PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2020
Supreme Judicial Court Announces Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers Chief Bar Counsel
BOSTON, MA — The Supreme Judicial Court today announced that the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers recently named Rodney S. Dowell, Esq., as the Chief Bar Counsel, effective December 2, 2019. He fills the position following the retirement of Constance Vecchione, Esq.
The Board of Bar Overseers was established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 1974 as an independent administrative body to investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers. The activities of the board are governed by Supreme Judicial Court Rule 4:01 and the Rules of the Board of Bar Overseers.
A civil litigator, Attorney Dowell began his career as a litigation associate with the Denver, Colorado firm, Holland and Hart. In 1995, he joined the Boston law firm of Posternak, Blankstein & Lund. In 1998, Attorney Dowell was a founding partner at the litigation firm of Berman & Dowell where he focused on employment law, tort defense, including attorney malpractice, and insurance coverage. In 2007, he joined Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) and started its Law Office Management Assistance Program as the founding director. In 2011, Attorney Dowell assumed the leadership role within LCL as its Executive Director. Since 2017, he has worked full time on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Attorney Dowell has been an active leader in the solo and small firm and law practice sections of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association. He has served on the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism, the Supreme Judicial Court Working Group Regarding Online Publication of Lawyer Disciplinary Decisions, and currently serves as an advisor to the Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being. He is currently the Chair of the American Bar Association's Law Practice Division and is also a board member of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.
Attorney Dowell graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1985 and received his law degree from Cornell Law School in 1989. He and his wife, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, live in Melrose and have three sons. Active in his community, Attorney Dowell is a member of the Melrose Energy Commission and a member of the Advisory Board of the MGH Center for Law, Brain & Behavior.
The Board of Bar Overseers acts as an administrative tribunal to consider disciplinary charges brought by Bar Counsel. The Bar Counsel oversees investigation of matters involving alleged misconduct by lawyers; recommends to the BBO the institution of formal disciplinary proceedings; prosecutes disciplinary proceedings before hearing committees, special hearing officers, the BBO, and the Court; appears with full rights to participate as a party at reinstatement hearings; and maintains permanent records of matters presented to the Bar Counsel. With the concurrence of the BBO, the Bar Counsel hires Assistant Bar Counsel to whom he delegates duties or functions under his general supervision.
Although it is an official body subject to the supervision of the Supreme Judicial Court, no public funds are spent to support the BBO. The board's funding come solely from the annual registration fees paid by lawyers.
Board of Bar Overseers Members
Jeffrey R. Martin, Chair
Marianne C. LeBlanc, Vice Chair
Paula M. Bagger
Elisabeth O. DaSilva
April C. English
Frank E. Hill, III
Marsha V. Kazarosian
Francis P. Keough
David B. Krieger, M.D.
Ernest L. Sarason, Jr.
A. Clarissa Wright