Full Name: Mary Ellen Donaghy
Year of Induction: 2015
Mary Ellen Donaghy became Executive Director of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal soon after the Council was created in 1980 and became part of the Appellate Judges Conference of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Administration Division. She used her intellect, determination, and charm to promote the Council and obtain funding needed for it to flourish. She was not all business, however; she liked to have fun, and the Council’s conferences reflected that. One of her ideas was a theme costume contest at the annual dinner meeting. Skeptical at first, most of the Chiefs embraced the idea and had fun with it. The sight of judges, spouses, and guests dressed up as Zorro or Lolita Pulido at the 1989 Santa Fe conference was a quite a vision, generated lots of laughs, and helped to cement the camaraderie that continues today.
In 2004, when the ABA no longer could provide necessary fiscal support, the Council’s affiliation with the ABA ended. Those in the Council during the “Mary Ellen days” have fond memories of her and appreciate all that she did to get the Council off to a great start and to nurture and guide it for almost a quarter of a century.