It is with heavy hearts that we announce that on July 30, 2015, the Massachusetts legal community, and the MBLA, in particular, lost a great lawyer and champion of diversity, Roscoe Trimmier, Jr. “All of us, each and every one of us, stand on Roscoe’s shoulders,” says Former First Lady of the Commonwealth, Co-Managing Partner of the Boston office of Ropes & Gray and a recipient of the MBLA 2015 Trailblazer Award, Diane B. Patrick. We couldn’t agree more!
A product of the segregated South, Mr. Trimmier defied all odds and became a distinguished trial lawyer who prevailed in numerous matters of lasting significance, Ropes & Gray’s first African-American partner, and a mentor to countless young attorneys. Abim Thomas, a former Ropes & Gray associate, currently Counsel at Goodwin Procter LLP and past President of the MBLA, notes that, “He was one of the first people to greet me when I arrived at the firm. As the chair of the litigation department, he was a great leader of the department and a great mentor to me personally. He also mentored countless other young attorneys at the firm. His thoughtful and caring approach will be missed.”
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Mr. Trimmier joined Ropes & Gray in 1974 and remained with the firm until his retirement in 2009. In addition to serving as chair of the litigation department, Mr. Trimmier was also the head of the environmental practice group and a member of the hiring committee and the associates committee. He was an accomplished trial lawyer involved in a variety of litigation matters for corporate clients, utilities, high-technology entities and governmental authorities in state and federal courts. In addition, Mr. Trimmier was an early leader in diversity efforts and was one of the founding members of the Boston Law Firm Group, now known as The Boston Lawyers Group.
Mr. Trimmier was honored with many awards during his career, including The Best Lawyers in America, Massachusetts Super Lawyers, and he was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He served as chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary and vice chair of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, and was a member of the MBLA and the Boston Bar Association, among others. In 2010, the MBLA honored Mr. Trimmier with its annual Trailblazer Award.
In a recent Boston Globe article, Wayne Budd, the first African-American US attorney in Massachusetts, past President of the MBLA and now Senior Counsel at Goodwin Procter LLP, said that “Roscoe has left behind multiple legacies. Roscoe was really highly regarded as a truly outstanding litigator, and was highly respected by the bar for his accomplishments as a lawyer. He also went beyond what he did for his own career with what he did for others in their careers. He served as a mentor and a door-opener to so many of the young lawyers.”
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” Roscoe Trimmier, Jr. personified these words by the late great Maya Angelou and will truly be missed by many.
A memorial service for Mr. Trimmier will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Roscoe Trimmier Fund at the Boston Foundation, 75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116, www.tbf.org.