Justice Fernande (Nan) R.V. Duffly served as an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until her retirement in July, 2016. Prior to her appointment to the SJC in 2011, Justice Duffly served for 8 years as associate justice the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, and for 11 years as associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. She is a member and past President of the National Association of Women Judges, and served as NAWJ’s delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. As a member of the ABA, Justice Duffly served as a Commissioner on the Commission on Women in the Profession and the Hispanic Legal Rights Commission, and was active in the Minority Caucus.
A 1978 graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was Executive Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Justice Duffly became the first female litigation partner and the first partner of color at Warner & Stackpole (now K&L Gates), litigating cases on behalf of private and pro se clients in both State and Federal Courts. Throughout her career as a lawyer and a judge, Justice Duffly sought to promote equal access to justice and a diverse legal profession. As an attorney, Justice Duffly served on numerous boards and committees, including Greater Boston Legal Services’ Executive Board of Directors; the Boston Bar Association’s committees on pro se litigation and attorney volunteerism; the Volunteer Lawyers Project; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and the Probate and Family Court’s committee on pro se access to the courts. She currently serves on the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, the ABA Council of the section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, and the advisory board of the Women’s Power Summit.
Included among the numerous organizations that have recognized Justice Duffly for her contributions are the American Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges, Boston Bar Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association, National Asian Pacific Bar Association, and Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts.