Ralph Gants

Ralph D. Gants is the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick appointed him to the Supreme Judicial Court in January 2009 as an associate justice. In 2014, Governor Patrick appointed him the 37th chief justice. In 1997, Governor William Weld appointed him as an associate justice of the Superior Court.

After graduation from law school, Gants served as law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Eugene H. Nickerson. From 1981-1983, he was special assistant to Judge William H. Webster, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1983, he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, serving as chief of the Public Corruption Division from 1988-1991. In 1991, he joined the Boston law firm formerly known as Palmer & Dodge LLP, becoming a partner in 1994.

He has taught courses in advanced criminal procedure, balancing liberty and security, white-collar prosecution and defense, civil trial practice, and civil motions practice at Harvard Law School, New England School of Law and Northeastern University School of Law. In 2012, he was awarded the Boston Bar Association Citation of Judicial Excellence and the Suffolk Law School Public Service Award. He served as co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission from 2010-2015, and chaired the Standing Committee that revised the Model Jury Instructions on Homicide in 2013.

He received a BA from Harvard College in 1976, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. The following year he completed a diploma in criminology at Cambridge University in England. In 1980, he received a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was note editor of the Harvard Law Review.