Articles Posted in Recent News

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Inga Bernstein won a major victory for a client charged with strangulation and assault on a family member after a pretrial evidentiary hearing.  She defeated the prosecutors’ attempt to use the statements a non-testifying alleged victim made to police investigators.  All charges have been dropped.

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On November 6, 2019, David Duncan and Norman Zalkind won a not guilty verdict after trial for their client charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the district court in Boston. The jury did not reach a verdict on a charge of assault and battery, which remains pending.

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ZALKIND DUNCAN & BERNSTEIN LLP, a premier Boston criminal defense and civil litigation boutique, seeks an associate to start in January 2020 or sooner. This progressive 12-lawyer law firm has a dynamic federal and state court practice, at both the trial and appellate levels. Our criminal practice includes crimes of violence, fraud and drug offenses, white collar crimes, and other felonies and misdemeanors. Our civil practice consists primarily of plaintiff-side employment matters, including discrimination cases, and representing students, faculty, and other employees accused of misconduct or facing discrimination at colleges and universities (including in Title IX proceedings). We also have a general civil litigation and complex motions practice.

We are looking for an associate with 1-2 years of experience and excellent research, analytical, and writing skills. Judicial clerkship a plus. Excellent benefits.

Interested applicants should send their resume, law school transcript, writing sample (preferably 5-10 pages long, showing writing that has not been substantially edited or revised by anyone other than the author), and a cover letter to Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, 65a Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02110, attn: Associate Hiring, or e-mail these items to resume@zalkindlaw.com with “application for associate position” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP is proud to announce that the firm has been named in US News’ “Best Law Firms” for yet another year! This 2020 accolade ranks the firm as Metro Tier 1 in three separate categories: Criminal Defense – General Practice, Criminal Defense – White Collar, and Employment – Individuals.

Firms included in the 2020 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.

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Today the Massachusetts Appeals Court vindicated Chantal Charles, a black woman and longtime public servant, who had won a nearly $11 million verdict in 2015 in her race discrimination and retaliation case against the City of Boston and the City’s First Assistant Collector-Treasurer Vivian Leo. The Appeals Court issued a unanimous 45-page decision affirming the jury’s verdict that the City and Ms. Leo discriminated and retaliated against Ms. Charles and granted Ms. Charles’ appeal of the trial court’s decision to reduce the punitive damages verdict.

Ms. Charles is an outstanding employee who has worked in the City’s Treasury Department for thirty-three years, managing the Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust and other trusts, and has dedicated her career to beautifying and improving the city’s parks and neighborhoods. Despite her excellent performance, Ms. Charles has never been promoted. The Treasury Division generally has failed to promote black employees to higher level management positions and is one of the least racially diverse departments in the City with one of the highest pay gaps between white and non-white employees. Ms. Charles’ longtime supervisor left his position after Ms. Leo called Ms. Charles “aloof, non-deferential, and uppity” and insisted that he give her a poor performance review, which he refused to do because it was unwarranted. Following his departure, Ms. Charles continued to experience discrimination and was passed over for promotion to his position twice.

After hearing the evidence at trial, the jury found that the City and Ms. Leo engaged in a “consistently enforced pattern and practice of discrimination” against black employees. The jury also found that the City and Ms. Leo retaliated against Ms. Charles for filing a charge of discrimination at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

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As a top-rated attorney in the state, Partner Inga Bernstein has been recognized by the Super Lawyers list since 2004. This year, she was selected for both the prestigious Top 50 Women Lawyers and the Top 100 Lawyers in Massachusetts Lists. Read Inga’s bio here to learn more about her practice. To view the Top 50 list, click here. To view the Top 100 list, click here.

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We are pleased to announce that six of our attorneys have been selected to the 2019 Massachusetts Super Lawyers List. We would also like to congratulate four of our attorneys for being selected to the 2019 Massachusetts Rising Stars list.

Super Lawyers rates outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. Only up to 5 percent of the lawyers in a state are named to the Super Lawyers list, and no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list.

Please join us in congratulating the following attorneys who have been selected as “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” this year.

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RusscolZalkind Law’s David Russcol submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in Parker v. Enernoc, Inc., a case heard last week in the Supreme Judicial Court. The plaintiff was fired soon after closing the largest sale in her employer’s history, which the jury found was in retaliation for complaining of violations of the Massachusetts Wage Act. Some of the commissions on that sale were not due until a year later. The Wage Act provides that “lost wages and other benefits” due to retaliation are tripled, but the lower court did not triple those unpaid commissions. David argued on behalf of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Fair Employment Project that employers cannot avoid paying commissions by firing employees before the commissions are due, and that the plaintiff’s unpaid wages had to be tripled in order to avoid giving employers an incentive to engage in illegal retaliation.

Read the brief here: Amicus Brief – Parker v. Enernoc, Inc

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ShatzAttorney Naomi Shatz argued today before the Massachusetts Appeals Court in a case that again addresses a question the Massachusetts courts have grappled with for years: what types of speech can form the basis of a harassment prevention order? In the firm’s case, the plaintiff sought a harassment prevention order on the basis of anonymous letters sent to her clients that contained unfavorable information about her. Shatz argued on behalf of her client that the extraordinary remedy of a harassment prevention order is meant only to reach two narrow types of constitutionally unprotected speech: fighting words and true threats, and is not meant to be used to address purely economic harms that can be remedied through normal civil legal processes.

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Bernstein-headshot-horizontalPartner Inga Bernstein argued today before the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit about an important issue regarding the Career Offender provision of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines that has divided the federal courts of appeal and is actively being litigated in several circuits. Specifically, she argued that the crime of conspiracy to commit a drug offense does not trigger the Career Offender provision, notwithstanding interpretive commentary from the Sentencing Commission that says otherwise because the language of the Guideline is unambiguous and does not includes such crimes.  Rejection of the commentary in this instance is dictated by the Supreme Court’s June decision in Kisor v. Wilkie, which set clear limits on the deference that can be afforded to agencies interpreting their regulations.  A decision in this case will have far reaching ramifications for many people impacted by the career offender guideline.

The audio recording of the oral argument can be heard here.

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