The Honorable Liana Fiol Matta ’67, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, will speak at Trinity, on Wednesday, November 19, 10:30 am, in Social Hall. She will share her journey, from Puerto Rico, to Trinity, to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. Trinity students, faculty, staff, alumnae and alumni are welcome to hear her story. She was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico in spring 2014 after serving as an associate justice for ten years.
After she graduated from Trinity in 1967, with a major in English literature, the Honorable Liana Fiol Matta earned her law degree, magna cum laude, in 1970 from the University of Puerto Rico, where she directed the Law Review. In 1988 she obtained her master of laws from Columbia University in New York, where she also earned her doctor of science of law in 1996.
She taught law from 1978 to 1988, first at American University and then at Catholic University. Between 1988 and 1990 she worked as an advisor to the governor of Puerto Rico, with an emphasis in the areas of planning and natural resources. In 1992 she was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeals, and continued to teach law at American University and the University of Puerto Rico. From 1993 to 1995, she served on a special committee of the Supreme Court on gender discrimination in the courts. From 1996 to 2002 she served as the administrative judge of the Court of Appeals.
In 2002, Judge Fiol Matta chaired a committee that published a report, “Judicial Education for the 21st Century,” which led to the creation in 2003 of the Puerto Rican Judicial Academy. In the same year she became dean of the academy, and chair of its Academic Board. Judge Fiol Matta is the author of numerous legal articles published in Puerto Rico and the United States. The defense of women’s rights, protecting consumer rights and environmental conservation are among the key areas on which she has focused in her legal career. In 1975, the International Year of Women, she received an award from the Bar Association of Puerto Rico for her contributions to the law in the Commonwealth. Since 2002, she has been a member of the Academic of the Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation of Puerto Rico.
In 2004, she was appointed to serve as an associate justice of the nine-member Supreme Court of Puerto Rico by Governor Sila Calderon. In April 2014 Governor Alejandro García Padilla appointed her to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which was confirmed unanimously by the Senate of Puerto Rico in May 22.