The principles established by our founders in 1945 have served as the building blocks for the ethical, forward-thinking representation and commitment to excellence that are the hallmarks of Nigro, Pettepit & Lucas, LLP. Our founding members continue to serve as role models and inspiration for the current members of the firm.
Ernest L. Nigro, Esq. (1915-1985)
Ernest L. Nigro was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, son of Italian immigrants. He graduated from Boston English High School in 1933 and from the Northeastern University School of Law in 1937, one of only seventeen percent of law students who passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam that year. Attorney Nigro first worked in the law firm of Louis Jablon in Boston as a Personal Injury Specialist, rapidly earning a reputation as a talented and skillful litigator whose cases resulted in large jury awards.
During World War II, Ernest served in the United States Army Air Corps and led the training of recruits in military protocol. At the Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro, North Carolina, he earned the rank of Master Sergeant.
After the war, Ernest returned to his private legal practice in Wakefield and Reading. Initially, many of his clients were Italian immigrants with whom he could speak fluently. As the news of his success as a talented litigator spread, he earned an outstanding reputation trying cases against the leading litigators of his time in the Superior and Probate courts of Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties.
When his practice grew, he invited Marguerite M. Pettepit to join his firm, thereby going against the prevailing opinion of the time which opposed women practicing law. Later, he recruited Robert F. Lucas, a dedicated attorney and champion of legal services for the poor.
Through his life and work, Attorney Ernest L. Nigro instilled in his children a love of law as well as compassion and empathy for people in need. Eugene and Janice joined the firm to carry on his legacy of providing excellent legal services in a caring and practical manner.
Marguerite M. Pettepit, Esq. (1929 – 2015)
Marguerite M. Pettepit attended Nash High School in Quincy, Massachusetts. After graduating from Calvin Coolidge College, she graduated valedictorian of her class from Portia Law School, today the New England School of Law. At that time, Marguerite was one of only a handful of women who were licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.
After passing the bar, she experienced great difficulty in finding employment as an attorney because she was a woman. Nevertheless, she refused to give up and knew that her efforts would be groundbreaking for future women entering the legal profession. Ernest Nigro interviewed Marguerite and, after examining her credentials and highly successful academic record, he recognized that she deserved the opportunity to prove her legal acumen.
For over thirty-five years, Marguerite M. Pettepit worked tirelessly serving her clients and was recognized as a formidable adversary in the courtroom. During her career, she was highly sought after as a zealous divorce and family law attorney.
Robert F. Lucas, Esq. (1935-2008)
Born and raised in Connecticut, Robert F. Lucas graduated from the Taft School in Watertown, CT in 1952 and then Bates College in Lewiston, ME in 1956. Robert then received his Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law in 1959. He served in the U.S. Army as a clerk to the officers in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and in 1962 he joined the firm as both a civil and criminal litigator.
Attorney Lucas assumed leadership roles in all areas of his life. He was chairman of the Melrose Zoning Board of Appeals for 20 years, served as City Solicitor, and was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the Melrose High School Permanent Scholarship Fund. Having served on or chaired many of its committees during his career, Robert served as Vice-President of the Massachusetts Bar Association as well as of the Middlesex County Bar Association and the Malden Bar Association. He was a frequent lecturer and participant for the Flaschner Judicial Institute, the educational training ground for judges in Massachusetts. He was an active and longstanding member of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and the First United Methodist Church in Melrose.
Attorney Robert F. Lucas built his law career fighting for the underdog and working for people he thought were in the right. He always accepted the challenging case and won. He took that commitment and dedication to every area of his life, working diligently for his clients and his community while always keeping his family at the center of everything he did. He was remembered by Justice James F. McHugh of the Massachusetts Appeals Court as “the model of what all of us should strive to be in the practice of law.”