Gretchen Van Ness

Self-employed at Gretchen Van Ness, Attorney at Law

Location
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts (Greater Boston Area)
Industry
Law Practice

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Gretchen Van Ness's Overview

Current
  • Self-employed at Gretchen Van Ness, Attorney at Law
Past
  • Staff Attorney at U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • Sole Practitioner at Gretchen Van Ness, Attorney at Law
  • Instructor, Legal Practice Skills Program at Suffolk University School of Law
  • Instructor at Harvard University Extension School
  • Litigation Associate at Shapiro, Grace & Haber
  • Special Law Clerk, U.S. District Court and U.S. Sentencing Commission at Judge A. David Mazzone
  • Law Clerk, First Circuit Court of Appeals at Senior Judge Bailey Aldrich
  • Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts at Senior Judge Andrew A. Caffrey
  • Evening Reference Librarian at Boston College Law Library
  • Head Reference Librarian at Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle
Education
  • Boston College Law School
  • Wilson College
Connections

49 connections

Gretchen Van Ness' Experience

Self-employed

Gretchen Van Ness, Attorney at Law

2013Present (1 year)

Staff Attorney

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

20052013 (8 years) Boston, MA

Assisted in all matters before the court, including direct appeals, interlocutory appeals, bail appeals, administrative appeals, habeas corpus petitions from state and federal prisoners, and immigration appeals. Researched and drafted memoranda for three-judge panels and single judge matters; drafted orders, judgments, and per curiam decisions for approval and issuance by the court.

Sole Practitioner

Gretchen Van Ness, Attorney at Law

19922005 (13 years) Boston, MA

General practice emphasizing employment discrimination and civil rights, appellate advocacy, legal protections for nontraditional couples and families, nonprofit and small business advising, and general litigation.

Notable cases: Hurley v. Irish-American Gay Lesbian & Bi-Sexual Group of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995); Wright v. CompUSA, Inc., 352 F.3d 472 (1st Cir. 2003); A.Z. v. B.Z., 431 Mass. 150 (2000); Donaldson v. Farrakhan, 436 Mass. 94 (2002); Jackson v. Atlantic Monthly, MCAD Docket No. 02-BEM-448 (2002); Saunders v. Jeff’s Taxi, MCAD Docket No. 00-14-1715 (2000).

Notable clients: Massachusetts Medical Society, Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, Bay Village Neighborhood Association, Socialist Workers Party (ballot access), JP Licks, Dr. Mary Daly, Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry.

Extensive experience in the state and federal courts in Massachusetts, as well as administrative agencies including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Employment and Training, the Boston and Cambridge Housing Courts, the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission, and others. Served as local counsel for law firms in California, Texas, Florida, and Maine. Selected for attorney referral panels of the American Association of University Professors and the American Association of University Women.

Instructor, Legal Practice Skills Program

Suffolk University School of Law

September 1996May 1997 (9 months) Boston, MA

Instructor

Harvard University Extension School

19931996 (3 years) Cambridge, MA

Litigation Associate

Shapiro, Grace & Haber

19911992 (1 year) Boston, MA

General plaintiff's litigation practice, focusing on securities fraud, class actions, employment discrimination, and personal injury cases.

Special Law Clerk, U.S. District Court and U.S. Sentencing Commission

Judge A. David Mazzone

19901991 (1 year) Boston, MA and Washington, D.C.

Law Clerk, First Circuit Court of Appeals

Senior Judge Bailey Aldrich

19891990 (1 year) Boston, MA

Law Clerk, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Senior Judge Andrew A. Caffrey

19881989 (1 year) Boston, MA

Evening Reference Librarian

Boston College Law Library

19851988 (3 years) Newton, MA

Head Reference Librarian

Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle

19811985 (4 years) Rochester, NY

Gretchen Van Ness' Skills & Expertise

  1. Social Justice
  2. Public Speaking
  3. Writing
  4. Nonprofits
  5. Governance
  6. Legal Advice
  7. Organizational Leadership
  8. Strategic Planning
  9. Professional Ethics

Gretchen Van Ness' Honors and Awards

  • Commencement Speaker

    Wilson College
    • 2009
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyer

    Boston Magazine and Law & Politics
    • 2005
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyer

    Boston Magazine and Law & Politics
    • 2004
  • Best of Boston Employment Attorney

    Boston Magazine
    • 2002
  • Everitt-Pomeroy Trustee

    Wilson College
    • 2010
  • Outstanding Volunteer Award

    Wilson College
    • 2006
  • Young Alumna of the Year

    Wilson College
    • 2001
  • Sherman F. Levey Distinguished Lawyer

    Syracuse University School of Law
    • 2001
  • AV Rating

    Martindale-Hubbell
    • 2014

Gretchen Van Ness' Publications

Gretchen Van Ness' Organizations

  • Wilson College Women

    Founder/Steering Committee Member
    • 2013 to Present

    In collaboration with multi-generational group of alumnae located in the U.S. and abroad, develop and execute legal and fundraising strategies to reverse the decision to make Wilson College, a historically women’s college, coeducational. Participate in core group strategizing; serve as media spokesperson; manage relationship with professional public relations firm; assist in keeping social media sites current. Represent alumnae and supports before the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

  • Hyde/Jackson Main Street

    President, Treasurer, Board Member
    • 2011 to Present

    Volunteer of the Year Award, 2014.

  • Commission on Shaping the Future of Wilson College

    Member
    • 2012 to 2012
  • Board of Trustees of Wilson College

    Vice Chair, Co-Chair of Governance Committee; Chair of Enrollment and Student Life Committee
    • 2001 to 2010
  • Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts

    President
    • 1997 to 2005

    Board Member; Treasurer; President-Elect; Program Coordinator; Annual Gala Co-Chair; Same-Sex Marriage Task Force Leader.

  • Gender Equality Advisory Committee of the Trial Courts of Massachusetts

    Member
    • 2003 to 2005
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

    Member, Board of Directors
    • 1997 to 2000
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

    Member, Board of Directors
    • 1995 to 1997
  • Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

    Cooperating Attorney
    • 1993 to 1995
  • Boston Bar Journal

    Member, Board of Editors
    • 1992 to 1996
  • Battered Women's Clemency Project

    Volunteer
    • 1992 to 1992
  • Massachusetts Bar Association

    Mock Trial Program
    • 1988 to 1989

Gretchen Van Ness' Education

Boston College Law School

Doctor of Law (JD)

19851988

Grade: Cum Laude

Activities and Societies: Editor-in-Chief, Boston College Law Review; Steering Committee Member, Women's Law Center; Founding Member, Coalition for Human Dignity; Teaching Assistant to Comparative Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon; Teaching Assistant to Constitutional Law Professor Arthur Berney.

Wilson College

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), History and English; Philosophy

19761980

Grade: Magna Cum Laude

Activities and Societies: Phi Beta Kappa; Honors in History and English; Senior Class Prize; President, Wilson College Government Association; Yearbook photographer.

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