Boston University School of Law

Professor David Meier (’81) receives Gerard D. Downing Award


Previously deemed Lawyer of the Year, Prosecutor of the Year, and a Paul R. McLaughlin Award for a Career Marked by Courage in the Pursuit of Justice recipient, David Meier (’81) was a shoe-in for the Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award. The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance bestowed Meier the award at the 2008 Victims Rights Conference on April 30, at the State House in Boston.

“Together with the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and many others, I was honored to attend the 2008 Victims Rights Conference at the Massachusetts State House and to receive the award that day. It was truly a memorable event and a privilege to be among several hundred crime survivors and victims right advocates,” says Meier.

The Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award was instituted in memory of Gerry Downing, who was the longest serving member on the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) Victim and Witness Assistance Board. “I was fortunate to know Gerry Downing personally and professionally. As a prosecutor and as a person, he was a giant among giants. His legacy lives on through his family, his children, and awards such as this,” says Meier.

According to MOVA, the award is designated for “leaders in public or private agencies who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to advancing the rights of crime victims and is recognized as such by his/her colleagues for their efforts on behalf of victims/survivors.”

MOVA has been working as an independent state agency to promote victims' rights since 1984. According to the organization, “The activities of MOVA are governed by the Victim and Witness Assistance Board, whose chair is the Attorney General. The other four Board members, which include two district attorneys and two crime victims, work together with the Attorney General and the MOVA staff to set policy for crime victim issues in the Commonwealth.”

As a trial prosecutor, Meier has been working on behalf of victims’ rights for nearly twenty years. Throughout the years, “One victim or one family was never more important than any other; each case was equally tragic. It was never about wins or losses; it was about doing everything we could -- as lawyers and as human beings -- to bring some sense of justice, however slight, to a victim's family,” says Meier.

In March 2008, Meier joined Todd & Weld LLP in Boston, where he specializes in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. Before joining the firm, Meier served as the chief of the Homicide Unit at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office since 1996. As chief, Meier both supervised the investigation and prosecution of homicides and tried many high-profile murder cases. As the assistant district attorney with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office in Cambridge, Meier gained experience advocating for victims' rights while prosecuting homicides, sexual assaults and violent crimes.

In addition to practicing at Todd & Weld LLP, Meier is an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law. Since 2000, Meier has brought his passion for criminal defense to the law school, lecturing as a criminal trial attorney.

Reported by Lauren Shiraka