Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun has appointed Ralph Martin, JD ’78, to be the University’s senior vice president and general counsel. A highly accomplished attorney and civic leader with more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors, Martin will lead a broad portfolio of legal, regulatory and non-legal responsibilities.
“Ralph Martin brings a unique and powerful combination of strengths to Northeastern,” said President Aoun. “He has a penetrating legal mind, experience as a leader, and a commitment to civic engagement. As the university expands globally, we remain deeply connected to our surrounding communities. Ralph’s many skills will be tremendous assets on this exciting journey.”
Currently the managing partner of the Boston office of Bingham McCutchen LLP, Martin will manage a broad range of legal issues that typically come before a major research university. He will also oversee additional university priorities such as community affairs, master planning, compliance and risk management, and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.
“Northeastern represents many of the ideals I have spent a lifetime promoting: education, civic engagement, and leadership,” said Martin. “As a longtime member of the Northeastern community, I have watched the university transform itself from a local institution into a global enterprise. I look forward to working with President Aoun and the senior leadership team to take Northeastern to even greater heights.”
Martin is an accomplished trial lawyer and prosecutor with extensive experience in regulatory affairs, white collar investigations, corporate law and general civil litigation. Before joining Bingham, where he is co-chair of the firm’s National Diversity Committee, Martin served as the first African-American district attorney in the history of Suffolk County. His work as a prosecutor was recognized by former President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Janet Reno.
“As a partner at Bingham, Ralph has contributed a great deal to our firm, locally and nationally,” said Chairman Jay S. Zimmerman. “I am not surprised that Northeastern approached him, and given Ralph’s broad array of legal, business and civic interests, it is a great fit for both Northeastern and Ralph. We will miss him and we wish him success.”
Beyond his many professional accomplishments, Martin is very active in the civic life of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is a former chair of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of Children’s Hospital Boston and BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts. He is also member of the Boston Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, a Life Member of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers’ Association, and the New York State Bar Association. He serves as chairman of the Supreme Judicial Court’s Court Management Advisory Board, which advises the court’s justices on administration and management.
Martin will work closely with Vincent Lembo, BA ’73 JD ’76, who has served as University Counsel for more than 25 years. Lembo will continue to play a critical role at the university, as vice president senior counsel within the General Counsel’s office and as a top adviser to President Aoun. Lembo will also continue to be secretary to the University’s Board of Trustees.
In addition to earning his law degree from Northeastern, Martin earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, where he also served as a member of the Board of Trustees.
A member of the Northeastern Board of Trustees since 2009, Martin will resign from the Board before assuming his new position in March.