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The Legacy of John F. Cogan, Leader in Boston Legal & Philanthropic Communities

John F Cogan

John F. Cogan at LSC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration. (Photo by Steve Gilbert.)

LSC mourns the loss of John F. “Jack” Cogan ‘52, longtime champion of the Legal Services Center, who passed away in late January at age 93.

Cogan, a Harvard Law graduate and former managing partner at Hale & Dorr (now WilmerHale) was known as much for his philanthropy as he was for his accomplishments as an attorney. In addition to supporting various Boston-area arts and health care organizations, Cogan was a stalwart supporter of legal services. Along with other Harvard Law alumni at Hale & Dorr, Cogan provided significant support to LSC and was instrumental in the effort to establish a permanent home for LSC in Jamaica Plain. LSC honored Cogan with the WilmerHale Champion of Justice Legacy Award at its 40th Anniversary in April 2019.

Cogan was revered by colleagues and friends alike for his generosity and his dedication to using his knowledge and resources to support others, mentoring countless attorneys throughout his long career. He was especially dedicated to supporting aspiring attorneys at his alma mater, and believed deeply in the potential for Harvard Law School graduates to make a positive difference in the world. Cogan described working in the law as a constant learning process, saying “…there’s a certain humbling in practice. You can be involved in a problem and think you understand all four corners of it. Then sometimes in further discussions someone will make a point that makes you realize you’ve missed something.”

At LSC, we are proud to carry on this tradition and Jack’s dedication to service and learning.

Daniel Nagin, Faculty Director of the Legal Services Center and Vice Dean for Experiential and Clinical Education at Harvard Law School, expressed his appreciation for Cogan, saying, “While we are saddened to learn of Jack’s passing, we are filled with gratitude for his support for LSC over so many years. Our thoughts are with Jack’s family, friends, and colleagues.”

Read Harvard Law School’s tribute to Cogan here.