For Immediate Release - October 03, 2014

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Announces Passing of Former Justice Neil L. Lynch

BOSTON, MA - Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants regrets to announce that former SJC Justice Neil L. Lynch died on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, after a valiant struggle with cancer.

Chief Justice Gants said, "Justice Lynch served with distinction as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court for 19 years. In addition to performing his appellate work, Justice Lynch served as chairman of the SJC’s Commission to Study Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts. He leaves behind a profound legacy of leadership and devotion to the people of the Commonwealth. He will be deeply missed."

The Hon. Margaret H. Marshall, who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court from 1999 to 2010, said, "Justice Neil Lynch was a brilliant, insightful Justice, who served the people of our Commonwealth well for many years. A gentleman in every sense, he was beloved by generations of his law clerks and by the staff at the Supreme Judicial Court. I am immensely saddened by his passing."

The Hon. Herbert P. Wilkins, who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court from 1996 to 1999, and previously as an Associate Justice following his appointment in 1972, served with Justice Lynch for 18 years and remembered him as "a congenial friend and team player who held to his principles with integrity."

The Hon. Neil L. Lynch was appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court by Governor Edward J. King in 1981, where he served until his mandatory retirement at age 70 in 2000. After his retirement from the SJC, Justice Lynch was president and dean of the Flaschner Judicial Institute, which seeks to improve the administration of justice in Massachusetts by promoting the highest standards of judicial professionalism through judicial education. Justice Lynch also worked at the federal court as settlement counsel from 2000 to 2008, and taught at the Massachusetts School of Law.

Justice Lynch served on the inaugural Court Management and Advisory Board (CMAB), which was created by the Legislature in 2003 by statute, following a recommendation from the Monan Committee, to advise and assist the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Trial Court Leadership. Justice Lynch was appointed to the CMAB in 2004, and was reappointed for a second term from 2007 to 2010.  

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Lynch served as Chief Legal Counsel to Governor King from 1979 to 1981. From 1965 to 1976, Justice Lynch was Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority and was the Secretary-Treasurer there from 1975 to 1976. In addition, Justice Lynch served as an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law from 1969 to 1972, and as an associate professor there from 1976 to 1978.

Justice Lynch worked as an attorney with the Boston law firm, Herlihy & O’Brien, from 1976 to 1977. He was an associate in the Boston law firm, Hale, Sanderson, Byrne & Morton from 1957 to 1965.

Justice Lynch received his A.B. degree, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1952. He served as a First Lieutenant Adjutant in the U.S. Air Force before attending Harvard Law School and earning a L.L.B. degree in 1957.

Justice Lynch was born June 26, 1930, and was a Hingham resident, where he lived with his wife, Kathleen. He was formerly a long-time resident of Scituate, and grew up in Bridgewater. He is survived by his wife, three children and two stepchildren

A funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, October 6, at 10:00 a.m. at Resurrection Church, 1057 Main Street, Hingham, MA. Family and friends are invited to call on  Sunday, October 5, 2014, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home, 809 Main Street, South Weymouth, MA.