Paul R. SugarmanPrincipal
Paul Sugarman, co-founder and principal, acts as a leader and mentor for the entire SUGARMAN team. He concentrates his practice in the areas of civil and appellate litigation. Widely recognized in the legal community for his outstanding achievements and distinguished service over a nearly 60-year career, he is often called upon to serve as a mediator for parties seeking dispute resolution and is a prolific writer and frequent lecturer.
Paul is known for representing clients in some of the most complex and high-profile cases in Massachusetts, including the 1978 representation of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court in proceedings before the full bench of the Supreme Judicial Court.
Paul has held leadership and executive positions in major legal associations in Massachusetts. He was President of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has chaired or co-chaired many association committees, including the Committee on Court Reform. He served as a member of the Board of Governors for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, was President of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers and is presently serving as a member of the Board of Governors.
Paul’s record of public service is equally distinguished. After finishing law school, Paul served three years in the Judge Advocate General Corps United States Army, achieving the rank of Captain. Later in his career, he was named a Trustee of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and President of the Boston University School of Law Alumni Association. He was appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court to the Board of Bar Overseers for a four-year term and served as its Chair for three of those years. Also, in 1990 the Supreme Judicial Court appointed Paul as Special Master and Commissioner to investigate alleged improprieties in the Boston Municipal Court.
From 1990 to 1994, he served as Dean and Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, rejoining SUGARMAN after his tenure there. He has numerous honors and awards, including an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Suffolk University, the Gold Medal Award from the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Civil Justice Award from the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Paul has over 25 appellate decisions to his name, including some of the seminal personal injury law decisions in Massachusetts.
J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1954
A.A., Boston University, 1951
Bar AdmissionMassachusetts, 1954
United States Court of Military Appeals, 1955
United States District Court, Massachusetts, 1958
Supreme Court of the United States, 1965
Boston Bar Association
Massachusetts Bar Association
American Bar Association
Massachusetts Association of Trial Attorneys
American Bar Foundation
Massachusetts Bar Foundation
American Association for Justice
American Judicature Society
American Society of Law and Medicine
Associate Editor Boston University Law Review
J. Newton Esdaile Award, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, 2002
American ORT Federation Jurisprudence Award, 1999
Civil Justice Award, American Board of Trial Advocates, 1993
Gold Medal Award, Massachusetts Bar Association, 1991
Silver Shingle Award, Boston University School of Law, 1989
Honorary L.L.D, Suffolk University, 1989
William O. Douglas First Amendment Freedom Award, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith, 1986
Who’s Who in American Law
Who’s Who in the World
Who’s Who in America
“The Best Lawyers of America”
“Massachusetts Super Lawyers”, Law and Politics, 2004-2014
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
Fellow, Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association
Fellow, International Society of Barristers
Advocate, American Board of Trial Advocates
Selected Appellate Decisions
Griffin v. General Motors Corp., 380 Mass. 362 (1980), Jury verdict against General Motors affirmed on appeal, in a case where an improperly designed car allowed fumes from the engine to enter the passenger compartment, explode, and severely burn the driver. The Supreme Judicial Court decided that the experiment performed by SUGARMAN lawyers to prove the faulty design could be used against General Motors.
Carey v. General Motors Corp., 37 Mass. 736 (1979), Following an automobile accident, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected General Motors’ appeal from a jury verdict that awarded damages to two occupants injured by the faulty design of a car in which they were riding. SUGARMAN lawyers successfully argued that there were three defects in the car, each of which would be sufficient to cause the crash on its own.
doCanto v. Ametek, Inc., 367 Mass. 776 (1975), The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a jury verdict to a SUGARMAN client for injuries caused by a defectively designed laundry machine. The case established precedent allowing into evidence safety changes made after the manufacture of the defective machine.
Diaz v. Eli Lilly & Co. 364 Mass. 153 (1973) and 14 Mass. App Ct. 448 (1982), In this landmark case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed with the arguments advanced by SUGARMAN attorneys and decided, for the first time, that a husband or wife has a claim for damages (loss of consortium) when their spouse is injured by negligence or wrongdoing.