Picture of Ruth O’Meara-Costello

Ruth O’Meara-Costello

Partner
rcostello@zalkindlaw.com
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(617) 742-6020

65A Atlantic Ave
Boston, Massachusetts 02110

Partner Ruth O’Meara-Costello represents clients in criminal defense, Title IX, and employment law matters. Ruth is a committed and thoughtful advocate for her clients and has achieved significant victories both in and out of court.

Criminal Defense

Ruth’s legal expertise, insight, empathy for her clients, and drive have resulted in victories or reduced sanctions for her clients in criminal matters. Ruth’s criminal defense practice encompasses trials and appeals in both state and federal court, and she has represented defendants charged with murder, stalking, attempted rape, fraud-related offenses, drug possession and conspiracy, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, perjury, violation of a restraining order, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, trespassing, leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, unlicensed taxi operation, vandalism, armed assault with intent to rob, and breaking and entering. In one hotly contested case, she and Elizabeth Lunt tried a first-degree murder case ending in a hung jury and a mistrial.

Ruth has secured favorable dispositions for many clients short of trial or even before charges were brought. Working with clients and their families and friends to craft powerful sentencing presentations, Ruth has persuaded many judges in state and federal court to impose the sentence her client requested. She has successfully prevented the issuance of a complaint in every contested show-cause hearing she has handled, and recently convinced a judge in the state district court to dismiss the charges against her client on the grounds that he had been denied his right to a show-cause hearing. She has also convinced courts to return her clients to probation, avoiding jail time, following even repeated probation violations.

Title IX and Campus Discipline

Ruth’s commitment to individual rights and to due process inform her related work with university students facing disciplinary action at their universities. Ruth has represented numerous students accused of sexual misconduct (sexual harassment or assault) at colleges and universities in Massachusetts and nationwide. She has won numerous cases by bringing a well-developed strategy to each case and helping her clients to marshal evidence and arguments to convince campus hearing boards or investigators of their innocence. Ruth also represents clients already found responsible for disciplinary violations and has convinced colleges to grant her clients new hearings or reduce the penalties against them.

Ruth also assists students accused of other university disciplinary violations, including plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

Employment Law and Civil Litigation

Ruth represents plaintiffs subjected to discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, unequal pay, or other violations of their workplace rights in litigation in the state and federal courts and before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). She also frequently works with employees behind the scenes to help them handle difficult situations at work and preserve their employment or achieve settlements without any litigation. In a recent trial Ruth and Inga Bernstein convinced a jury that an employer had violated the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act by paying her less than a male employee doing the same job. Ruth has secured significant settlements for numerous clients short of trial.

Ruth has represented many university faculty members in court, before the MCAD, and in campus disciplinary proceedings. In one significant case, Ruth and Inga Bernstein successfully defended a female professor’s gender discrimination claims against the university’s motion for summary judgment. In another, she convinced the MCAD to dismiss a false sexual harassment charge against her client.

Prior Experience

At Harvard Law School, Ruth was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she represented clients in domestic relations cases and before the Department of Unemployment Assistance. She was a member of the editorial staff of the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender and a board member of Students Organized for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (STOPDV). Before becoming a lawyer Ruth was a recipient of the Michael C. Rockefeller Fellowship.

Education

J.D., Harvard Law School, 2006
cum laude

A.B., Harvard College, 2002
cum laude

Bar & Court Admissions Commonwealth of Massachusetts
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
Clerkship
  • Chief Judge William K. Sessions, U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, 2006-2007
Professional Affiliations

Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association

Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Board Member (2017-present)

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Boston Bar Association


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