David A. Russcol
David Russcol’s practice encompasses all aspects of litigation, from preliminary investigation to filing suit, through trial and pursuing appeals. He focuses on university sexual assault and discipline matters, appellate advocacy, employment and other civil actions, civil rights, and criminal defense. David is quick to grasp complex factual situations and legal principles, but he takes the time to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of his cases. David’s experience clerking for state and federal judges and his attention to detail enable him to make forceful and innovative arguments on behalf of his clients.
In 2016, 2017, and 2018, David Russcol was selected to the Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers.University Sexual Misconduct and Discipline
David is intimately familiar with the disciplinary processes and policies at colleges and universities, especially those used in cases of sexual assault and misconduct covered by Title IX. David has represented students accused of misconduct on campus, as well as students bringing claims of sexual misconduct against others. He has worked with students facing suspension or expulsion, often leading to his clients being found not responsible or receiving a greatly reduced sanction. He represented a student at a Boston-area institution who was accused of having sex with someone who was too drunk to consent; his client was found not responsible. He also worked with a student at an elite graduate school who was accused of drugging and raping a classmate, and due to the use of expert evidence and a careful analysis of the differing accounts, the school found his client not responsible. David also worked with a victim of sexual assault and relationship abuse who brought Title IX claims against her ex-boyfriend, who was expelled as a result. David has represented students at schools in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and throughout the country on allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, cheating, plagiarism, and dishonesty, and has often been able to guide his clients to achieve positive outcomes.Appellate Advocacy
David is an experienced appellate advocate, having argued before the Massachusetts appellate courts and drafted or co-written appellate briefs. He has argued civil cases in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court. In one matter, he prevailed at the Appeals Court on a restraining order appeal, convincing the Court that his client’s actions, even taking his ex-wife’s testimony as true, did not rise to the level that could justify a Chapter 209A abuse prevention order. And he has written or co-written merits briefs and friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of employees and other clients.Employment and Civil Litigation
David has counseled numerous individuals concerning employment issues and has fought to protect employees’ legal rights. David successfully settled a gender discrimination case for six figures before even taking the case to court, and helped negotiate another six-figure settlement for a financial services executive whose employer would not allow her to take FMLA leave for cancer treatment and refused to let her work part-time as a reasonable accommodation. He has helped his clients secure five- and six- figure settlements in overtime, wage, and hour cases. He wrote and filed an amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of organizations including the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association and the ACLU of Massachusetts, successfully arguing that patients qualifying for use of medical marijuana under state law should be protected from adverse employment consequences as a result of their off-site use of cannabis. David frequently handles cases involving employment discrimination, the Massachusetts Wage Act, and other state and federal employment laws. Beyond the employment context, David represented a medical marijuana dispensary in defending against a federal lawsuit seeking to shut down the entire Massachusetts regulatory system for cannabis. He has also engaged in litigation, including discovery and depositions, in state and federal court.Criminal Defense
David’s criminal cases range from the state district court to federal courts of appeal and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. David represented a graduate student in a sexual misconduct case that continued in criminal court after the school concluded its Title IX investigation, and secured an acquittal on all charges. David briefed and filed a motion to suppress earlier in the case that was important to the final result. He enabled a client to withdraw admissions to drug charges and thereby avoid very likely deportation. He has successfully resolved matters including indecent assault and battery, assault and battery, and operating under the influence (OUI) cases in state district court. David has drafted briefs for a federal district court and court of appeals challenging the conviction and sentence in a white-collar criminal case, and his work led to a client’s sentence being reduced substantially by a federal court because he was improperly sentenced as a career offender. David has also advised clients concerning possible sex offenses, assault and battery, potential child pornography charges, and computer crimes.Prior Experience
Prior to joining Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, David served as a law clerk for then-Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts and for Justice Scott L. Kafker, then of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (currently a Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court). After graduating from law school, he was also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where his research focused on cyberlaw issues including technological interoperability and the laws governing bloggers and citizen journalists.
During law school, David was the Submissions Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, and an editor of the Harvard Journal on Legislation. He interned at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, where he successfully defended online critics of an alleged cult from a federal racketeering (RICO) suit, and also worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.
J.D., Harvard Law School, 2007
B.A., Yale University, 2004
magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
State Bar of New York
Bar of District of Columbia
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
- Justice Scott Kafker, Massachusetts Appeals Court, 2011-2013
- Chief Judge Mark Wolf, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 2008
- Scott L. Kafker & David A. Russcol, The Eye of a Constitutional Storm: Pre-Election Review by the State Judiciary of Initiative Amendments to State Constitutions, 2012 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1279.
- Scott L. Kafker & David A. Russcol, Standing at a Constitutional Divide: Redefining State and Federal Standing Requirements After Hollingsworth v. Perry, 71 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 229 (2014).