Fall 2013| Posse Boston Quarterly


Federal Judge Inspires Scholars at Career Program Event

At a Career Program event this summer, the Honorable Patti B. Saris, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, spoke to Posse Boston Scholars and alumni about her career and the law.

A graduate of Radcliffe College with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, Judge Saris was appointed as a U.S. district judge for the District of Massachusetts by President Clinton in 1994, and she became chief judge in 2013. President Obama nominated her as commissioner and chair of the United States Sentencing Commission in 2010.

“If you were the jury, what would you do?” asked Judge Saris as Scholars reviewed court cases and considered possible sentences.

Scholars’ responses to the same case—with recommendations ranging from probation to 20-year prison terms—highlighted sentencing discrepancies that Judge Saris has been working to minimize through her work with the United States Sentencing Commission.  Judge Saris also discussed her career path from private practice to assistant U.S. attorney for Massachusetts to federal judge, emphasizing the importance of persistence, hard work and relationship building.

“This event gave me a better understanding of the different career paths that one can take when going into law,” said Sarah Cesar, a senior at Centre College. “I also admire Judge Saris’ dedication to organizations such as Posse that promote education, leadership and growth."

Born and raised in Boston, Judge Saris gives back through her powerful advocacy for educational access. She is a trustee of the Cosette Charitable Fund, which supports higher education, human services, performing arts, and Jewish agencies and synagogues. The Cosette Charitable Fund has been a vital supporter of Posse Boston since 2002. 

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