Paul Finn '71President, Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc. & Stonehill Trustee
In September 2003, the media gathered outside One International Place in Boston. TV crews jockeyed with newspaper reporters, all awaiting word of the settlement between the Archdiocese of Boston and 542 plaintiffs in the sexual abuse scandal.
The two sides were gathered inside at the law offices of Ropes & Gray. Lead mediator Paul Finn '71, president of Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc. (CMCI) and a Stonehill Trustee, was ironing out final details in the $85 million settlement.
"That was probably the coolest thing I've done in my life," he told Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, which named him 2003 Lawyer of the Year for his work on the Archdiocesan settlement. He has also negotiated settlements in the Rev. James Porter sexual abuse scandal, the Rhode Island Station Nightclub fire and disputes over the Big Dig in Boston.
Two Careers in Law
A history major at Stonehill, Finn says he always wanted to be a lawyer, "from the first time I saw Perry Mason as a kid." He earned his J.D. from New England School of Law and opened a general law practice, Berks and Finn, in Brockton in 1977.
But as the years passed, Finn became disillusioned with the practice of law. Finn earned a master's degree in government from Harvard University in 1990 and considered teaching when he developed an interest in alternative dispute resolution.
"It's been around for hundreds of years, but only in the last 20 has it become a for-profit enterprise," he says. Over the last 17 years his company has settled more than 6,000 claims -- averaging more than one per day.
Learn more about Paul Finn '71
To learn more about Paul Finn '71, read the feature article published in the Summer/Fall 2008 Stonehill Alumni Magazine (.pdf).