James T. Hilliard

James T. Hilliard, Co-Founder of the Connor & Hilliard Law Firm and Harvard Medical School Faculty Member 
James T. Hilliard of West Harwich, MA passed away on October 27, 2022.  He was 79 years old.  He is survived by his wife, Christine Roderiques, his son Stephen P. Hilliard of La Costa, CA, his daughter Kathleen Hilliard Brown and her husband Michael J. Brown, M.D. of Potomac Falls, VA, Christine’s stepdaughter Kim Roderiques of Chatham, MA, and his beloved grandchildren Matthew Hilliard Brown, Stephanie Hilliard, Courtney Hilliard, and Kathryn Johns, her husband, Alexander Johns, and his former wife and mother of his two children, Patricia Hilliard.  
Jim was born in Hyde Park, MA on July 27, 1943 to his parents, the late Donald F. and Anna Hilliard.  He is the brother of Mary Bilotta of Scituate, MA, the late Donald E. Hilliard of Bethlehem, NH and the late Jean Elchuck of Walpole, MA.  He grew up in Norwood, MA, remained very active in the Norwood community throughout his life, and he has left many dear friends there. 
Jim graduated from Norwood High School in 1961 where he played baseball for three years, was a leader on the student counsel, and began to display his extraordinary talent as a self-taught musician on the drums, guitar and piano. Beginning in high school and continuing through college, he was the man on the drums for the Blue Jays Trio band along with two high school friends playing at many local venues.  He also was a drummer for the gold record winning Three D’s in the early sixties.  Music remained one of Jim’s passionate interests throughout his adult life, along with golf, and being an avid reader on a wide variety of topics. 
Jim graduated from Bryant College, and then went on to attend Suffolk University Law School, graduating in 1969.  He then joined Governor Frank Sargent’s administration in the Department of Finance and Administration where he quickly acquired a working knowledge of state budgeting issues.  Two years later, Jim accepted the invitation of Governor Sargent’s successor, Michael Dukakis, and remained in state government for eight years, initially being appointed Under-Secretary of Health and Human Services and later as the first non-physician Assistant Superintendent of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.  In 1978, he left state government and was co-founder, along with a Norwood High School friend, John P. Connor, Jr., of the law firm of Connor & Hilliard, P.C. where he was still practicing at the time of his death. 
While in private practice, Jim became the preeminent expert on psychiatry and the law.  He was widely considered to be the finest psychiatry healthcare attorney in Massachusetts and beyond. He was the general counsel for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society since 1979, and he served as special legal counsel for mental health issues to 15 hospitals in Massachusetts.  In 2013, he was the recipient of the President’s Award from the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society.  He authored countless articles related to mental health law, as well as co-authoring the seminal text, “The Essentials of Massachusetts Mental Health Law”.  Thanks to his accomplishments, leadership and guiding hand, Connor & Hilliard, P.C. is one of the premier Mental Health Law firms in the Commonwealth and continues to be counsel to almost every psychiatric facility in Massachusetts, as well as to many general hospitals for psychiatric issues.  
Jim was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for 47 years.  He was a devoted teacher to several generations of Harvard Medical School students and psychiatry residents.  He was also an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (legal medicine) at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  In addition, Jim co-directed two annual Harvard Medical School conferences, as well as a Massachusetts Psychiatric Society annual conference.  After delivering his lectures, groups of students and attendees would huddle around him as he patiently answered every question. Jim brought great distinction and credit to the many professional organizations with which he was associated, and through his expertise and willingness to share the same over the course of his career, he has helped, guided, mentored and influenced countless psychiatrists, psychologists and lawyers who will carry on his legacy. 
In addition to his unparalleled prominence in the area of mental health law, Jim was a recognized expert in land use law as well, enjoying great success throughout his career in navigating his clients through the legal requirements necessary for developing both residential and commercial properties.  Jim was also very instrumental in the establishment of the non-profit Citizens Energy Corporation with Joseph P. Kennedy, III and the late Michael L. Kennedy.  He served as the general counsel to Citizens Energy Corporation for more than a decade. 
After spending the majority of his life in his cherished hometown of Norwood, The Belmont in West Harwich became Jim’s home later in life.  Jim spent 15 years on the Board of Directors at The Belmont, and he was honored to serve as Chairman of the Board for the final eight of those years.  He positively loved spending time there gazing out over Nantucket Sound, admiring its stunning beauty and enjoying its precious tranquility.  
Jim’s corner cabana at The Belmont was his favorite place for “holding court”, as he so fondly referred to it. He frequently entertained family and friends there, as well as the occasional seagull passing by that would stop in on a beautiful day to relax with him and his guests.  He loved the summer months when his children, grandchildren, and friends would come to visit.  You could oftentimes find him fishing in the Herring River, driving his convertible around the Cape enjoying the warm Cape Cod sun or, if you were lucky enough, find him by his grill cooking up some of his famous, specialty hot dogs for everyone to enjoy on a perfect beach day.  Jim was never more fulfilled and content than when he was spending time with family and friends at his jewel by the sea. 
As busy as the practice of law kept him over the course of his long, exceptional career, and as valuable a resource as he has been for hospitals, national law firms, courts, doctors, and other clients, Jim always found the time to generously extend himself to anyone with a problem seeking guidance.  He was the person family members and friends counted on to be there whenever they needed indispensable advice, and be there he was, always, time after time.  He was not only the proverbial rock of the Hilliard family, and the same to his friends, he was constantly there for anyone in need who was seeking his invaluable guidance.  The wisdom he would always impart, that made such a tremendous, positive impact, will live on in the lives of those he guided, and in none more than his two children and four grandchildren, all of whom loved him dearly. Everyone who knew him well knows what an extraordinary man Jim Hilliard was, and how beloved he was by so many.  He will be missed beyond words, and there will never be another with his exceedingly special qualities again. 
A Celebration of Life will be held in Jim’s honor at The Olde Colonial Café in Norwood, MA (on a date to be determined), and donations can be made in Jim’s name to the following: Circle of Hope (norwoodcoh.org) Box 421 Norwood, MA 02062.  The Family Pantry 133 Queen Anne Road Harwich, MA 02645