Feb. 19, 2023

Combining Private Practice With Public Service: A Conversation With Retired Lawyer and Judge Karen Green

Combining Private Practice With Public Service: A Conversation With Retired Lawyer and Judge Karen Green

Lawyers wear many hats. Some go into private practice, some into government service, and others represent the poor. Among those who choose courtroom work, some lawyers become prosecutors, some become criminal defense attorneys, and some become civil litigators. And of course, let’s not forget lawyers who become law school professors and those who become judges.  

Of all the lawyers I’ve known throughout my long career, few have excelled in as many areas as Karen Green. Coming out of Harvard Law School in the early 1980s, Karen was a rising star in one of Boston’s largest and most prestigious law firms, eventually becoming chair of its renowned litigation department and then co-chair of the litigation department of the powerful successor firm that resulted from a law firm merger. 

Despite her success at private practice, and influenced by her parents’ devotion to public service, Karen felt the pull to do more. So, over the course of her distinguished career, she also has worked as the First Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, became a state court trial judge, served on dozens of non-profit boards and committees, taught law students at her alma mater, and even worked briefly as Chief of Staff for the Massachusetts Governor. Now retired, Karen continues to give back, dedicating significant time to the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, and serving as a member of the Rule of Law Leadership Council of the World Justice Project. 

I can think of no lawyer who better represents the ideal of what a lawyer can and should be – a contributor to the private bar and business community, and a dedicated public servant. Speaking with Karen for this podcast was an absolute delight for me, and I hope you find her story as inspiring as I do.

You can find information about the American Bar Association's Center for Human Rights here, and information about the World Justice Project here.