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On March 25, 2019, Monica Shah presented a session on criminal law and students’ rights at the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston’s award-winning “Know Your Rights!” program at the Waltham Public Library.  Through this program, SABA GB empowers South Asian community leaders in Massachusetts on topics ranging from criminal law to employment law, bankruptcy, consumer protection, immigration, and elder care. Learn more about SABA GB and the KYR program here: https://www.sabagb.org/know-your-rights

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Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will be joining the faculty as Chair of the MCLE webcast and on-site program, “Preventing & Handling Sexual Harassment Claims in the #MeToo Era” scheduled for March 19, 2019. The program will focus on providing guidance for attorneys handling sexual harassment cases from initial intake or investigation to verdict or settlement, whether at the MCAD or in court. Attorney Shah has extensive experience working on sexual harassment cases. Read more or register for the program here. 

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Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah recently won an employment discrimination appeal at the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The Appeals Court agreed with Attorneys Quinn-Judge and Shah that their client’s pay discrimination claim should not have been dismissed by the lower court after the defendant, the City of Boston, moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff presented evidence that the City had refused to provide a promised raise to the plaintiff, an African-American woman and a longtime public servant, after she spent nearly three years in her promoted position with substantially greater responsibilities, while at the same giving raises to another white manager.  As a result of this decision, their client will now be able to take her pay discrimination claim to trial.

Read the opinion here: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/10/24/17P0343.pdf

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Top Women of Law honorees, including Zalkind Law’s Monica Shah, author letter to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (MLW) objecting the choice of a non-union Marriott hotel for tonight’s event. These attorneys urge MLW to sign the “One Job Should Be Enough Pledge” in support of hotel workers, especially those who are currently participating in union strikes across the country. Read the letter below.

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Coffee-Meet-UpLabor Day Weekend is fast approaching and millions of college students across the country will be beginning their fall terms, including many first-year students who have just become adults and have spent little time away from their families or communities. If you are a parent of an incoming student, you may be helping your child pack, stock up on ramen, move into their dorm, and get oriented to a sprawling and likely overwhelming college campus. While you are preparing your child for a new stage of their life and hopefully independence and responsibility, this is the time to familiarize yourself with the college’s policies on sexual assault, harassment, and other misconduct. Although there has been recent news about potential reforms to the Department of Education’s (DOE) regulations and guidance on sexual misconduct, no changes have taken effect to date and therefore it is important to ensure that your child is aware of their school’s specific rules and knows their rights and responsibilities, as well as the risks of any criminal exposure.

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Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP is proud to announce that firm partners Norman Zalkind, David Duncan, Inga Bernstein, Emma Quinn-Judge, and Monica Shah, and of-counsel attorneys Elizabeth Lunt and Harvey Silverglate are listed in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession and rates attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Congratulations to all!

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Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has chosen Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP partner Monica Shah as a Top Women in Law honoree.  The award celebrates outstanding achievements made by exceptional women lawyers who have made tremendous professional strides and demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field and highlights women who are pioneers, educators, trailblazers, and role models.  On October 18, 2018, Monica and her fellow honorees will be recognized at the 2018 Top Women in Law event in Boston.Shah-headshot

Monica focuses her litigation practice on criminal defense, employment law, and Title IX matters.  She has successfully handled complicated and highly-contested cases from the initial stages of investigation and discovery through trial and appeals, including winning a nearly $10.9 million jury verdict on behalf of her client in a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the City of Boston.  In her criminal practice, she on the federal Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel to represent indigent federal defendants in the Boston federal district courts

Outside her firm work, Monica also commits to pro bono work for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston, and she co-chairs the Amicus Committee for the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association. She also serves as chairperson of the nominating committee and a member of the Board of Directors of Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based organization that provides essential clothing, books, and toys for low-income children.

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ZDB’s Monica Shah and Emma Quinn-Judge filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Cato Institute and The Center on Administration of Criminal Law in CPCS v. Attorney General, a case involving egregious prosecutorial misconduct arising from chemist Sonja Farak’s mishandling of thousands of drug samples at the Amherst Drug Laboratory.  The brief supports the Petitioners’ request that the SJC remedy the systemic and widespread injustice arising from prosecutors’ failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, fraudulent statements to the courts, and failure to identify and notify thousands of wrongly convicted individuals by dismissing the convictions of all defendants whose samples were processed by the lab during Farak’s time and issuing monetary sanctions against the Attorney General’s Office and District Attorney’s Offices.  The brief also argues for the prevention of future prosecutorial misconduct against other defendants by ensuring that judges proactively hold prosecutors accountable through clearly defined Brady standing orders, strong sanctions for noncompliance, and mandatory reporting to disciplinary boards.  Read more about the case and download the full amicus brief here: https://www.cato.org/publications/legal-briefs/committee-public-counsel-services-v-attorney-general-massachusetts-mass

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Since the election, there has been a spike in racist harassment and hate crimes across the county directed at minorities and immigrants.  As reflected in data collected by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), nearly 900 hate incidents were reported in the ten days following November 8.  The incidents have ranged from graffiti of swastikas and nooses, rampant use of racial slurs, verbal denigration of minorities and immigrants, and physical harassment, including assaults or attempted assaults.  These incidents have been most prevalent at K-12 schools and college campuses and reflect a disturbing deterioration of the educational environment in our schools.  These are only the reported incidents to SPLC, a small non-profit located in Alabama; it is most certainly only a fraction of all incidents since the election.  While there are sometimes competing concerns between the free speech rights of students and the protection of minority students, the incidents that have been reported thus far include racist threats of violence that goes beyond free speech rights.  There is a real concern that the failure to adequately respond and remedy this behavior during students’ formative years in middle and high school will normalize it and cause further spillover onto college campuses.

Minority and immigrant students who are at colleges and universities across the country may be understandably anxious about whether they will have protection against such harassment under the new presidential administration.  If campaign rhetoric is to be believed, the Trump Administration intends to gut the Department of Education (DOE).  In addition to its responsibilities administering federal funding and enforcing federal education laws, the DOE is the agency charged with enforcing civil rights laws that apply to K-12 schools and colleges, which includes Title VI, the law that protects students at federally-funded schools from discrimination on the basis of race or national origin.

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