It is with a very heavy heart that we report that our dear friend and beloved colleague Charley Kindregan passed away on April 19.
Professor Kindregan, who taught at the school for nearly 50 years, "has had a deep, and lasting impact on our community, mentoring so many students as well as junior faculty and shaping our nationally known clinical program," said Dean Andrew Perlman. "For generations, new faculty were advised to seek out Charley for his guidance and wisdom. He set the standard for a law professor: a beloved teacher and a nationally known scholar who was dedicated to serving the Law School, the profession, and his community. On top of it all, Charley was an incredibly kind, gracious, and generous person."
It's difficult to do justice to Professor Kindregan's expansive mind and visionary approach, said Maureen McBrien JD '03, who taught family law courses with Kindregan for 9 years. He was writing about cutting edge legal topics in the 1960s, she said, years before others began considering the complex impacts of reproductive technology on family law; he never shied away from controversial issues.
"He was a great friend to me and really launched my career," McBrien said. "He was so well-respected—even when people disagreed with him they always appreciated his intellect. He could converse with anyone. I've never met anyone as prolific in terms of his scholarship; his breadth of knowledge was incredibly expansive. We lost a mind that is irreplaceable—a bold thinker who could predict legal issues—what they were likely to mean in the future--before anyone else could even see them."
Suffolk Law Professor Karen Blum JD'74 took Professor Kindregan's Professional Responsibility class in the seventies and worked with Kindregan for decades. "He was a classic. A true gentleman who managed to say what needed saying, even when it was difficult, without raising his voice. When he spoke, people listened."
"He wasn't a person who had to speak at every faculty meeting. He wasn't trying to impress you with his knowledge or scholarship; you always ended up hearing about his incredible work indirectly. And he was writing about topics others weren't thinking about; he was a visionary."
Clinical Professor Maritza Karmely, who taught Family Law with Kindregan, described him as "effusive, positive, upbeat."
"I worked with him on the Kindregan Research Scholarship. It was critical to him that students had a chance to do research and write about family law, and the scholarship allowed that to happen. Even when he wasn't healthy, he wanted to keep teaching because teaching for him was a life-force—and it went both ways, with the students feeding off his energy."
At times when she wondered whether her scholarly work was worthwhile, Kindregan boosted her conviction, Karmely said. "Having someone with such incredible knowledge, a preeminent thinker in family law say: ‘This is important work, this is worthy of your time' was incredibly heartening. It made me feel that my work had meaning."
In the early 2000s, Kindregan headed up the committee that was rethinking the school's clinical programs. Former Suffolk Law Dean Robert Smith described Kindregan as "the architect of the clinical programs as we know them today." Smith explained that because Kindregan carried so much respect with the faculty, it made sense to ask him to lead the committee.
His aspirations for what a clinical program could be—practical, challenging, in the trenches, high impact, taught by topnotch faculty leaders integrated into the school's decision making—laid the groundwork for the highly ranked clinical programs of the last decade, Smith said.
"Charley also played the key role in building the Advanced Legal Studies program," Smith said. "It was important to him that judges and practitioners had a place to gather to discuss the challenging issues facing them. He wanted the school to have an impact on all stages of the legal process: legislation, counseling clients, litigation and adjudication, and he made that a reality."
Suffolk Law Associate Dean Ilene Seidman said she "could not think of anyone as universally beloved." "When I started working in the family law clinic in 2002 and I asked students why they were interested in family law, the answer was that they had taken Charley's class. He was the inspiration and has been year after year."