Nancy Gertner

"One of “The Most Influential Lawyers of the Past 25 Years”

Nancy Gertner is a former U.S. federal judge who built her career around standing up for women’s rights, civil liberties and justice for all. Gertner was appointed to the federal bench of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts by President Bill Clinton in 1994. She retired from the bench in 2011 to teach at Harvard Law School.

Named one of “The Most Influential Lawyers of the Past 25 Years” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Gertner has written and spoken throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. She has published widely on sentencing, discrimination, and forensic evidence; women’s rights; and the jury system. Her autobiography, “In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate,” was published in 2011.

She is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and holds a M.A in Political Science and J.D. from Yale University. She has received numerous awards, including the Margaret Brent Award from the ABA commission on the status of Women, Massachusetts Bar Association’s Hennessey Award for judicial excellence in 2011; the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award from Colby College in 2010; the National Association of Women Lawyers’ highest honor, the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award, in 2011,The Women's Bar Association's highest award, The Lelia Robinson Award, in 2012, and, in 2008, the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, which recognized her contributions to advancing human rights and civil liberties. The Marshall award has been given to on other woman, Justice Ruth Ginsburg. 

In November, she gave the Pope and John lecture at Northwestern University. In October, she was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy; In September she gave the keynote address at the 18th Anniversary Celebration of the Jewish Women’s archive (September 14, 2014) .