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Allan M. Hale, the first chief justice of the Appeals Court, was born in Plymouth in 1914 and lived in Middleborough for almost his entire life. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1939; he attended law school in the evenings while working days for the New Haven Railroad and the Curtis Publishing Company. Chief Justice Hale practiced law in Middleborough until 1942, when he joined the United States Coast Guard, serving on active duty as a lieutenant until 1946. He then returned to the law and had an active practice in civil and criminal matters, and became an expert on municipal law, serving as many as seven municipalities at the same time.
In 1967, he was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor John Volpe. Five years later, Governor Frank Sargent appointed him chief justice of the newly created Appeals Court. Hale and the Court's first five associate justices took the oath of office on October 6, 1972. In November of that year the Court held its first sittings, and in December issued its first decisions. During the next eleven and one-half years, Chief Justice Hale wrote almost 900 decisions, of which 336 were signed opinions. It was during his tenure that the Appeals Court expanded for the first time, adding four new judges in late 1978 and early 1979. Chief Justice Hale retired at age seventy in February 1984. At his retirement, he was honored with an oil portrait by Boston artist Robert Cormier, which adorns Courtroom Four, officially named the Hale Courtroom. Chief Justice Hale died in Wareham on November 1, 1997, after a long illness. He and his wife, Barbara Hunt Hale, were the parents of three children, all of whom became attorneys.
The Appeals Court's Memorial to Chief Justice Hale may be found at 45 Mass. App. Ct. 1127 (1998).