Bessie Dewar

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Bessie Dewar
Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Assumed office
January 16, 2024
Appointed byMaura Healey
Preceded byElspeth B. Cypher
Acting Attorney General of Massachusetts
In office
January 5, 2023 – January 18, 2023
GovernorMaura Healey
Preceded byKate R. Cook (acting)
Succeeded byAndrea Campbell
Personal details
Born (1980-07-04) July 4, 1980 (age 43)[1]
Political partyDemocratic
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Pembroke College, Cambridge (MPhil)
Yale University (JD)

Elizabeth Napier "Bessie" Dewar (born July 4, 1980) is an American lawyer who has served as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court since 2024. She previously served as the state solicitor of Massachusetts from 2016 to 2024. Prior to serving as the state solicitor, she had served as the assistant state solicitor under former state solicitor Peter Sacks.[2]


Dewar graduated from Harvard University earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Philosophy degree from Pembroke College, Cambridge and earned her Juris Doctor from Yale University. After law school, Dewar served as a law clerk at all three levels of the federal judiciary, starting with Louis H. Pollak of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, then William A. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and finally Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States.[2]


Dewar joined Ropes & Gray LLP working as an appellate and trial-level lawyer. She then became a civil rights advocate at the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia.[2]

Dewar served as the acting attorney general of Massachusetts after Maura Healey was sworn in as the Governor of Massachusetts at noon on January 5, 2023, taking the helm of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office from Kate R. Cook, until Andrea Campbell was sworn in on January 18, 2023.[3]

On December 8, 2023 Governor Maura Healey nominated Dewar to a seat on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to fill the vacancy left by the retitrement of Justice Elspeth B. Cypher.[4][5] A hearing on her nomination was held later that month and she was confirmed unanimously by the Massachusetts Governor's Council on January 10, 2024.[6][7][8] She was sworn in on January 16, 2024.[9]

Notable cases[edit]

While working in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Dewar secured a $3.5 Million settlement from Aspen Dental, who was accused of deceptive advertising claims.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Dewar is the mother of two children.[11]


  1. ^ "Council confirms Dewar to SJC". Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. January 10, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c "AG Healey Appoints New State Solicitor". November 28, 2016.
  3. ^ "State solicitor in line to be acting AG". Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. December 13, 2022.
  4. ^ "Governor Healey Nominates State Solicitor Elizabeth N. Dewar to Supreme Judicial Court". Office of the Massachusetts Governor. December 8, 2023.
  5. ^ "Healey Nominates Solicitor Elizabeth Dewar To Supreme Judicial Court". GBH. December 11, 2023. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  6. ^ Medsger, Matthew (January 10, 2024). "On the job training: 43-year-old State Solicitor unanimously confirmed to SJC". Boston Herald.
  7. ^ "Council confirms Dewar to SJC". Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. January 10, 2024. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  8. ^ "Dewar confirmed as SJC's newest justice". Eagle-Tribune. January 10, 2024. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  9. ^ "Dewar sworn in as SJC justice". Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. January 17, 2024.
  10. ^ Peterson, Stephen (January 6, 2023). "State AG's office reaches $3.5M settlement with Aspen Dental". The Sun Chronicle.
  11. ^ Gavin, Christopher. "Here's who will be the acting Mass. attorney general for 13 days".
Legal offices
Preceded by Attorney General of Massachusetts

Succeeded by
Preceded by Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court