Prominent Former Prosecutor and UMass General Counsel Gerry Leone Joins Hunton Andrews Kurth in Boston

Time 6 Minute Read
December 19, 2023

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP is pleased to welcome to the firm Gerard T. “Gerry” Leone, Jr., whose distinguished legal career includes serving as general counsel for the University of Massachusetts and as a state and federal prosecutor who secured convictions in some of the most high profile cases in the country.

Based in Boston, Leone will officially join the firm as a special counsel in February 2024. He will lead Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Risk Management and Special Situations group and will serve as co-head of the firm’s Higher Education practice, advising corporate clients and public institutions on front-end risk identification, preemption, prevention and avoidance, through handling of red flag risk materialization to back-end mitigation and remediation.

“Drawing on more than 30 years of experience as a prosecutor, as general counsel for the largest public university system in Massachusetts and as an attorney in private practice, Gerry is a highly skilled problem solver who offers strategic and innovative approaches to the challenges public and private sector clients face every day,” said Hunton Andrews Kurth Managing Partner Sam Danon. “We are thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

As the newest addition to the firm’s Boston office, Leone joins a team that serves local, national and international clients in the energy, real estate, financial services, retail and consumer products, higher education and health care sectors among others. Hunton Andrews Kurth lawyers advise on a range of legal matters including commercial litigation, complex business disputes, labor and employment, environmental regulatory, insurance coverage, permitting, intellectual property, compliance and enforcement, white collar, and government and corporate investigations.

“Hunton Andrews Kurth has an outstanding Boston platform with a local concentration and national reach that offers people focused custom problem solving and risk management, 360-degree business strategies and legal advice, and aligns well with my personal and professional approach to client service,” said Leone. “The depth and breadth of the firm’s practice offerings and the impressive array of colleagues and teammates, as well as the spectrum of industry the firm serves makes Hunton Andrews Kurth the absolute best personal and professional choice for the next phase of my career.”

Leone will be reunited in Boston with his mentor and close friend, former Middlesex County District Attorney and Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, who is a special counsel with Hunton Andrews Kurth. Leone served as a senior high level managing and prosecuting Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General under Reilly during his terms in the 1990s. Leone then went on to serve as the First Assistant United States Attorney and post-September 11th  Anti-Terrorism Coordinator for the District of Massachusetts, and succeeded Reilly as the Middlesex District Attorney.

“Gerry is an exceptional addition to the firm and to our Boston team, bringing insights and a skillset that complements and further enhances the comprehensive legal services we are committed to providing to our clients,” said Reilly. “His ability to identify and distill complex legal problems and his dedication to excellence make him an ideal fit.”

“I am excited to join Tom and a highly regarded and likeminded team of lawyers at Hunton Andrews Kurth, with whom I have deep professional and personal connections, including renowned litigator Harry Manion, and nationally recognized litigators Mike Perry, Martin Gaynor, Chris Cunio and Chris Pardo,” said Leone. “I am also looking forward to working with leading national litigation partners Ali Cunningham, John Delionado and Wendell Taylor.”

Upon completion of his service with UMass early next year, Leone is being succeeded by Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice David A. Lowy as the university’s general counsel.

“I am forever grateful to UMass President Marty Meehan for the opportunity to serve the Commonwealth and the university,” said Leone. “I will leave knowing that UMass is in an excellent position to continue thriving and growing under the stewardship of President Meehan and the university’s terrific Board, Executive, Senior Staff and operational team.”

About Gerry Leone

Since 2017, Leone has served as lead attorney for the UMass system, which includes a public interest law school, medical school and four independent undergraduate campuses all with their own Chancellors and leadership teams, serving 75,000 students, 24,000 employees and 40 labor unions.

As general counsel, Leone directed a 20-lawyer department responsible for advising UMass, as well as the president’s office and board of trustees on a broad range of legal, regulatory, compliance and ethics requirements, including Title IX, Title VI and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Leone also supervised internal and external investigations, litigation, compliance, labor and employment, immigration, governance, intellectual property, real estate and corporate matters.

Prior to joining UMass, Leone served as a vice president at Consigli Construction, the second largest construction company in Massachusetts. Leone was also previously a Government Investigations and White Collar Crime partner with Nixon Peabody, where he provided strategic advice and counseling and developed practices focused on Special Situations, Compliance and Risk, Higher Education, Government Investigations and White-Collar Crime defense.

Beginning in 2007, Leone served two terms as the elected District Attorney for Middlesex County, the largest geographic and demographic county in Massachusetts, with 25 colleges and universities, and over two million residents. He personally prosecuted and oversaw the investigations and prosecutions of many national and international high-profile matters, including several white collar and public corruption cases, while building nationally recognized collaborative prevention programs.

From 2001 to 2005, Leone served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. Among other high-profile matters, Leone prosecuted and obtained a conviction against the so-called “Shoe Bomber,” Richard Reid, who attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his sneakers on a transatlantic flight in 2001.

Leone was honored with the FBI Director’s Award after being appointed the first Anti-Terrorism Coordinator for the District of Massachusetts, per directive of the U.S. Attorney General. In this role, he was responsible for bringing together federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate and collaborate in efforts to disrupt and prevent terrorist and their supporters. He also served as an Executive Board Member of the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and Joint Terrorism Taskforce & Anti-Terrorism Task Force, with national security clearances at the highest levels (TS-SCI). The JTTF and ATTF were a nationally recognized model launched by Leone with his federal and state counterparts.

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