Rudolph Kass

Hon. Rudolph Kass, (Ret.) LL.B


From January, 1979 to September, 2003, Rudolph Kass served as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. During his tenure, he was the author of 1,680 opinions of the court as well as approximately 200 single justice memoranda and orders. 

Prior to his appointment to the court, he was a partner in the Boston law firm, Brown, Rudnick, Freed & Gesmer. His area of specialty was real estate, concentrating in urban affairs, i.e., urban renewal projects and government assisted housing, zoning, land use planning law, real estate financing, eminent domain and taxation.  He was on the drafting committee that wrote the Massachusetts condominium law and was an active practitioner in that area. As counsel to the 1965 special legislative commission on low-income housing, he was a principal draftsman of the statute that created the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency.

During the period between his retirement in June, 2000 from the Appeals Court at the constitutionally mandated age, and before being recalled for additional service on the court, he acted as a mediator and arbitrator. He chaired an advisory committee to the Supreme Judicial Court concerning electronic access to trial court records. In addition, he chaired an advisory board to the Governor on ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. He also acted as an expert on Massachusetts law for the United States State Department in an arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since joining The Mediation Group in 2003, Judge Kass has resolved disputes over real estate, contracts, insurance coverage issues and a range of other civil matters.

Among his community activities, Judge Kass has been a president of the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) and the Ford Hall Forum. He has served as a member of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Currently he serves as a director of JCHE, Law Advocacy & Resource Center the Schwamb Mill Preservation Trust and as a member of the Ethics Committee of the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He is a member of the Supreme Judicial Court Judiciary/Media Committee. 

Judge Kass is an adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School where he co-teaches with Joel Reck a real estate course built around commercial leases. He was the editor and author of several chapters in Legal Chowder; Lawyering and Judging in Massachusetts, published in 2002 by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. More recently, he authored a chapter and served as editor for Reflections on Diversity in the Massachusetts Legal Profession Past and Present, published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. in 2014. He is a member of the editorial board of the Massachusetts Law Review and a member of the advisory editorial board of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. 

Judge Kass obtained his A.B. from Harvard College in 1952 and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1956.

Judge Kass has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions:

  • In 2009, he was honored for his “continuing commitment to ADR and the ADR community” at MCLE’s first annual ADR & the Law conference.

  • The Ford Hall Forum awarded Judge Kass its George W. Coleman Service Award in 2009, in recognition of his “extraordinary contributions to the Forum, to free speech and to the Greater Boston Community.”

  • In 2006, the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action honored Judge Kass “ in recognition of his commitment to social justice.”

  • He received the Richard B. Johnson award, in 2002, by what was then called the Massachusetts Conveyancers’ Association (now the Real Estate Bar Association), in recognition of his “significant lifelong contributions to the Massachusetts conveyancing bar.”