Sandra L. Lynch was the first woman to hold several prominent law positions in the New England area. She graduated from Wellesley in 1968 with a degree in philosophy, and in 1971, she received her J.D. cum laude from Boston University Law School, where she was the editor of the Law Review. She subsequently became a law clerk at the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. She was the first female law clerk in the history of federal courts in Rhode Island.
Judge Lynch was an assistant attorney general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was named General Counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1974-1978. In 1978, she joined the Boston law firm Foley, Hoag & Eliot, and in 1981, she was named partner. She was the first woman and youngest person to head their litigation department. She remained with Foley, Hoag & Eliot until 1995, when she was appointed as judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and was appointed to chief judge in 2008. She is the first woman to have served on that Court and the first female chief judge.
Judge Lynch served as the president of the Boston Bar Association from 1992 to 1993, and she is on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements. She has also been a part of the Wellesley College Business Leadership Council. She has been recognized as a distinguished alumna by both Wellesley College and Boston University.
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