Press Release

Press Release AG Healey Appoints New State Solicitor

Bessie Dewar Will Continue to Lead Attorney General’s Office on Appellate Advocacy
For immediate release:
11/28/2016
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Appoints New State Solicitor

Jillian Fennimore

Boston — Attorney General Maura Healey today announced that Elizabeth N. Dewar, known as Bessie, has been appointed to serve as the state’s second State Solicitor.

Dewar, a Jamaica Plain resident, most recently served as Assistant State Solicitor under former State Solicitor Peter Sacks, now a judge on the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Sacks was appointed as the state’s first State Solicitor when the office was created in July 2013, and Dewar worked closely with him to build the new office.

“Bessie is an outstanding attorney who helped to establish the Office of the State Solicitor and has contributed greatly to the high level of appellate advocacy of this office,” AG Healey said. “She has the experience and skills to continue to lead our office on important appellate issues, and I am pleased she has agreed to serve in this important role.”

The State Solicitor’s primary role is to help develop appellate strategy and supervise the briefing and arguing of appeals by attorneys throughout the Attorney General’s Office as well as Special Assistant Attorney Generals outside the office. The State Solicitor also handles selected significant appeals for the office, advises the Attorney General regarding writing or joining amicus briefs, and tracks the office’s appeals to ensure consistent legal positions. 

As Assistant State Solicitor, Dewar has helped to decide whether to permit appeals from adverse decisions, led the office’s amicus efforts in state and federal courts, briefed and argued significant cases, led trainings on appellate advocacy, and consulted on significant trial-level matters. Dewar has also won significant cases for the AG’s Office, most recently successfully defending in the Supreme Judicial Court two lawsuits challenging this office’s decisions to certify initiative petitions to appear on the November 2016 ballot.

Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Dewar worked as an appellate and trial-level lawyer in private practice at Ropes & Gray LLP and was a civil rights advocate at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.  Dewar is a graduate of Harvard College and the Yale Law School and has a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge.  Following law school, Dewar served as a law clerk at all three levels of the federal judiciary, for the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Honorable William A. Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, Calif., and the late Honorable Louis H. Pollak, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Penn.     

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Media Contact for AG Healey Appoints New State Solicitor

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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