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Michael Cassidy Elevated to Top Ethics Role

BC Law professor named Chair of Board of Bar Overseers.

Professor Michael Cassidy 

Professor and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar R. Michael Cassidy has been appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court to serve as Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (BBO). An expert in legal ethics, Cassidy has been on the BBO since 2021, working to monitor, investigate, and discipline Massachusetts attorneys. His year-long term as chair began on July 2.

“I am honored to serve the profession in this capacity,” Cassidy said. “My work on the BBO informs my teaching and scholarship, and my teaching and scholarship inform my service to the profession. It is nice when there is a symbiosis between them.”

The BBO was established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 1974 as an independent administrative body to protect the public by evaluating complaints against attorneys. Over forty lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and financial auditors are employed by the BBO to regulate 42,000 Massachusetts attorneys.

The board itself comprises twelve volunteer members who are appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court for four-year terms. Eight of the members are attorneys; four others are public members. The board acts as an administrative tribunal to consider disciplinary charges brought by Bar Counsel. When an attorney is found to have committed misconduct, the board recommends the imposition of discipline, which can be reviewed by the Supreme Judicial Court.

“The news that Mike Cassidy has been named the new chair of the Board of Bar Overseers will be welcomed throughout the world of lawyers and their clients,” said Dan Coquillette, Monan Professor Emeritus and a former dean of BC Law. “I cannot imagine a more thoughtful and fair person. Mike has deep experience with all aspects of the bar, and will bring transparency and accountability to all he does. The bar is in safe hands with Mike as chair.”

Among his numerous other contributions to the legal profession, Professor Cassidy has served as a member of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission, a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission, and as Editor-in-Chief of the Massachusetts Law Review in addition to being published in numerous scholarly journals, including Northwestern Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, and Loyola University Chicago Law Journal. He’s worked at Boston College Law School for twenty-eight years teaching Criminal Law, Evidence and Legal Ethics. He also teaches an undergraduate seminar on “The Rule of Law and the Meaning of Justice.”

“This is a fabulous appointment, and a real honor for Mike Cassidy. The Board of Bar Overseers is the most critically important organization for lawyers practicing in Massachusetts, as it enforces our ethical duties and advises us about how to practice law responsibly,” said BC Law colleague Paul Tremblay, Dean’s Distinguished Scholar and clinical professor. “I would also note that Mike is a nationally prominent scholar on the topic of virtue ethics, which is a wonderful perspective for the chair of the BBO to embrace.”

Visit Professor Cassidy’s website.