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Roderick L. Ireland papers

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Z15-030

Content Description

Roderick L. Ireland is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended Lincoln University and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, his Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, and his Ph.D. in Law, Policy, and Society from Northeastern University. Ireland began his legal career in 1969 as a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney and then worked as a public defender with the Roxbury Defenders Committee. He was assistant secretary and chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance and chair of the Massachusetts Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds. In 1977, Ireland was appointed as a judge of the Juvenile Court; Governor Michael Dukakis appointed him to the Appeals Court in 1990. In 1997 Governor William Weld appointed him as an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. He became the senior associate justice in 2008. In 2010, Governor Deval Patrick appointed him as the thirty-sixth chief justice. Ireland has been an adjunct faculty member at Northeastern University since 1978 and on the faculty of the Appellate Judges Seminar at New York University Law School since 2001. He was the first African-American justice appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in its then 305-year history and its first African-American chief justice. Ireland retired from the Supreme Judicial Court in 2014. The collection documents the legal career of Roderick L. Ireland from his position as an attorney for the Roxbury Defenders Committee through his term as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from approximately 1966-2014 (bulk 1980-2014). The papers include court files, correspondence, subject files, event files, speech files, audio-visuals, awards, and diplomas. Accessioned 2015 Apr 06. 95/6-9

Restrictions Apply


Access Restrictions

Papers are restricted until screened and processed. Court records are closed to access except by individuals given written permission by Roderick L. Ireland or his heir(s) for 30 years.


  • Creation: 1966-2014-(bulk 1980-2014)


54.67 cubic feet (54.67 cubic feet in 49 boxes and 4 poster boards.)