For Immediate Release - February 10, 2016

Supreme Judicial Court Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly to Retire

BOSTON, MA -- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly today announced that she will retire from the Court on July 12, 2016. Appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick, Justice Duffly was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on February 1, 2011.

"It has been a privilege to serve as a jurist in the Trial Court, the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court. My years on the bench confirm for me that broad and diverse perspectives make an enormous contribution to the decision making process," Justice Duffly said. "I had planned to leave the bench after serving for 25 years as a judge in 2017. When my husband’s recent surgery required me to devote more of my time to helping him fully recover, I moved up my retirement date."

"In her five years on the Supreme Judicial Court, Justice Duffly has been a dedicated and thoughtful jurist, and an admired friend and colleague," Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said. "Informed by her own unique life experience, she has brought to her judicial work a keen insight into the challenges faced by immigrants, women, and persons of color.  In her national leadership roles, including as a past President of the National Association of Women Judges, she has been a frequent lecturer, mentor and role model to women judges and lawyers in this country and around the world. I will miss her friendship, her wisdom, and her generosity of spirit."

Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly was born in Indonesia on December 10, 1949. Justice Duffly began her legal career in 1978 as an attorney and then a partner in the litigation department of the Boston law firm then known as Warner and Stackpole. As an attorney, she provided pro bono legal services to indigent clients through the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

"I have known Justice Duffly for almost forty years: we met as young lawyers in Boston," said Margaret H. Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court from 1999 to 2010. "Women partners in law firms were few in number, and our professional paths crossed frequently. I have always admired her commitment to access to justice for all and to strengthening the diversity of the bar. It is no surprise that she is recognized nationally for her many efforts to make ours a more inclusive profession, and a more just democracy."

Justice Duffly served on the Probate and Family Court from 1992-2000; the Massachusetts Appeals Court from 2000 to 2011; and was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court on February 1, 2011, by Governor Deval Patrick.

Justice Duffly has also been a proponent for the advancement of women and minorities in the legal profession. "A judicial leader, convener, and effective catalyst for change, Justice Duffly's contributions to the legal profession have been profound," said Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association. "She was a 2015 recipient of the Margaret Brent Lawyers of Achievement Award, the highest honor presented by the ABA's commission on women in the legal profession."

In December 2015, Justice Duffly received the Justice in Action award at the Harry Dow Fund Annual Dinner. Also in 2015, Justice Duffly was elected to a 6-year term on the Harvard University Board of Overseers.