Issue June 2013

Kate Cook's rise to chief legal counsel

On Jan. 4, 2013, Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced senior staff appointments on the eve of a new legislative session. Among the appointments, attorney Kate Cook was named the governor's chief legal counsel.

"Serving as the governor's chief legal counsel is a dream job for me," Cook said. "I am extremely honored and proud to serve the governor in this unique capacity."

Widely reported as the first woman to hold the high-ranking position of chief legal counsel in a Massachusetts governor's office, Cook has served the Patrick administration for more than five years, first as deputy legal counsel, then as the director of Policy and Cabinet Affairs and now as its chief attorney.

"I am continually inspired by the governor's compassion, integrity and intelligence," Cook said. "When it comes to those core principles lawyers embrace - equality, civil rights, civil liberties and doing the right thing - the governor is the real deal. He is such an inspiration and it's contagious for all of us lucky enough to work on his team."

MBA honors best at annual dinner

As scores of Massachusetts Bar Association members filled the Westin Boston Waterfront ballroom for a night of festivities and to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers, attendants also recognized this event as a time to encourage the future good work of others. The dinner, taking place just three weeks following the Boston Marathon bombings, began with a moment of silence.

"Let us reflect and remember ... the four who lost their lives in the senseless, tragic events involving the Boston Marathon" said MBA President Robert L. Holloway Jr. at the start of the annual dinner.

While the evening was dedicated to honoring the best in the local legal community, there was no denying the lingering presence of recent terrorist attacks on the city of Boston. The evening's distinguished keynote speaker, Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick, was proof of that.

Reminiscing

As I write this column, many young people and their families are participating in graduation events, the wedding season is upon us, and college and other reunions are commencing, including my 45th college reunion. Even fictional folks are having reunions: Garry Trudeau has assembled his "Doonesbury" characters for their reunion. I am looking forward to my real one.

Several weeks ago I was honored to play piano at the wedding of the daughter of friends, a young woman who played youth soccer for me 20 years ago. The wedding and reception were at MIT, where the bride works. As a thank you, the bride and groom gave me a too generous but very thoughtful gift certificate. When I received this gift certificate, I happened to be thinking about my upcoming reunion. I also was in the process of deciding whether to have a particular watch of mine repaired, a diving watch I have no objective need for, being one of several watches I own because of a fondness for gadgets generally and watches in particular. However memory banks work, mine then clicked to a long-time friend who died a few years ago.

He was a college classmate, fraternity brother and sports teammate. He was a first-rate athlete (an all-state quarterback), first-rate intellect and a superb storyteller. He became a lawyer and, after clerking for a federal judge, worked on Wall Street for a while, thereafter becoming a headhunter. He ultimately landed in academia at a major law school as an assistant dean. For a variety of reasons, he decided to extricate himself  from everything to do with the legal profession and moved to the Virgin Islands, where he became a professional diver and instructor. He returned to the states, and a few years ago I got a call from another fraternity brother who reported that our good friend had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. This was in January and a few months later he was gone. He was as full of life as anyone I ever have known and I confess that his death hit me pretty hard.