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As expected, the Governor's Council yesterday confirmed Margaret H. Marshall's nomination to serve as Associate Justice of the State Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Marshall, who will be sworn in on October 31, will resign from her current post as Harvard's vice president and general counsel by the end of the month.
"I am saddened at the thought of leaving Harvard University, where my work as its general counsel has been both challenging and rewarding," Marshall said in a prepared statement.
Harvard Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs James H. Rowe III said Marshall's confirmation to the SJC allows Harvard to formally launch its search for her replacement.
Rowe said he expects a large number of candidates from across the nation to compete for Marshall's vacated post.
"It's arguably the most interesting legal job in the country," Rowe said. "It's an intellectual feast for an attorney because of the scope of the job."
"The President and Provost will have a group of very talented and credentialed individuals to choose from," he said.
Marshall has been Harvard's top litigator since she was appointed by President Neil L. Rudenstine in October 1992. As vice president, her responsibilities included directing a team of 11 attorneys and overseeing the Harvard University Police Department.
Upon the news of her confirmation, Marshall said she was grateful for and enthusiastic about "the opportunity to serve this Common-wealth," calling her confirmation "the highest professional honor."
"I'm thrilled for her, and I'm very sorry to see her leave the University, but it's a great opportunity for her and a great addition to the courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Allan A. Ryan, Jr., who has been a University attorney since 1985.
Ryan also said that Marshall will bring a "valuable perspective" to her new position.
"She's a very humane person. She knows the law very well, but she also never forgets that there are people involved....She's an extraordinarily hard worker and will bring a burst of energy to the Court," Ryan added.
Robert B. Donin, administrative coordinator of the general counsel, praised Marshall as well.
"In four years of working with Margie Marshall as a colleague, I have come to know her as a lawyer of extraordinary judgment and ability. She will serve the people of Massachusetts with distinction," he said.
Marshall's confirmation follows a final hearing at the State House last week before the eight-member Governor's Council.
Marshall and Governor William F. Weld '66 discussed her history and qualifications. Weld had nominated Marshall for the position in August.
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