A former high-profile defense attorney now teaching at Plymouth State University has been honored by the National Crime Victims Bar Association for his longtime work advocating for crime victims. Roderick MacLeish was one of New England’s top trial lawyers, taking on and winning many high-profile cases, including the sex abuse case against Boston’s Catholic archdiocese that drew world-wide attention. Now a visiting assistant professor teaching criminal justice courses at PSU, MacLeish recently received the Frank Carrington “Champion of Justice” Award for outstanding advocacy from the National Crime Victims Bar Association (NCVBA) at their annual conference in Chicago. The NCVBA award cites MacLeish’s dogged pursuit of the truth in his work.
“MacLeish was at the forefront in calling public attention to the clergy abuse scandal within Boston’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese and represented hundreds of victims who gained settlements from the church for the abuse they suffered,” according to the NCVBA. “His deposition of Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the first deposition of a sitting Cardinal, was widely reported in the media and brought about a greater national awareness of the seriousness and extent of the clergy sex abuse.”
“It was an incredible honor to be recognized by my peers for representing so many victims of violent crimes, particularly sexual abuse ,” said MacLeish.
The NCVBA also noted MacLeish’s work in creating the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund, which has raised millions of dollars which have been distributed to the family members of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“Two of the airplanes which were part of the 9/11 attack left from Boston and there were approximately 200 families in the New England area. We created a charity that provided everything from financial assistance to psychological services for the families,” said MacLeish.
MacLeish stopped practicing law full-time in 2004 but is still affiliated with his old law firm. MacLeish moved to Waterville Valley and began teaching at PSU two years ago; he also serves as a legal commentator for New England Cable News.
Dr. Julie Bernier, PSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said MacLeish’s experience and expertise serves his students well.
“Plymouth State University students have been the beneficiary of Eric’s decision to step back from fulltime practice and devote time to teaching,” said Bernier. “I’m so pleased to see Eric recognized is this way. He is certainly most deserving of this honor.”
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes