Stonehill Alum is Mass Lawyer of the Year
June 23, 2010
Ted Riordan entered Stonehill in 1983 as an undeclared freshman.
The philosophy classes he took at the College changed him.
"I liked the big picture of the world that was presented by philosophy - how we function in society, how we interact... So I decided to go to law school," Riordan said.
When Riordan graduated cum laude in 1987 with a degree in Math and Computer Science and a minor in Philosophy, he headed straight to Suffolk University Law School.
He graduated cum laude from Suffolk in 1990 and worked as a lawclerk at the Rhode Island Supreme Court and as an attorney for Liberty Mutual Insurance before starting his private practice.
Today, Riordan is a partner with his wife Deborah Bates Riordan at Bates & Riordan, LLP- a general law practice in Quincy, Mass. with a focus on personal injury law, business litigation and appeals.
An active alumnus, Riordan recently completed a second term of the Alumni Council. He was named the 2009 Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly.
"I was flattered, surprised, and grateful; I wasn't aware I was being considered," Riordan said. "Lawyer's Weekly is the publication for lawyers in Massachusetts. Every lawyer in Massachusetts reads it. So I was shocked."
Riordan said the publication made its decision based on a state-wide review of lawyers, cases and happenings in the legal field.
Riordan was honored as 2009 Lawyer of the Year because of his difficult work as an appeal lawyer for a man convicted of child rape in 1997.
"It's one of those cases where the defendant was convicted of a horrible, horrible crime and he served a serious prison sentence for it. It's not something he should be proud of. But the bottom line is that we have a Constitution in this country, and we have core commands that are intended to apply to even the worst criminals in society. That's what we had a revolution for," Riordan said.
In 2007, a judge ordered the offender to wear a GPS bracelet, because of a 2006 state law requiring monitoring of all convicted sex offenders on probation.
Riordan served his client by proving it was an ex-post facto, or retroactive, punishment.
Riordan acknowledges that people typically have no sympathy for sex offenders, and want the most severe punishment possible-but "that's going down a slippery slope," he said. "The Constitution protects everyone, regardless of the crime charged."
"I had no reservations at all about taking this case," he said.
"I was honored to be in a position of defending the Constitution. John Adams took (defended) the soldiers who were being charged for the Boston Massacre. You can just imagine the social pressure he felt not to represent them. But that's what the law is all about - a fair trial."
Riordan said Stonehill helped prepare him for law school and the world of litigation.
"Stonehill was excellent preparation. Most importantly, it gave me good studying skills; I learned how to be a serious student, how to prepare myself to tackle hard issues; I learned how to analyze a situation in a thoughtful way," he said.
Many Stonehill professors - past and present - stand out in Riordan's memory.
"Brother Rene Gaudreau, C.S.C. stands out as a significant professor as does Father Thomas Lockary, C.S.C., both now deceased; I had them for math.
"Ralph Bravaco (computer science), Richard Trudeau (math), Louise Hegerty (math), Peter Beisheim (religious studies), Mary Carrigg (English), Prof. Judith Sughrue (history), and the late Prof. Richard Mazziotta, C.S.C. (religious studies) were also major influences. Stonehill is the perfect sized school for developing a relationship with professors."
The most rewarding part of his job?
"If you represent a client successfully, it's rewarding. You face the challenge, and at the end of the day you helped someone out with their legal troubles," he said.
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