Commonwealth Commentary Featuring Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins

District Attorney Rachael Rollins is the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Massachusetts, and oversees an office of about 300 people handling about 25,000 new cases each year. She took office on Jan. 2, 2019, as Suffolk County’s 16th district attorney, the first woman to be elected to that position in Suffolk County history, and the first woman of color ever to serve as a Massachusetts district attorney.

An attorney for 20 years with degrees from Northeastern University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center, District Attorney Rollins has served as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston, safeguarding employees’ rights; as an attorney with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, handling first amendment, labor and employment, complex civil litigation, and criminal defense matters; and participated in a rotation as a special assistant district attorney in the busy Brockton District Court.

Beginning in 2007, District Attorney Rollins served as an assistant United States attorney with the US Attorney’s office in Boston, handling cases that included fraud, employment discrimination, sexual violence, child abuse, gun trafficking, narcotics, and public integrity matters. In 2011, she was selected by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration as the first person of color to serve as the General Counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Six months later, the MassDOT board of directors voted her in as the first female general counsel of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. During her time at MassDOT and the MBTA, District Attorney Rollins led and managed over 150 people in both agencies’ legal departments and audit departments, the claims department, parts of both HR functions, labor functions, and personally handled the high level negotiations for the conversion to All Electronic Tolling and the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights. In 2013, District Attorney Rollins was recruited to become the chief legal counsel of the Massachusetts Port Authority, reporting directly to CEO Tom Glynn and the Massport board of directors.

In 2018, the people of Suffolk County chose District Attorney Rollins to represent them as their district attorney – and to effect meaningful, substantive change and reform to the criminal justice system. She pledged to pursue that mission tirelessly by reducing incarceration, correcting racial and ethnic disparities, adopting alternatives to traditional prosecution, and improving relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.