Rya W. Zobel

Captain, Duchess of York, Gardener.  Judge Zobel has served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts since 1979.  A graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School, Judge Zobel began her legal career as a law clerk to Chief Judge George C. Sweeney of the Massachusetts federal court.  Judge Zobel was associated with the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow and then Goodwin, Procter & Hoar where she was elevated to partner before her judicial appointment.  From 1995 to 1999, Judge Zobel served as Director of the Federal Judicial Center.  In addition, Judge Zobel served as Chair of the Advisory Board of the International Judicial Academy and a Member of the Rule of Law Advisory Committee for the National Committee on U.S./China Relations.  Judge Zobel has served as an Overseer of Harvard University, Trustee of the New England Deaconess Hospital (later Pathway), Director of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and Governor of the Handel & Haydn Society.  Judge Zobel is the recipient of a number of awards including an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Regis College, Salem State College and Colby College.  Apropos to the topic for discussion in this program, from 2000 to 2002, Judge Zobel served as an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy and Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where she taught “The Judiciary:  Policy, Governance and Inter-Branch Relations.”  In 2006, Judge Zobel graced the Shakespeare and the Law stage with her portrayal of Marc Antony in Julius Caesar and has since appeared in Measure for Measure, King Lear (as the fool), and Othello (as Emelia).  She began her career on stage in a brother-sister dance act, performing annually Bruederchan, komm tanz mit mir (roughly translated, Come little brother and dance with me).  More recently, Judge Zobel designed and made costumes for Cohasset Dramatic Club productions including The Lady is Not for Burning, and appeared as the female lead in their production of The Marriage-Go-Round.  Judge Zobel saves her greatest performances for the bench.