The passing of Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants is an enormous loss to the Massachusetts legal community. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.
As others have noted, Chief Justice Gants was a thoughtful and incisive jurist, a leader in the expansion of access to justice and criminal justice reform with a passionate voice for equity and inclusion in the administration of justice. He also cared deeply for the health and well-being of judges, lawyers, law students and other legal professionals.
Chief Justice Gants was a great friend and ally to LCL | Mass LOMAP. His compassion and commitment to the well-being of our profession led to his formation of the 2019 SJC Steering Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. He also led the way in the implementation of 2019 recommendations of that Committee by supporting the formation of the SJC Standing Committee of Lawyer Well-Being.
In addition to his local contributions to attorney well-being, Chief Justice Gants was a national leader, having introduced a resolution just last year before the Conference of Chief Justices calling upon all jurisdictions to eliminate questions regarding mental health and alcohol and substance use from character and fitness evaluation forms. The resolution passed and prompted several jurisdictions to reexamine and change their approaches to lawyer character and fitness. Such reforms will be instrumental in reducing stigma around mental health and alcohol and substance use disorder diagnoses and treatment. The resolution he introduced will have long-lasting, positive impacts on the legal community throughout the country.
Chief Justice Gants was friendly, humble, thoughtful, and kind; he had a wonderful wit and wry self-deprecating sense of humor. He was a serious man who did not take himself too seriously. He will be missed by so many.
We look forward to working with a successor to continue the remarkable legacy that Chief Justice Gants began as a statewide and national voice for lawyer health and well-being.
On behalf the LCL Staff and Board of Directors,
Anna Levine, Esq.
Executive Director, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.
Beth Myers, Esq.
President, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.
Tracy Ottina, Esq.
President-elect, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.
Related: Invitation to submit and read remembrances of Chief Justice Gants