Sandra Lea Lynch

Sandra Lea Lynch

Sandra Lea Lynch (born 1946) is the chief judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is the first and to date only woman to serve on that Court, and on June 16, 2008, became its first female chief judge.

Federal Judicial Service

President Bill Clinton nominated Lynch to the First Circuit on January 11, 1995, to fill the seat vacated when Stephen Gerald Breyer was elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States. She was confirmed by the Senate on March 17, 1995, and received her commission on the same day.


Lynch received an A.B. from Wellesley College in 1968, and her law degree from the Boston University School of Law in 1971. She graduated from Lake Highlands High School, Richardson ISD, Dallas, Texas, in 1964, as a member of the first graduating class.

Professional career

From 1971-73, Lynch served as a law clerk for the Honorable Raymond J. Pettine of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, becoming the first female law clerk to serve in that court. She then went on to serve as an assistant state attorney general for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1973-74 and general counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1974-1978.

In 1978, Lynch entered private practice, joining the law firm of Foley, Hoag, & Eliot, becoming a partner in 1982. During her tenure at Foley Hoag, Lynch became the first woman to head the firm's litigation practice, and was among the team of lawyers representing defendant W.R. Grace & Co. in the Woburn, Massachusetts toxic tort trial (the subject of Jonathan Harr's 1995 book A Civil Action.) Lynch remained in private practice until being appointed to the First Circuit.

Lynch also served as an instructor at the Boston University Law School from 1973-74 and as special council to the Judicial Conduct Commission of Massachusetts from 1990-1992.

From 1992-1993, she served as President of the Boston Bar Association.


External links

* [ Biography at Federal Judicial Center Website]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box| title=Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit| before= Michael Boudin | after=incumbent| years=2008-present| succession box| title=Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit| before=Stephen G. Breyer | after=incumbent | years=1995-present|

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