Naomi R. Shatz

Partner
Picture of Naomi R. Shatz
Introduction

My practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of students, faculty, and employees. I represent students at all levels of education from elementary to graduate school who experience discrimination or are involved in disciplinary proceedings. In my employment practice, I counsel and represent employees in negotiations, administrative proceedings, and litigation against their employers.

Practice Focus Student Rights and Title IX

With a national reputation in Title IX law, I represent students, staff, and professors who are either accused or have been the victim of sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus. My experience in both higher education and employment law makes me uniquely suited to assist college and university graduate students, faculty, and staff who may be entitled to protection under both employment and education laws addressing discrimination.

Combining creative legal thinking with a deep understanding of sexual harassment law and sexual assault issues, I will serve as your fearless advocate. I have counseled students making complaints of sexual assault and guided them through their school’s complaint process, and have litigated Title IX claims on behalf of students who were subjected to hostile environments or deprived of access to their education because of sexual harassment or discrimination.

I have worked with numerous students accused of misconduct and served as their advisor in university disciplinary proceedings. In many instances, my clients have been found innocent of the charges against them. I have negotiated resolutions to complaints that protect my clients’ academic records, and, when necessary, have taken my clients’ claims to court.

Representative matters include:

  • Won a preliminary injunction requiring a client’s college to readmit him after it had improperly expelled him for allegedly engaging in sexual assault.
  • Negotiated a substantial settlement on behalf of a female graduate student at a major university shortly before a trial in a gender discrimination case.
  • Negotiated a substantial settlement on behalf of a university staff member in a sexual harassment case.
  • Assisted numerous clients accused of sexual assault who were found not responsible by their schools, and helped my clients successfully defend those decisions on appeal.
  • Negotiated a substantial settlement on behalf of a graduate student at a local university in a race and national origin discrimination case.
  • Represented a graduate student in his appeal from a finding that he committed plagiarism, obtaining a reversal of the finding and the suspension from his program.
Employment and Other Civil Rights

Applying my knowledge of discrimination issues to my employment practice, I represent individuals who face discrimination and retaliation in the workplace based on their race, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. I frequently represent university employees, including professors, staff, and graduate students, and help them assert their rights under both employment and education laws. I have helped numerous clients negotiate separation from their employers and obtain favorable severance packages. I routinely litigate employment cases at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), and in state and federal court. In addition to employment cases, I also represent clients in complex civil matters.

Representative matters include:

  • Secured a client’s reinstatement to a position to which she had been promoted and obtained a significant monetary settlement against the Department of Correction for gender discrimination, equal pay, wage and hour, disability, and FMLA claims.
  • Negotiated favorable settlements and severance packages for clients who have experienced discrimination on the basis of sex, pregnancy, and parenting status.
  • Represented a client in a federal case before the First Circuit Court of Appeals against the Transportation Security Administration. The suit alleged that the TSA’s invasive whole-body pat-down procedures violate traveler’s Fourth Amendment Rights and discriminate against travelers who have disabilities that require them to have metal joint implants.
  • Represented a news reporter in a First Amendment case when he was banned from a regional airport and public meetings related to the airport. We successfully negotiated a settlement that restored his access to the airport and public meetings.
  • Successfully argued dispositive motions, winning motions to dismiss, and motions for summary judgment.

I also handle appeals to the Massachusetts and federal appellate courts, and write amicus briefs on issues relating to my practice. For example, I authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers’ Association (MELA) in favor of a state police officer who had been deprived of a transfer to a more desirable position because of his race and age.

Prior Experience

Prior to joining Zalkind, I was a Skadden Fellow and a staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). In this role, I represented one of the first students in the country alleging discrimination by his school in violation of Title IX for ignoring his complaints of harassment by other students based on a failure to conform to gender stereotypes. I helped this client secure a settlement wherein the school district not only compensated the student but agreed to overhaul its policies and practices for preventing and addressing harassment of students. I also represented New York City public school students in a class-action suit challenging police practices in the schools.

Professional Activities
  • Member, Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Speaking & Publishing
  • Frequently write on legal issues surrounding Title IX sexual assault and sexual misconduct, gender discrimination in educational institutions, and related matters
  • Invited by the U.S. Department of Education to join a group of experts for a roundtable discussion about how best to address Title IX sexual assault and sexual misconduct (2017)
  • Frequently provide my expertise to the press on matters related Title IX sexual assault & sexual misconduct, and other legal issues related to education
Accolades
  • Super Lawyers
    • ­ Rising Stars, Massachusetts (2016 - present)
  • Women Leadership Initiative, Women's Bar Association (Class of 2020)
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Excellence in the Law: Up & Coming Lawyer (2018)
Why I Became a Lawyer

My desire for a career that helped advance gender equity led me to law school, where I worked in women’s rights organizations and legal clinics that focused on women’s rights in the U.S. and abroad. Through my work at the NYCLU on dating violence, sexual harassment, and school-to-prison pipeline issues in New York high schools, I developed a passion for student rights and learned how my individual clients’ cases fit in to bigger picture legal advocacy. Those experiences taught me how to use my deep understanding of anti-discrimination, Title IX, and student rights law to create legal strategies that achieve my clients’ goals.

Education

J.D., Yale Law School, 2008

  • Managing Editor, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
  • Editor, Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal
  • Chair, Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Co-Founder, Yale’s Domestic Violence Clinic

B.A., Barnard College, summa cum laude, 2004
Phi Beta Kappa

Bar & Court Admissions Commonwealth of Massachusetts
State of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Clerkship
  • Justice Ralph D. Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (2011-2012)
News
Super Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell - AV Preeminent - Peer Rated For Highest Level Of Professional Excellence 2020
Recognized by Best Lawyers 2020
Best Lawyers - Best Law Firms 2020
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.