We are saddened to announce that Marshall "Pete" Simonds, Retired Partner, died on October 1, 2008, at the age of 78, after suffering congestive heart failure. Pete was a renowned trial lawyer who, over a storied legal career spanning 45 years, helped build Goodwin Procter’s litigation practice into one of the most respected in New England. Pete is survived by his wife, Kate, of Morrisville, Vermont, and four children, sons Brad and Josh and stepdaughters Katharine and Wendell, as well as eight grandchildren.
A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Pete joined Goodwin Procter in 1955 and was named partner in 1965. He went on to chair the firm's Litigation Department, to serve on the Executive and Management Committees and to build the foundation of a trial training program that still serves the firm today.
A consummate litigator, Pete loved his work – the strategy, the competition and the oral advocacy. He was known for his gifts in the courtroom, where he was, according to those who saw him in action, without peer. He was an intimidating presence, both in terms of physical stature and in reputation, yet he always focused on persuading with logic and reason, including in his work as a firm leader and consensus-builder.
His courtroom skills earned him, and the firm, high-profile roles in prominent cases, like serving as General Counsel to the Massachusetts Crime Commission, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in the 1960s to investigate corruption in state and local government, or serving as Special Counsel to the Boston School Committee in the late 1970s, helping it respond to court orders in the difficult desegregation litigation. For decades, Pete represented many of the firm’s most important clients in significant and complex litigation in New England and throughout the country, including The Boston Company, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Philip Morris and many others.
His talents and capabilities were widely recognized outside Goodwin Procter’s walls as well, as he was selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the premier professional organization for trial lawyers, also serving as Massachusetts State Chairman for that organization.
Pete was one of the prime forces in articulating and delivering Goodwin Procter’s 75th Anniversary SEED (Support for Early Educational Development) grant to the Boston Public Schools. When bestowed in 1987, the $1 million gift was the first of its kind made by a law firm and was hailed as a model for corporate giving.
In addition to his work for and dedication to Goodwin Procter, Pete was devoted to the town of Carlisle, where he lived for many years and served as Town Moderator for more than three decades.
Away from work, Pete’s passion was his dogs. A long-time breeder of Labrador retrievers and closely involved with the American Kennel Club, Pete and Kate travelled extensively, running their Labs at trials throughout the Northeast.
We will dearly miss Pete, and extend our heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends.
Click here to view the obituary that appeared in the Times Argus: Vermont News on October 4, 2008.
A memorial celebration of the life of Pete Simonds will be held on:
Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 2 pm
27 School Street
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in memoriam to the AKC Canine Health Foundation, P.O. Box 900061, Raleigh, NC 27675-9061.