North­eastern Uni­ver­sity alumna Linda Stewart Dalianis was recently sworn in as chief jus­tice of the New Hamp­shire Supreme Court, and she credits a co-​​op posi­tion as the turning point that led to her dis­tin­guished law career.

While studying Eng­lish and jour­nalism at North­eastern in the late 1960s, Jus­tice Dalianis, LA’70, worked at the Nashua, N.H.-based com­pany Sanders Asso­ciates (now part of BAE Sys­tems), as the editor of its employee news­paper. She often inter­acted with the company’s top offi­cials, including the legal counsel. At the same time, seeing her father being helped by an attorney caught her attention.

Jus­tice Dalianis recalls thinking a law career could allow her to help others in much the same way her father had been helped, while also pro­viding finan­cial inde­pen­dence and allowing her to chart a course few women had yet trav­eled. Through a con­nec­tion at her co-​​op, Jus­tice Dalianis landed a job at a Boston law firm, which set her on the legal track.

I credit North­eastern not only with giving me good work expe­ri­ence,” Jus­tice Dalianis said, “but also for pro­viding me with the net­work that laid the ground­work for where I am now.”

After working for six years in pri­vate prac­tice fol­lowing law school, she became an asso­ciate jus­tice in the New Hamp­shire Supe­rior Court system in 1980, and later served as the court’s chief jus­tice. In 2000, she was ele­vated to an asso­ciate jus­tice on the Supreme Court, and in December, she was sworn in as chief jus­tice of New Hampshire’s highest court.

Jus­tice Dalianis is the first woman to have served at all four judi­cial levels in New Hamp­shire, and said she was acutely aware of her respon­si­bility to work hard and suc­ceed in order for other women to follow her lead.

My pro­gres­sion is my proudest achieve­ment,” she said.

Jus­tice Dalianis is the latest North­eastern grad­uate to ascend to a state’s highest judi­cial posi­tion. Rod­erick Ire­land, PhD’98, H’98, was con­firmed as chief jus­tice of the Mass­a­chu­setts Supreme Judi­cial Court in December, becoming the first African Amer­ican to hold the position.

Margot Bots­ford, JD’73, also serves as an asso­ciate jus­tice on the Mass­a­chu­setts Supreme Judi­cial Court.