Q&A with Judge Suzanne Del Vecchio
Can you update us on your life since our 30th Reunion?
During the past 20 years I continued to sit on the Massachusetts Superior Court as an associate justice and then became the chief justice (first woman) of the Court. I had a great time and a wonderful career, but after 21 years I felt it was time to retire from the Court, after my pension had fully vested of course!
After taking six weeks off and being bored for the first time in my life, I decided to become a mediator/arbitrator. I planned to work part-time but, like everything else, the more you do, the more you do. I work every day and I love it! I mediate and arbitrate the same types of cases I heard on the Court, but I get to deal with the lawyers and litigants in a different dynamic than I did on the Court.
On another note, however, my husband, Cyrus Del Vecchio, passed away in 2013. After 45 years of marriage, it’s still difficult being on my own. Working has been a lifesaver!
I taught at Boston University School of Law for 20 years while I was on the court, and I was amazed to see so many women in my classes in ever increasing numbers as the years went by. It is wonderful to run across those students now as they practice law.
Do you see yourself now as a pioneer of women in law?
I still don’t see myself as a pioneer. I went to law school because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I didn’t want to teach or do any of the things available to me with just an undergraduate degree. I didn’t think of myself a pioneer at all, and my parents encouraged me even though my father thought that young women would be happiest being teachers or nurses. He paid for my law school education and was as thrilled as my mother was when I graduated and passed the bar.
It was really wonderful meeting the other women in our class when we entered the school in 1964. We were at different stages in our lives: some were married, some had children, some gave birth while in school, and some were single. But every one of us worked and established our careers as time went on. I have lost touch with most of them, although I used to have lunch occasionally with Enid Starr when I was on the court and with Jane Lundregan. Sadly, both of them have passed, and I miss them.
How would you describe your law school experience a half-century later?
I have some really wonderful memories of my time at the school. I’ve kept in contact with some classmates and continue to run into others here and there. I kept in touch with Father Drinan until he died. I miss him as well as my BC Law friends who have passed on. St Thomas More Drive was a magical place for me and I loved it!