Emma Quinn-Judge

Picture of Emma Quinn-Judge

My practice focuses on appeals, criminal defense, employment law, and complex civil litigation.

Practice Focus Appeals

As an experienced appellate attorney, I represent clients in both criminal and civil appeals in state and federal court. My criminal appellate work includes both direct and collateral appeals (habeas corpus), and my civil appellate work focuses on employment matters. Because I maintain both an active trial and appellate practice, I am able to provide you with continuous representation from the first court appearance through any appeals, and can ensure that your case is properly litigated to preserve appellate issues. I also regularly contribute friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs on civil and criminal appellate matters.

Criminal Defense

With a broad criminal defense practice in both state and federal courts, I represent clients charged with a variety of crimes, such as murder, motor vehicle homicide, conspiracy, drug possession, distribution, and trafficking, weapons offenses (gun charges), money laundering, fraud (honest services mail fraud, visa fraud, etc.), sex crimes (rape, sexual assault, incest, etc.), assault and battery, operating under the influence (OUI), harassment, and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

On numerous occasions, I have helped clients get their charges reduced or dismissed altogether. My legal work has helped persuade the Commonwealth to “nolle prosse” (drop) charges against my clients. Successes include:

  • Convinced a judge to suppress all evidence in an eight-count firearms case, which persuaded the Commonwealth to drop all charges against my client.
  • Helped convince the Commonwealth to agree to a manslaughter plea in a case where a client was charged with first-degree murder and had confessed to the killing.
  • Won numerous motions to dismiss charges against clients. 
Employment Law and Other Civil Rights

I fight for employees who oppose unlawful employment practices, such as discrimination (based on race, gender, disability, pregnancy, caregiver status, national origin, or age), sexual harassment, retaliation, hostile work environment, wrongful discharge, and violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). I also represent whistleblowers who face retaliation for raising concerns about unlawful conduct by employees. I represent workers in state and federal courts, arbitration proceedings, and before state and federal agencies, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Client successes include:

  • Won a nearly $10.9 million verdict at trial in a race discrimination and retaliation case.
  • Obtained substantial settlements in cases involving whistleblowing, gender discrimination, age discrimination, national origin discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and equal pay violations.
I also help individuals to address workplace problems, and review and negotiate executive contracts and separation or severance agreements. 

Additionally, I represent individuals and entities in complex civil litigation, including in matters involving civil rights statutes, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

Prior Experience

Before becoming a lawyer, I taught fourth grade for three years in Compton, California, as a member of Teach for America.

Professional Activities
  • Member, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • First Circuit Representative, National Employment Lawyers Association Judicial Nominations Committee
  • Co-Coordinator, The Amicus Group
  • Co-Chair, Amicus Committee for the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association (2014 – 2017)
Speaking & Publishing
  • Speaker, Employment Law Update, U.S. District Court Bench Bar Conference (2019)
  • Speaker, Employment Law Update, Judicial Retreat (2018)
  • Speaker, “The Supremes: Employment Cases of US Supreme Court and SJC 2015 - 16,” Boston Bar Association
  • Speaker, 15th Annual Constitution Day, Cato Institute
  • Speaker, MCLE’s Employment Law Spring Symposium
  • Speaker, Springfield Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference
  • Co-author, “Tawdry or Corrupt? McDonnell Fails to Draw a Clear Line for Federal Prosecution of State Officials,” 2015-2015 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 189 (2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America
    • Criminal Defense (2020 to the present)
    • Employment Law: Individuals (2018 to the present)
    • Lawyer of the Year, Boston Employment Law: Individuals (2022)
  • Super Lawyers
    • Criminal Defense (2019 - 2020)
    • Employment (2019 to the present)
    • Rising Stars, Massachusetts (2015 - 2018)
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Top Women of Law (2017)
  • Martindale-Hubbell, Highest Possible Rating - AV Preeminent® (2016 to the present)
  • Boston Magazine Top Lawyers List
    • Appellate (2021)
Why I Became a Lawyer

I became a lawyer because I want to help people fight injustice by protecting their fundamental rights. I enjoy figuring out answers to difficult questions and want to make a positive impact on our society by helping to shape how the law is interpreted.


J.D., Yale Law School, 2005
Editor, Yale Law Journal, Yale Journal of International Law, and Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal

B.A., Middlebury College, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1998
Phi Beta Kappa

Bar & Court Admissions Commonwealth of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • Judge Rosemary S. Pooler, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2006-2007)
  • Judge Michael A. Ponsor, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (2005-2006)
Justia Lawyer Rating
Super Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell - AV Preeminent - Peer Rated For Highest Level Of Professional Excellence 2020
Recognized by Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers - Best Law Firms
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.