On Saturday, October 15, 2016, nearly 200 members of the Suffolk Law community gathered at Boston’s Ritz Carlton Hotel to recognize a shortlist of the school’s key change agents; introduce and thank members of the new Dean’s Cabinet and members of the Law Alumni Association Board of Directors; offer a memorial tribute to Professor Charles “Charley” Kindregan and Ed Bray JD ’58; and honor Suffolk's alumni judges.
"Suffolk Law School is a leader in legal education, and has been ranked among the top 10 in the nation for preparing students for 21st century law practice," Acting President Marisa Kelly said.
Master of Ceremonies, Trustee, and Chief Justice of the Juvenile Court Amy Nechtem JD '85 recognized the 20 members of the judiciary in attendance for their dedicated service. She referenced a Suffolk study showing there are more sitting judges in Massachusetts from Suffolk than from any other school in the nation, adding that one-quarter of all state court judges and 235 of the judges nationwide are Suffolk Law graduates.
"Suffolk is not just another university...not just another law school here in Boston," Nechtem said, calling the school "the academic heartbeat of this city."
Kate Clayman JD ’09, Acting President Marisa Kelly, Hon. Stacey Fortes JD ’90, John Dodge JD ’89 and Chief Justice and Trustee Amy Nechtem JD ’85
“A leading voice for compassion in criminal justice”
Adam Foss JD ’08 received the Graduate of the Last Decade Award. Described by Dean’s Cabinet member Ernst Guerrier BS ’91, JD ’94 as “a leading voice for compassion in criminal justice,” Foss’ March 2016 TED Talk, “A Prosecutor’s Vision for a Better Justice System,” has more than 1.3 million views. Foss is working with Academy Award-winner John Legend to build the non-profit Prosecutor Integrity and was listed among the most influential young African-Americans by The Root 100.
Left to right: Dean Andrew Perlman, Adam Foss JD’08, and Ernst Guerrier BS’91, JD’94, Member, Alumni Board of Directors and Member, Dean’s Cabinet
“I floundered a bit during my first year of law school and I wasn’t a very good student,” he said, “until a professor… approached me and asked me to do an internship in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court. When I went into that courtroom, it changed my life,” Foss recalled. “Professor Karen Blum is the reason that I’m here."
Foss regularly works with students in Suffolk’s clinical classes and serves as a mentor for students and recent graduates. “Without the support of Suffolk’s community of color, my professors, including Professors Glannon, Robertson and Cooper, and mentors,” Foss said, “none of this could have happened.”
“I wouldn’t be a judge and doing what I do if it wasn’t for Suffolk”
Kenneth Gear BSBA ’89, JD ’95, vice president of the Law Alumni Association Board of Directors, presented Judge Gustavo Gelpí JD ’91, HLLD ’06, with the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. Gelpí is United States District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico.
The Honorable Gustavo A. Gelpí, JD '91, HLLD '06
Gelpí has handled many pivotal cases since his nomination by President George W. Bush in 2006, and serves as a tireless mentor and advocate at Suffolk, devoted to helping law students and alumni excel, Gear said. Gelpí sets aside time each year to teach Federal Criminal Procedure to our students and trains recent graduates and students year after year.
"It’s my award, but it’s your award, as well," Gelpí told the audience. "I wouldn’t be a judge and doing what I do if it wasn’t for Suffolk."
"An example of what it means to be a leader"
Jessica Massey JD ’03, Law Alumni Trustee, presented Stephani Hildebrandt JD '00 with the Outstanding Alumni Service Award for her selfless leadership on multiple boards including a stint as president of the Alumni Board of Directors.
Hildebrandt took the lead to create the DC Alumni Scholarship, raised an impressive $50,000 to endow the scholarship, and created a plan that will double that amount in the coming year, Massey said. She said Hildebrandt “leads our community in so many ways: making contributions and raising funds, mentoring, speaking at events, voicing strongly alumni opinions, and serving as an example of what it means to be a leader and agent of positive change.”
Honoree Stephani Hildebrandt JD ’00 and Jessica Massey JD ’03, Alumni Trustee
Introducing the Dean’s Cabinet
Dean Perlman acknowledged the tremendous contributions of the Alumni Board of Directors under the direction of its president, Robert Howley JD '92. He also thanked members of the Dean’s Cabinet, a newly formed leadership group of some of the Law School’s most generous supporters, each of whom have committed at least $50,000 to the Law School. The Cabinet grew out of conversations between Dean Perlman and the first Cabinet member, Lewis Sassoon JD ’69. In just the last few months, the Cabinet has grown to 12 members.
Professor Charles "Charley" Kindregan
Recognition of Edward Bray, JD ’58 and Professor Charley Kindregan
Dean Perlman closed the evening with recognition of two people who contributed to Suffolk Law School in very different ways. With gratitude for Ed Bray’s love for his alma mater and estate gift of approximately $1.2 million to Suffolk Law, Perlman announced the creation of the Ed Bray Legacy Award. Bray passed away last year at age 89.
Perlman lauded Professor Charley Kindregan, who passed away earlier this year at age 81, after nearly 50 years on the Suffolk Law faculty. “Charley modeled for all of us at Suffolk Law what a law professor can and should be,” Perlman said. “He was a beloved teacher and a nationally known scholar who was dedicated to serving the Law School, the profession, and his community.” Professor Kindregan’s son, Chad, JD ‘89, attended the event, and the audience showed their appreciation for his father’s legacy with a lengthy standing ovation. Read the full tribute for Professor Kindregan.
View the Law Alumni Dinner image gallery