A pioneering woman in law, Marion R. Fremont-Smith has been excited to see women’s effective presence in the field grow through the years. She initially became interested in law after studying political science at Wellesley College, which she believes was an excellent foundation. With the support of her husband, she earned an honorary Bachelor of Arts form the school in 1948, and went on to obtain an LLB, cum laude, from Boston University in 1951. After being admitted to the Massachusetts Bar, Ms. Fremont-Smith was set to make a difference and change the field for the better. She furthered her education by being admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1979.
Ms. Fremont-Smith’s connection to nonprofit organizations sparked in the 1960s, when she served as assistant attorney general and director of the Division of Public Charities for the commonwealth of Massachusetts and as a project director for the Russell Sage Foundation. In 1964, she joined Choate, Hall and Stewart so she could specialize in tax and nonprofit law, and in 1971, she was promoted to partner. She served in that role until 1996, when she became senior counsel. She retired in 2005.
Currently, Ms. Fremont-Smith uses her knowledge to direct research on governance and accountability of nonprofit organizations. She has been a senior research fellow at the Hauses Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University since 1998, and is working on the third edition of “A Guide for Nonprofit Organizations: General Charitable Organization Compliance.” Additionally, she is involved with the American Bar Foundation, the American College of Tax Counsel, and the American Law Institute.
To share her background with her peers, Ms. Fremont-Smith authored “Governing Nonprofit Organizations: Federal and State Law and Regulation,” in 2004, “Philanthropy and the Business Corporation” in 1972, and “Foundations and Government: State and Federal Law and Supervision,” in 1965. She was also a co-reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Nonprofit Organizations, a contributor of articles to professional journals, and an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Wellesley College. Further, she was a lecturer in law at Harvard Law School between 2008 and 2011, where she taught a course on the law of nonprofit organizations.
In Ms. Fremont-Smith’s free time, she enjoys supporting the arts. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is involved with the Museum of Fine Arts, and does Nantucket basket weaving.