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


Zalkind Law attorneys Emma Quinn-Judge and Thomas Miller obtained a complete acquittal after trial for a client charged with multiple firearms-related offenses, including one that would have carried an eighteen-month mandatory minimum jail sentence. After first convincing the prosecution not to indict their client on Superior Court charges–which would have resulted in an even longer, 2.5-year mandatory minimum–they successfully suppressed evidence obtained unlawfully and raised complex issues relating to the impact of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision on Massachusetts firearms regulations. Over the course of a two-day trial in Malden District Court, Attorneys Quinn-Judge and Miller then convinced the jury to return a verdict of not-guilty on all charges, allowing the client to continue with his life. Zalkind Law is proud to fight for the rights of all criminal defendants.

Zalkind Law attorneys Monica Shah and Lucie Gulino won a jury verdict of over $700K in a Title VII sex and sexual orientation discrimination case on behalf of the Plaintiff, Peggy Smithart, a Federal Bureau of Prisons nurse manager. In a seven-day jury trial in the Federal Court in Boston, Attorneys Shah and Gulino proved that the BOP discriminated against their client – a nurse with over 24 years of experience and nearly a decade of management experience – when it denied her a promotion to a higher-level management position in favor of a male staff nurse who reported to her and was substantially less qualified for the job. Evidence at trial showed that the BOP officials who influenced the discriminatory decision had significant bias against women and gay people and had engaged in offensive conduct and statements exhibiting misogyny and homophobia. Zalkind Law is proud to represent and fight for justice for Ms. Smithart.

On March 18, 2024, a Superior Court judge denied Harvard’s motion to dismiss a case brought by Zalkind Law attorneys David Russcol and Harvey Silverglate and co-counsel Ruth O’Meara-Costello. In the suit, Plaintiff Benjamin Edelman, a former tenure-track faculty member at Harvard Business School, alleges that Harvard mishandled an inquiry into Prof. Edelman’s conduct and he was not granted tenure as a result. Among other things, Prof. Edelman alleges that Harvard initiated a Faculty Review Board process when it was not needed, did not provide him with evidence that was used against him, and employed a flawed process that ultimately damaged his reputation. Zalkind Law brought claims of breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and promissory estoppel based on Harvard’s failure to follow its established procedures, biased practices, and conflicts of interest by the Faculty Review Board.


On Monday, October 30, 2023, Attorney Brian Bixby filed a discrimination and retaliation complaint against Burns & Levinson LLP, the firm where he works and where he served as a longtime Chair of the Private Client Group.

Mr. Bixby is a highly regarded and experienced estate and fiduciary litigation attorney. Although he had served as a Chair of the Private Client Group for many years, in July of 2020, the Burns & Levinson Managing Partner decided “it was time” for Mr. Bixby to be replaced by a younger partner. At the meeting where this was discussed, one member of the Firm’s Executive Committee speculated that Mr. Bixby “fears approaching retirement.” Despite the fact that he objected to being removed from this role, which he rightly viewed as a demotion, the Firm announced, falsely, that Mr. Bixby was “stepping down” as practice group chair.

Mr. Bixby tried to address his concerns internally. When that failed and the Firm learned that he would bring a complaint to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the Firm said that it was “really not going to be good” for him if he did that and that “it really [was] folly to go down that path.” Since Mr. Bixby filed at the MCAD, the firm has retaliated in several ways, financially and otherwise.



Zalkind Law is proud to announce that Monica Shah has been named Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® for her work in Employment Law – Individuals in Boston. Congratulations to Monica for her great achievement!


“Lawyer of the Year” honors are awarded annually to only one lawyer per practice area in each region with extremely high overall feedback from their peers, making it an exceptional distinction.

Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP is proud to announce that the following attorneys are listed in the 2024 edition of 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!

Inga S. Bernstein – Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Employment Law – Individuals, Litigation – Labor and Employment

David Duncan – Appellate Practice, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Awards Zalkind Law inaugural “Empowering Women” Award. As the publication writes, “Supporting women is not just a top priority at Boston’s Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein. It serves as the 13-lawyer firm’s core identity.” This award highlights the firm’s unique makeup as a women-owned, majority-women firm, as well as the work we have done for decades to advance women’s rights in the workplace and in academics. Read more here:

We are pleased to announce that seven of our attorneys have been selected to Boston Magazine’s List of Top Lawyers of 2022.

According to Boston Magazine, “to compile this extensive guide, Boston magazine (in partnership with DataJoe Research) invited lawyers in the area to nominate up to three of their peers in a select number of specialties. The top vote-getters in each specialty were then reviewed by an advisory board of select lawyers, chosen for their credentials and the high number of votes they received. Sort by name, town, or specialty to find the pro you need, and then let them do the hard work.”

Please join us in congratulating the following attorneys who have been selected as Top Lawyers in 2022!

We are pleased to announce that eight of our attorneys have been selected to the 2022 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list. We would also like to congratulate three of our attorneys for being selected to the 2022 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!

Members of the law firm submitted comment today to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights on its proposed regulations implementing Title IX. The comments focus on how the proposed regulations would properly expand protection against discrimination and harassment, but raised concerns about reduced procedural protections and procedural hurdles that might make Title IX proceedings less fair and less efficient than they should be. The full comments are available here.

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