John M. GreaneyCounsel
Justice John Greaney is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, Appellate Practice Group and Schools, Colleges and Universities Practice Group. As Counsel, Justice Greaney contributes his extensive experience as a lawyer and a judge in a range of areas, including trial and appellate practice and professional responsibility.
Justice Greaney began his work as a lawyer in the Springfield firm of Ely and King before his first appointment, in 1974, to the Hampden County Housing Court. In 1976, he was appointed to the Superior Court, followed by an appointment to the Appeals Court in 1978, where he became Chief Justice in 1984. Justice Greaney was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in 1989 and served until 2008.
Justice Greaney participated in several landmark cases while serving on the Supreme Judicial Court, among them Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, where he wrote the concurring opinion establishing Massachusetts as the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Other important opinions include a 1993 decision upholding the adoption of a child by same-sex cohabitants, a 1997 decision in the Benefit v. City of Cambridge case, affirming the unconstitutionality of a statute prohibiting panhandling, a 2003 decision in the First Justice case addressing, on separation of powers principles, the constitutionality of statutes governing court clerks and probation officers, and a 2007 decision in the Murphy v Boston Herald case, affirming a judgment based on the Boston Herald’s defamation of a judge.
After the Supreme Judicial Court, Justice Greaney joined the faculty of Suffolk University Law School, served as director of the Macaronis Institute for Trial and Appellate Advocacy and taught Constitutional Law, Criminal law and Appellate Advocacy.