SJC Justice David Lowy named University of Massachusetts General Counsel 

UMass President Marty Meehan today announced that Justice David A. Lowy, the first UMass graduate to serve on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, will become the next General Counsel of the 74,000-student, five-campus University of Massachusetts system. In addition to his appointment as General Counsel, Justice Lowy will serve as Strategic Advisor for Law School Education and Adjunct Professor of Law at UMass School of Law-Dartmouth, the university’s ABA-accredited Law School.

Justice Lowy succeeds General Counsel Gerry Leone, who has accepted an offer to return to private practice. Leone, the former elected Middlesex District Attorney, was named general counsel of the five-campus UMass system by President Meehan in 2017.

The general counsel is based at the UMass Office of the President in Boston and leads the University’s legal department in addition to working with the campus Chancellors and the UMass Board of Trustees.

"Justice Lowy is a highly respected jurist who possesses a keen legal mind and also brings significant experience as an educator,” Meehan said. “We have taken great pride in David Lowy's career for many years, and it is fair to say that he has inspired UMass students to pursue careers in law and in public service. I am honored to welcome one of our most distinguished graduates back to the University.”

Justice Lowy became the first University of Massachusetts alumnus ever to serve on the state’s highest court when Gov. Charlie Baker appointed him to the SJC in 2016. Justice Lowy, who graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1983, served as a District Court and Superior Court judge before joining the SJC.

Said Justice Lowy: “I am truly delighted to be returning home to UMass and am very pleased to be joining President Meehan’s team. I look forward to working to advance the University’s mission of educational excellence. From personal experience, I know that UMass provides opportunity and transforms lives.”

Justice Lowy began his legal career as an associate in the Litigation Department of Goodwin, Procter & Hoar, leaving for a year-long stint to work as a law clerk to Judge Edward F. Harrington in the U.S. District Court. He was an assistant district attorney in Essex and Suffolk Counties and served as Deputy Legal Counsel to Governor William F. Weld.

During his years on the bench and while serving in other legal positions, Justice Lowy has taught at New England School of Law | Boston, Suffolk University Law School and at Boston University School of Law. He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law in 1987.

Meehan also expressed gratitude for Leone’s service to the university. “Gerry Leone has provided UMass with outstanding legal service during his tenure as general counsel and has also been a key strategist and adviser,” Meehan said. “We will miss his skill and wise counsel, but I respect his decision to pursue an exciting and fulfilling opportunity. I have had the good fortune to call Gerry a friend for many years and look forward to witnessing his future achievements.”

In addition to serving as Middlesex District Attorney, Leone was First Assistant U.S. Attorney and was known for his prosecution of high-profile state and federal cases, including that of “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. Prior to his election as Middlesex DA, Leone was the Chief of the Criminal Bureau in the state Attorney General’s Office. Leone was Vice President for People Development for Consigli Construction and was a partner at the Boston law firm Nixon Peabody.

"For the past 6 1/2 years, I have had the privilege of working alongside very talented, hard-working and dedicated colleagues at the University of Massachusetts,” Leone said. “I am indebted to President Meehan for this personal and professional opportunity, deeply grateful for the relationships and achievements that we have cultivated and developed during my tenure at UMass, and extremely proud of the work and successes that we have accomplished together.”

"I have made the decision to pursue a new personal and professional opportunity and have accepted an offer in the private sector, the details of which I will share in the near future. I am excited about this new challenge and the possibilities that lie ahead. I depart UMass thankful and confident that I have helped build and develop a strong Office of General Counsel and outstanding team dedicated to excellence in higher ed and the university mission.”

Both Lowy’s appointment and Leone’s contributions were widely praised.

"I congratulate President Meehan for bringing Justice Lowy and his many talents to the University,” said Stephen Karam, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “With this appointment, President Meehan again demonstrates his ability to attract top talent and maintain high standards. Gerry Leone has served UMass tirelessly and with great distinction, and I wish him well in his future pursuits.”

"I commend President Meehan for recruiting Justice Lowy to serve as the university’s top lawyer, filling the shoes of another distinguished attorney and public servant, Gerry Leone,” said Martin W. Healy, Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of the Massachusetts Bar Association. “At a time when colleges and universities across the nation are facing a myriad of complex challenges, Justice Lowy’s immense skill, knowledge and passion for public service will be critical to preserving and expanding access to educational opportunity here in Massachusetts.”

As noted above, Lowy will also serve as Strategic Advisor for Law School Education and Adjunct Professor of Law at UMass Law, the university’s ABA-accredited Law School. UMass Law is the only public law school in Massachusetts and one of the fastest-growing law schools in the nation. It’s 80% bar pass rate ranks fifth in Massachusetts behind only Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern University. As part of its mission, UMass Law is dedicated to public service, and since its founding in 2010, students have contributed more than 215,000 hours of pro bono legal services through five distinct community-focused law clinics.

"We are thrilled at the prospect of having Justice Lowy join our UMass Law team,” said UMass School of Law Dean Sam Panarella. “His knowledge of the law, teaching experience, and exemplary commitment to public service will be valuable assets as we prepare a new generation of lawyers to pursue justice.”

John Hoey