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Criminal Defense

For over five decades, our Boston criminal defense lawyers have successfully defended individuals accused of crimes in Massachusetts and nationally. Our commitment to individual rights has resulted in a broad criminal defense practice in federal and state courts. We represent clients at all phases of the criminal process: investigations, show cause hearings, grand juries, trials, sentencing, appeals, motions for new trials and to vacate guilty pleas, habeas corpus petitions and violations of probation.

We have been recognized by peers and clients in US News & World Report as one of the best law firms in Boston for non-white-collar and white-collar criminal cases. The firm’s named partners and of counsel lawyers have also been individually recognized by their peers and clients as top criminal defense attorneys in Boston in Best Lawyers in America for non-white-collar and white-criminal collar cases.

Criminal defense has always been at the heart of our mission. Founding partner Norman Zalkind started the firm’s criminal defense practice in Boston in the 1960s representing individuals subjected to mass arrests in the civil rights and anti-war movements, and progressed to successfully try murder cases, drug crimes, white-collar cases, and other serious felonies in Massachusetts and nationally. As more lawyers have joined the firm, we have expanded our ability to successfully tackle large and complex criminal matters, both at trial and on appeal.

Today, all of the firm’s lawyers take on criminal defense cases, ranging from misdemeanors in the state district courts to major federal conspiracy, drug, and white collar prosecutions. Norman Zalkind is a member of Massachusetts’ Committee for Public Counsel Services’ (CPCS) panel of experienced attorneys certified to represent indigent clients accused of first or second-degree murder. Firm partners, David Duncan, Inga Bernstein, Rachel Stroup, and Monica Shah are on the federal Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel, and regularly accept appointments to represent indigent criminal defendants in federal court in Boston and Worcester. Harvey Silverglate, who has particular expertise in white collar criminal defense and authored the 2011 book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, is of-counsel at the firm and partners with us on many of our cases.

Our Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys offer a unique combination of practical expertise, academic excellence, and sincere dedication to the rights of the accused. Our team of twelve lawyers went to the best law schools in the country and includes ten former law clerks, including nine who clerked for federal judges and two for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This training exposed us to the highest levels of effective advocacy. Our lawyers are not former prosecutors, but attorneys committed, many from the time they first sought to become lawyers, to criminal defense. We do not complacently accept the deficiencies of the criminal justice system. We are not intimidated by the government. Instead, we fight zealously for our clients and are always prepared to take their cases before juries of their peers. We are committed to defending our clients’ rights because we know that if we are successful, it not only protects our clients, but protects all of us.

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is important to get legal advice immediately. Call our Boston criminal defense lawyers at (617) 742-6020 or fill out our contact form to get in touch with us.

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 Law in April 2018 to get help for my son on an education-related matter. We worked primarily with Zoraida Fernandez, an Associate, and when needed met with Ruth O'Meara-Costello, a Partner. Zoraida was excellent. The whole process was emotionally exhausting and depressing and Zoraida was the only bright light in all of it... Nancy O.
★★★★★
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.