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What makes a leader? Boston College Law School does...

Photographs by Bob O’Connor

It forms hundreds of them year after year after year. BC Law alumni have used the lessons learned in law school to make the world a better, more interesting place. They have done so by rising to the top of their games in law, business, finance, government, the judiciary, and public service, then using their influence to affect meaningful change. These portraits are representative of the thousands of high achievers who’ve forged divergent paths to professional success. Presenting some of BC Law’s best and brightest. Captions below follow images from left to right.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy ’80, heralded as a strong leader in a crisis and whose signature achievement in his first term was historic gun-control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings, was elected to a second term in November.

In January 2013, Boston College trustee and former appeals court judge Marianne D. Short ’76 was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a Fortune 500 company that provides health benefits and services nationwide and internationally.

Leadership is a team effort at Holland & Knight. Steven H. Wright ’81 (front, seated) Executive Partner at the firm’s Boston office, also serves as a director of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and was named to the 2014 Boston Business Journal “Power 50.” Wright underlines his debt to colleagues he calls “role models and supporters”: (from left) Mark C. Michalowski ’85, former Executive Partner for Boston; James E. McDermott ’80, firmwide Section Leader for Business, and Ralph T. Lepore ’79, Chairman of the Director’s Committee and Practice Group Leader for New England litigation.

Jonathan W. Painter ’85 is President and CEO of Kadant, Inc., in Westford, Massachusetts, one of the largest paper products companies in the world with 1,800 employees in 17 countries. Kadant supplies innovative energy-efficient products, technology, and services to the paper, plastics, textiles, and tire industries.

Secretary of State John Kerry ’76 has served as the nation’s top diplomat since January 2013 following twenty-eight years in the US Senate, four of them as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He was the Democratic Party presidential candidate in 2004. (Kerry photography by Christian Weber/Trunk Archies)

Recently noted among “Women Worth Watching for 2015” by Profiles in Diversity Journal, Therese Pritchard ’78 is the first woman Chair of 140-year-old Bryan Cave LLP, an international law firm based in Washington, DC. She has been cited as one of America’s best lawyers by various publications.

Recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential US Hispanics,” Brigida Benitez ’93 is a Partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP and President of the Washington, DC, Bar Association.

As Executive Director of Global Zero, Derek Johnson ’06 helms a movement to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide. The Washington, DC-based organization has built an international community of influential celebrities and political, military, business, civic, and faith leaders—matched by a powerful grassroots movement.

A veteran defender of First Amendment rights, the multilingual poet, translator, and scholar Hon. William P. Robinson III ’75, has been a Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice since 2004.

Named a partner at Goldman Sachs, New York, in 2008, Michael J. Richman ’85 is Global Head of Compliance for the firm’s investment management division, and Deputy Head of Global Compliance for the Goldman Sachs Group.

Identified as a leader in US and European antitrust law by many publications, including Chambers Global and The Best Lawyers in America, Mark Leddy ’71 has been Managing Partner of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP since 2011.

Veteran prosecutor Peter F. Neronha ’89 was appointed by President Obama as United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, his native state, in 2009.

Following a career in public service and private practice, Hon. Francis X. Spina ’71 served on both the Massachusetts Superior Court and the Appeals Court before his appointment as Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1999.