News + Insights from the Legal Team at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein

Articles Posted in Recent News

Shah-headshotOn Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will speak at the Boston Bar Association’s 2020 Higher Education Virtual Legal Conference. She will join a panel titled “Title IX: Hearing from Parties’ Counsel and Predicting Future Litigation.” Learn more about the event here.

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Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will be joining a panel of experts for the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 41st Annual Labor & Employment Conference scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2020.  Attorney Shah will be presenting recent developments in state and federal employment law.  Registration for this virtual conference is open until June 16, 2020. Learn more about the event here.

Middlesex Superior Court recently granted attorney Emma Quinn-Judge’s motion to release her client in light of the risk posed by COVID-19. Her client, who has underlying respiratory conditions that place him at high risk if he is exposed to COVID-19, was being detained pre-trial due to his alleged “dangerousness” at the Middlesex House of Corrections, where there are numerous confirmed cases of COVID-19. A superior court judge vacated the dangerousness finding and ordered her client released to his home.

COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented number of workers seeking unemployment assistance. Our firm is working closely with Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston on their Unemployment Assistance Initiative as pro bono volunteers helping applicants with their applications.  Click here to visit their website and learn more about the program and how you can get help.

In Parker v. EnerNOC, Inc., the Supreme Judicial Court held that employers who fire or otherwise retaliate against their employees in order to avoid paying earned commissions must pay treble damages for those lost commissions. Zalkind Law’s David Russcol, along with Audrey Richardson of Greater Boston Legal Services, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Fair Employment Project. The plaintiff in Parker landed a major sale for her employer, but the jury found that her employer fired her after she complained about being underpaid on her commissions (and for being subjected to sex discrimination, which was not at issue in this appeal). A large portion of her commission only became due a year later, after the customer decided not to exercise an option to cancel its contract. The SJC agreed with David’s argument that the commissions the plaintiff would have been paid if she had not been fired qualify as “lost wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act, meaning that she could recover triple that amount. In doing so, the SJC rejected the trial judge’s interpretation that only commissions that were due and payable as of the last day of employment should be tripled – a reading of the law that would encourage employers to fire employees to deprive them of earned commissions. The SJC strongly reinforced the purpose of the Wage Act to protect employees from wage theft, and clearly stated that an employer cannot make commissions contingent on continued employment, and then rely on that contingency to deny payment to a terminated employee who has done the work to earn the commission. This decision emphasizes the broad reach of the Wage Act’s protections, as well as the substantial remedies (including treble damages and attorney’s fees) against those who violate this law.

We are a twelve-lawyer firm located in the North End/Waterfront of Boston, with an interesting, varied, fast-paced practice in criminal defense and civil litigation (including employment, students’ rights, and other academic cases).  We seek a motivated Paralegal/Legal Assistant with a strong educational background, excellent interpersonal skills, proficiency with office software (including Word, Excel and Outlook) and solid typing skills (70+ wpm).  Interest in social media is a plus and previous office experience is desirable.  This is an entry-level position that requires a minimum two-year commitment. We are looking for a candidate to start summer 2020 or sooner.  Please email resume and cover letter to the attention of Victoria Campbell at resume@zalkindlaw.com. The position will be open until filled.

Walk-to-hill-photoOn January 30, 2020, a group of Zalkind Law attorneys participated in the 21st annual Walk to the Hill to lobby the state legislature for increased funding for civil legal aid in FY21. While last year legal aid lawyers in Massachusetts were able to help 88,000 people with legal issues including health care, immigration, domestic violence, and housing, they had to turn away more than 100,000 eligible people who needed legal help. Zalkind Law attorneys visited their legislators’ offices to convey the importance of increasing funding so that more people in Massachusetts can get the legal representation they need.

A Suffolk Superior Court judge recently denied Harvard’s attempt to have a lawsuit brought against it on behalf of sororities thrown out of court.  The lawsuit alleges that Harvard established a policy of sanctioning students who participate in single-sex organizations like sororities, denying them benefits available to other students, in a campaign of threats, intimidation, and coercion that virtually eliminated single-sex social options for Harvard women. The sororities claim that Harvard has engaged in discrimination on the basis of sex and interfered with rights to freedom of association.  Zalkind Law’s Emma Quinn-Judge, David Russcol, Ana Muñoz, and Harvey Silverglate represent the sororities challenging Harvard’s actions, and succeeded in defeating Harvard’s motion in its entirety.

Read more about the decision here:

Boston Globe

ZALKIND DUNCAN & BERNSTEIN LLP, a premier Boston criminal defense and civil litigation boutique, seeks an associate to start in fall 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. More information about our firm can be found on our website: http://www.zalkindlaw.com.

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.  Applicants who are available to begin employment before fall 2020 should include such information in their cover letters. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and should be submitted no later than January 31, 2020.

Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP is proud to announce that Naomi Shatz has joined the firm’s partnership effective January 1, 2020.  Naomi will continue her litigation practice in employment, students’ rights, and Title IX matters.  For more information about Naomi’s background and experience, find her biography here.

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