Focused on criminal defense, employment, civil litigation, and students’ rights, we stand with you as you seek what’s just and right. We build your case on facts and a passionate belief in justice. For more than 50 years, we’ve helped our clients win when it mattered most. We’re ready to do the same for you.

Boston Criminal And Civil Litigation Lawyers

A winning track record. With over 50 years of experience, our Boston team of savvy, tenacious, and creative trial attorneys will leave no stone unturned in representing you. Our ability to dig into the facts and craft strong, creative, and persuasive legal arguments has led to a strong history of achieving “not guilty” and multimillion-dollar jury verdicts. No matter what, we will work to resolve your case successfully with a creative yet common-sense approach.

Passionate and dedicated advocates. We understand that your life may have been turned upside down and you need effective, powerful representation. Fearless advocacy is in our genes. Rooted in the ideals of freedom and equality that motivated firm founder Norman Zalkind's work during the 1960s civil rights movement, our firm remains committed to justice, helping those who have been treated unfairly, and righting wrongs.

Criminal Defense

As longtime advocates for the rights of defendants, we represent individuals accused of misdemeanors and felonies in state and federal court, both at trial and on appeal. Motivated by a sincere dedication to the rights of the accused, academic excellence, and practical know-how, we will work to protect your rights and to hold the prosecution to its full burden of proof. The criminal defense lawyers at our Boston firm will investigate your case thoroughly to uncover any applicable substantive or procedural defenses, identify relevant evidence and witnesses, and present the most favorable case possible to the prosecution, judge, and jury.

You can turn to us if you have been accused of a state or federal drug crime, such as possession, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, trafficking, or importing controlled substances. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients accused of violent crimes, including murder, sexual assault, and assault and battery. We are also ready to defend you if you have been accused of drunk driving or operating under the influence (OUI).

In the often complex area of white-collar crime, we bring significant experience and knowledge of federal and local courts, backed by a record of notable successes, such as in tax fraud, healthcare fraud, securities fraud, public corruption, and embezzlement cases.

Each situation is different, and our Boston criminal defense lawyers will look closely at your unique circumstances to determine the strongest possible defense.

Employment Law

As nationally recognized Massachusetts employment lawyers, we stand ready to represent you across a wide range of employment disputes involving discrimination and sexual harassment, among other issues. We have won multiple trials resulting in substantial jury verdicts, including verdicts of nearly $11 million, $7.6 million, and $2.2 million in employment discrimination cases. In addition to litigating employment disputes, we review and negotiate employment and severance agreements for executives with employers on behalf of our clients.

Have you been sexually harassed at work? It takes immense courage for an employee to step forward and accuse a coworker, supervisor, or employer of sexual harassment. Sometimes this step comes with significant economic and emotional consequences. We will work closely with you to understand your needs, and will tailor a legal strategy in sexual harassment litigation to make sure that your interests are our priority.

Do you believe you are the victim of sex or gender discrimination? If your employer has terminated, failed to promote, demoted you, or otherwise varied your terms and conditions of employment, and you believe it was due to your sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, we will help you stand up for your rights. Discrimination on the basis of sex or gender is prohibited under both federal and state laws, and we will fight to ensure that you are treated fairly in the workplace and obtain redress for harms you have suffered.

Have you been discriminated against at work due your race, ethnicity, or national origin? If you have faced adverse action in the terms and conditions of employment because of your membership in a protected class, including race, ethnicity, or national origin, we can help determine the appropriate action. Whether negotiating with your employer, filing a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or pursuing a lawsuit in state or federal court, we are in your corner.

Have you experienced pregnancy or caregiving discrimination? Both federal and state laws prohibit pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Employers are required to give employees reasonable accommodations based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, as long as providing the accommodation does not present an undue hardship for the employer. Certain accommodations are required for pregnant employees and employees who have just given birth, even if there is no medical documentation. Laws prohibiting sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination on the basis of parenting or caregiving responsibilities. If you have been subjected to adverse employment actions due to a pregnancy or a related condition, or if you are being treated differently than your coworkers because of your caregiving responsibilities, we can help.

Do you need assistance with pay or severance negotiation? We regularly counsel and represent executives in negotiations involving employment contracts, non-compete agreements, and severance agreements. We may be able to help you negotiate a higher salary or better benefits, keep your job, or increase your severance package.

Student Rights and Title IX

We work with students in primary school, secondary school, and higher education to ensure that your rights to a discrimination-free education are respected, and assist you in contesting disciplinary charges. With decades of experience protecting student rights in campus criminal cases, disciplinary proceedings, and appeals, we can assist you in discrimination matters involving race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and other protected categories. As recognized thought leaders in Title IX cases, we have represented hundreds of students in campus sexual misconduct and school disciplinary proceedings. With our extensive experience in this rapidly-changing field of law, we can provide you with counsel about your rights, serve as advisors in school Title IX proceedings, and represent you in litigation if you are involved in a Title IX matter.

Civil Litigation

We enjoy tackling the hardest legal questions in the most complex civil cases. Our tenacity and legal savvy have enabled us to successfully argue the critical, high-stakes motions that often decide a civil case. Some of our successes include cases involving constitutional challenges to government policies and agency regulatory action, constitutional claims under the state Civil Rights Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), complex tort cases, and contract disputes. Our legal team is ready to take each civil case from filing through trial, and on to appeals if necessary.


As experienced trial lawyers and highly trained legal strategists, we identify compelling appellate issues and know how to present our arguments persuasively to the courts. We can represent clients on appeal in both criminal and civil matters and we also seek to shape the law by drafting amicus briefs for national and local organizations on important legal issues before appellate courts.

Let’s get started

We recognize that no two cases are alike. For every client we represent, our goal is to achieve the best possible results, and we bring our passion, skill, and expertise to the cause. If you are interested in speaking with us about your situation, call us at 617-742-6020 or use our contact form to reach one of our Boston attorneys experienced in criminal defense, employment law, and student rights.

Case Results
Preliminary Injunction Prevents Dismissal of Graduate Student

Naomi Shatz and David Russcol won a preliminary injunction against a local university that attempted to dismiss a graduate student for comments he made online years before he enrolled at the university...

Boston Jury Awards Nearly $11 Million Verdict Against the City

Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah won a nearly $11 million verdict in a race discrimination and retaliation case against the City of Boston...

Acquittal on All Charges in First-Degree Murder Case

In a first-degree murder case, which included charges of armed assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm, Norman Zalkind and Rachel Stroup won...

$7.6 Million Verdict in Employment Case

Inga Bernstein and Norman Zalkind won a $7.6 million verdict in a case charging the MBTA with retaliation against its former Chief Administrative Officer...

1 Legal team with the knowledge, creativity, and tenacity to win
2 Ranked Tier 1 "Best Law Firms" in U.S. News & World Report
3 Over 50 years of experience
Contact Us

Fill out the contact form or call us at 617-742-6020 to schedule your consultation.

Client Reviews
I hired Mr. Duncan to deal with a very sensitive issue that my daughter had. Since the first contact, I had a very good impression of him. He transmitted confidence and appeared to know exactly what to do. I called and emailed him many times, he was polite and comprehensible with the anxiety of a father and appeared to know every step to solve the case. I strongly recommend Mr. Duncan. Flavio Lajoia
If you are reading this review, it means either you or a family member is in trouble and needs immediate legal counsel. Please know your search can end right now because Zalkind, Duncan & Bernstein is the law firm to hire. They are honest, responsive, compassionate and have the experience and expertise to bring... Client
I contacted Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein to assist with a Title IX case. From our initial conversation, Naomi Shatz had a strong understanding of Title IX policies and conducted each step of the process with professionalism, honesty and a responsiveness that did not disappoint. Ms. Shatz displayed confidence and just as important, compassion when needed. Client
I worked with Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah. And from my first contact on the phone, on to my first meeting in their office and during the trial, I found them and the firm's entire team to be a group of consummate legal professionals who are very knowledgeable, patient, dedicated, fair, honest and caring... Chantal C.
I am forever grateful to all the staff at this firm, but in particular, Ms. Shah, Mr. Zalkind and Mr. Silverglate. They represented my son who was being sought for extradition to Scotland. The case took years to fight, covering new legal ground, setting precedence. But each one of these legal eagles went above and beyond the duty of office... Suzanne D.