the new products that we offer, which are dependent on technological advancements. Supporting the LIT Lab just seemed like a great synergy to me between what I know and what I work with—cutting-edge, novel, and linked to the law,” she says.

Iron Mountain and the LIT Lab both operate at the intersection of technology and data science. Marson, who was the longtime deputy general counsel for The Gillette Company before Iron Mountain, is delighted to help support these civic efforts through a legal lens.

“Suffolk gave me the gift of being a lawyer, and I’ve reached a few milestones in my career that I never expected when I was a graduate back in 1978,” she says. “I believe in giving back and trying to make the road for students today a little bit easier where I can.”

Her generosity currently supports clinical fellow and adjunct professor Quinten Steenhuis, who previously practiced housing and eviction defense law for Greater Boston Legal Services. At the LIT Lab, his projects focus on the intersection of access to justice and technology, with an emphasis on housing and evictions. During the pandemic, his work is more important than ever.

Or consider University Trustee and Dean’s Cabinet member Mark E. Sullivan JD’79, retired chief legal officer at Bose Corporation—a company whose audio innovations, from noise-canceling headphones to high-tech speakers, are often mimicked. To protect the company’s inventions, Sullivan’s practice focused on intellectual property, and he is devoted to supporting the next generation of Suffolk graduates interested in the nexis of IP and business.

He recently committed $250,000, much of which is intended to advance the Law School’s work in IP law. “Each decade brings its own wrinkle in terms of the knowledge and experience you need to succeed as a lawyer,” he says. “For many new graduates, they’ll need to operate comfortably in the innovation economy, and I wanted to help out in that subject area as it was critical to my career.”

“These two remarkable Suffolk Law graduates have achieved so much in their careers,” said Dean Andrew Perlman. “It is gratifying to see them give back, and it is especially meaningful to see them support the kind of work that has been critical to their own success.”

Alumni appreciate the chance to share their professional passions through funding, but equally significant is an overarching appreciation for Suffolk as an institution.

“Suffolk Law is a place of intellectual curiosity, learning,” says Marson. “It’s a place that makes a difference in the lives and careers of its graduates. What more could anybody ask for?”

Deborah MarsonDeborah Marson

Mark SullivanMark Sullivan

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