A legacy of quiet success at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane LLP

Issue March/April 2018

What types of law does your firm handle?
Our firm handles:
• Employment law, including all private and public sector employment matters and related litigation, at every staff level and the entire employment process from hiring through termination, discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, employment agreements, personnel policies/employee handbooks, leaves of absence, health and safety, immigration, employee benefits/ERISA, workers compensation, non-competes, regulatory compliance and training;
• Labor law, including negotiation of private and public sector collective bargaining agreements, unit determinations and elections, unfair labor practices, workforce reductions, plant closings, employee discipline and termination, grievance and interest arbitration;
• Education law, including special education, student discipline and related litigation;
• Public/municipal law, including land use, environmental and related litigation;
• Transactional business law/corporate/real estate and related litigation;
• Independent investigations/reviews; and
• Litigation before all federal and state courts and other dispute resolution matters (mediation and arbitration).

Any particular areas of specialization where the firm has made a name for itself?
MHTL has a national reputation for excellence in representing employers in all their workforce needs, from hiring and complex employment issues to major workforce restructurings and reductions in force. We have conducted many internal reviews on sensitive matters ranging from sexual harassment to fiduciary audits to criminal activity and fraud. We have negotiated hundreds of private and public collective bargaining agreements and handle all litigation, including specialized litigation, such as withdrawal liability and ERISA litigation. Our immigration practice benefits from having attorneys fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

We are also known throughout New England for the strength of our education law practice. This includes representation of public and private schools at all levels, from K-12 to colleges and specialty schools. 

What firm attribute do clients find most attractive?
Quiet success and victories. Our team of skilled practitioners, with expertise across a wide variety of legal fields, handles complex and sensitive cases in a professional and efficient manner. Our focus is on delivering the highest quality legal advice while keeping our clients’ interests at the forefront at all times. Put another way, we offer personalized, timely and efficient service by experienced attorneys who get results for the client without showboating.

MHTL’s remarkable stability in its partnership, philosophy, approach and commitment to diversity has allowed it to maintain its continued excellence since its founding in 1986.

Describe a recent “win” or client success story that the firm is proud of.
Our attorneys regularly handle high-profile and sensitive internal reviews related to harassment and other employee misconduct. In the past month, for example, MHTL attorneys have assisted multiple clients in addressing claims of sexual harassment — focusing in each particular case on the needs of the client while also handling sensitive communication and law enforcement coordination, two issues that often surround these cases. MHTL also focuses on providing governance, process, training and other preventive measures to help avoid future problems. 

Tell us about the firm’s pro bono activities.
The firm is actively involved in pro bono representation through bar association work such as the Lawyer for the Day program and through direct service to a variety of non-profit institutions. MHTL attorneys have served on the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, both as local area reviewers and on the Foundation Board. They have also worked with the Board of Bar Overseers, and some have done reduced-fee or no-fee work through the Women’s Bar Association, the Pension Assistance Project and others. The firm has also partnered with the local district attorney in Norfolk County to provide pro bono legal prosecutorial assistance. And members of the firm have donated countless hours of pro bono legal service to a large variety of not-for-profit institutions. 

Are the firm or its members involved in any charitable or civic organizations?
The firm is active in multiple community, business and charitable organizations. Many of our attorneys serve or have served on hospital, social service, education and foundation boards, frequently as officers or chairs. Almost all of our attorneys lend their time and expertise to a variety of non-profits, including everything from the United Way to local PTAs.

Prime examples include the firm’s consistent support by legal and support staff for Christmas in the City from its inception in 1989, and St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children since its founding in 1993. Other organizations we support include the Quincy Community Action Center, DOVE and the Quincy School Partnership. 

Anything to announce in the coming year?
The firm is continuing to grow and expand our areas of expertise and offerings, such as through the recent hiring of experienced professionals across a variety of legal fields, including criminal and complex litigation. For example, our already deeply experienced internal investigations group has recently expanded by adding an attorney whose experience with law enforcement and public safety officials enhances our offerings in that area. Of course, the #MeToo movement is keeping members of this group as well as some of our employment attorneys busy, so this is a current major focus for the coming year.

Name something about the firm that people might be surprised to learn.
MHTL enjoys celebrating the holidays. For example, in addition to our all-staff holiday party, MHTL invites Santa every year to a party for the children and grandchildren of the staff. We also set aside a room for the many elves on staff who buy and wrap hundreds of Christmas presents for needy children, which we contribute through Christmas in the City, Quincy Community Action Program, and St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children.

Our staff and partners have varied interests. Examples: One partner goes to Africa each year to work on pro bono development projects. Another holds the 500-hour certified Kripalu yoga teacher certification. Another plans to spend his retirement primarily on his sailboat. 

Why is it important to have all the lawyers in your firm members of the MBA?
Our firm also believes strongly in the values of professional excellence and personal integrity. We believe that belonging to and becoming active in our professional association is a duty and an honor. Accordingly, many of our attorneys serve or have served on MBA section councils (Labor & Employment, Education, Dispute Resolution, Health Law and Public Law), various committees, the House of Delegates, the Executive Management Board, the Fee Arbitration Board, and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation; many of our attorneys also participate in various bar activities.

In what way do you find the MBA beneficial to the lawyers in your firm?
We strongly value the educational, leadership and networking opportunities offered by the MBA. The MBA helps our newer lawyers in so many ways, including expanding their networks and their knowledge base and providing leadership opportunities. 

Are there any specific MBA programs you find particularly helpful to your firm?
The education, networking and leadership opportunities through the various sections have been particularly beneficial. 

What would you like to see more of at the MBA?
Leadership programs for newer attorneys; programs where attendees can get to know some of the regulators and judges — again, very useful for newer attorneys; regional brown bags and after work networking opportunities; and more coordination with local and specialty bar associations. 

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