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Remembering Kevin Curtin: Mourning A Tremendous Loss In The Legal Community

Remembering Kevin Curtin: Mourning a Tremendous Loss in the Legal Community

Kevin Curtin was a pillar, a devoted mentor, and an inspiring source of kindness and warmth in the Massachusetts legal community.

 

The sudden passing of Kevin Curtin, Chair of the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Oversight Committee, is a tremendous loss. He was surrounded by family at the time of his passing on December 10th, as noted in his obituary. Kevin was Senior Appellate Counsel/Grand Jury Director for the Middlesex County District Attorney, and was a proud graduate of BC Law. BC Law Magazine published remembrances from members of their community here. Kevin served on the ABA Board of Governors (which shared a statement here), and on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law & Justice (which shared a statement here).

 

Colleagues of Kevin shared the following words in memory of him.

 

“What was clear about Kevin was his commitment to making a difference.  The LCL community was lucky to have benefited from his commitment to lawyer well-being.  He was generous with his time and knowledge.  He came to Oversight Committee meetings prepared and ready to give his best.  We will miss his positivity, enthusiasm and infectious smile.  The LCL community is heartbroken for the loss of our colleague and champion for the cause.” (Abim Thomas, LCL Oversight Committee)

“Kevin had the gift of great empathy for his fellow lawyers. He knew the struggles and pressures of the job, and he respected his peers. He never stopped reaching out to help them. Through service at LCL, in  the way he treated opponents and colleagues, in his kind words and encouraging conversations—Kevin was consistently a source of strength and hope for the legal community. He was my friend since our boyhoods and I will always miss him.” (Emmett E. Lyne, LCL Oversight Committee)

“Kevin Curtin was someone who, even if you only met him for ten minutes, you felt like you knew him well and that he would do anything he could to help you.  He was a devoted teacher and mentor, not only to law students and young lawyers in his office, but also to lawyers and judges in other parts of the world.  He took joy in others’ successes, and genuinely cared for lawyers’ and others’ well-being.  Kevin was the personification of fundamental decency and service to others, and he will be deeply missed.” (Timothy Casey, LCL Board of Directors)

 

The following beautiful tribute was shared by Kevin’s colleague Amanda Rowan. It is published with the permission and support of his family.

I worked with Kevin for years at the Middlesex DA’s Office, but it wasn’t until 2011 when he was assigned to mentor and prepare me to argue at the SJC that I got to know him. It was quite clear to me that he was BRILLIANT, but also very humble. He spent hours going over the law with me, peppering me with potential tough questions from the Court, and helping me respond to them. When the big day came, Kevin sat to my left at the table, where I shook like a leaf. He was reassuring and supportive. When it was over, I sat down to see he had written the kindest note on my legal pad. I still have that note.

Fortunately, about two years later I was able to quit drinking. My biggest fear in early sobriety was that someone would recognize me, or that my legal career and my recovery would collide. At that time, I believed being a successful attorney- a prosecutor no less- and an alcoholic couldn’t mix. I knew the day would come when I would see someone I knew in a recovery group, and I was terrified.

That day came on a Thursday night in West Roxbury. I saw Kevin walk through the door, and immediately thought: “Oh, that’s Kevin Curtin, he must be lost, or here to support a loved one.” I believed, like so many still do, that someone that smart, polished, professional and admired couldn’t also be in recovery. I ran over to him to say hello and ask what on Earth he was doing there. He told me he was a member of the fellowship as well. I was floored. That was the first time my work and sober lives had crossed paths. When I heard him share his Experience, Strength and Hope with a room full of people- in and seeking sobriety- I was amazed. He spoke of how being in recovery changed his life for the better, and for his daughter and wife. He gave people hope that they could have it too. His honesty, humility and willingness to help others was beautiful. While it is so clear Kevin helped countless law students, lawyers, even other countries, he undoubtedly helped just as many people trying to get through one day without a drink. 

From then on, whenever I saw Kevin in the courthouse, our interactions, while often brief, were so much more meaningful. He would give me a knowing smile and nod, and say something like, “You ok, kid?” He wasn’t just asking me in the same way we ask others many times a day, he was asking me, as a person new to sobriety, if I needed his help. Which I knew if I ever needed, he would have gladly given.

When I heard of Kevin’s passing, I was so sad. I immediately had this vision of him sitting by my side during the most intimidating hour of my legal career- of his note- of him asking me if I was OK over the years. I don’t believe that was all coincidence. 

Over the last week, we have heard about how Kevin was so many things- a wonderful father, a loving husband, a revered attorney, a talented law professor, but he was also one of Us. And for that I will be forever grateful.

 

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