Norman Zalkind, the founding partner of the firm, has tried over 120 jury trials, including many high-profile cases. Norman focuses his practice on criminal defense, including murder cases, white-collar criminal defense, and other serious felony cases in federal and state courts across the Commonwealth. Norman is on the forefront in representing students accused of sexual assault and other disciplinary misconduct on college campuses across the nation. His civil practice includes serious personal injury matters and business litigation.
Norman is recognized by Boston Magazine as a “Super Lawyer”, maintains the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America for both white collar and non-white collar criminal defense, a recognition he has been awarded for 20 consecutive years. In 2013, Norman was presented with the Balliro Award by the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in recognition of a lifetime of dedication and commitment to the rights of the accused.Criminal Defense
Norman has won an impressive number of federal and state jury trials. Norman is a tireless champion for the rights of the accused and is passionate about giving his clients the best defense possible when they have been charged with crimes and their lives and reputations are on the line.
Norman’s criminal cases involve a wide range of offenses, such as murder (including death penalty cases), drug crimes, terrorism, extortion, bank robbery, sex crimes, tax evasion, arson, telemarketing fraud, and Medicaid and securities fraud. He practices in both state and federal courts and handles misdemeanor and felony offenses, as well as related matters like federal extradition.
Norman’s record in trying the most serious cases illustrates his history of success. In about sixty-five percent of 32 murder trials Norman’s clients have either been completely acquitted or have received substantially reduced verdicts. In 2010, Norman obtained an acquittal of all charges for a man accused of first-degree murder where the prosecution’s case included an alleged eyewitness to the crime. Norman has gotten not guilty verdicts in two cases in which the defendants asserted insanity defenses, which are notoriously difficult to convince a jury to accept. In appropriate cases Norman has convinced prosecutors to reduce the charge and to allow clients to plead to manslaughter, which avoids the risk of life imprisonment. He has also won appeals in murder cases and is experienced at preserving the issues at trial that allow defendants to successfully appeal if convicted.
Norman has similarly obtained not guilty verdicts in a number of other serious criminal cases, including white collar cases. For instance, he has obtained not guilty verdicts in a case in which a client was charged with telemarketing fraud and in a major federal racketeering case involving the alleged assassin in multiple gang-related shootings. Norman has represented hundreds of defendants charged with drug crimes involving multiple tons of illegal drugs. He has won multiple motions to suppress evidence and has won reduced sentences for clients facing decades in prison.
In addition to obtaining not guilty verdicts, Norman has secured excellent results for clients in plea negotiations, including the lead defendant in a multi-defendant federal drug case, who received a 5 year sentence even though the relevant sentencing guideline called for 22 years in prison. Similarly, for a client facing federal Medicaid fraud charges involving $20 million, Norman obtained an agreement of a probationary sentence, which was presented by the prosecution on the eve of trial. On behalf of a client facing federal immigration fraud charges that would normally lead to incarceration, Norman successfully received probation for his client.Students’ Rights and Campus Misconduct
Norman believes strongly in students’ rights and for years he has represented students accused of all types of misconduct on campus, including plagiarism, cheating on tests, sexual assault, and even embezzlement. He brings his wealth of experience with the criminal law to these matters, which intersect with the criminal justice system in particularly serious cases.
As campus sexual assault has received enormous media attention and become an enforcement priority for federal officials, colleges and universities have brought increasing numbers of disciplinary charges against students for alleged sexual assaults, including in cases where the facts do not justify such action. Norman has handled numerous cases for students facing sexual assault charges, both during internal college and university investigations and disciplinary proceedings and in the criminal justice system. Norman crafts an individual strategy for each case that considers the factual allegations, the relationship between the students involved, and the disciplinary policies and procedures of the college or university. His strategic approach to these cases has been extremely successful and he has frequently been able to defeat or mitigate the charges.
Norman has worked on many cases where the student has been cleared of wrongdoing or received reduced sanctions. For example, in one sexual assault case, Norman assisted an undergraduate to prepare for a hearing – including preparing a written statement and teaching the student how to cross-examine witnesses – after which the student was found not responsible for assault. In a student theft case, Norman assisted the student in preparing the case and argued the case to the university’s general counsel, demonstrating that the school did not have proof to support its case. The school came to the same conclusion, finding the student not responsible for theft. In a case where a student was charged with academic dishonesty, Norman worked with the student to craft a memorandum accepting responsibility for the action, but by highlighting mitigating issues they were able to keep the sanction to a minimum.Civil Litigation
Norman has an equally broad range of experience litigating civil cases. He has handled many personal injury cases, including a case involving an airplane crash, construction cases, and automobile torts. In a case involving a scaffolding accident on a construction site, Norman obtained an $8 million settlement in the midst of trial on behalf of a bricklayer who was seriously injured in a construction accident. In a case of a pedestrian who was injured as a result of being hit by a hit-and-run driver, he obtained an $850,000 settlement.
Norman has represented plaintiffs and defendants in discrimination, libel, divorce and business litigation cases, including securities litigation. In the case of a client involved in a complicated commercial litigation dispute, Norman won a favorable settlement for the client after taking the case to arbitration. In an employment case, Norman and his partner, Inga Bernstein, won a $7.6 million verdict in a discrimination and retaliation case against the MBTA.
Norman taught criminal trial practice at Northeastern University Law School from 1971 to 1987, and he has lectured at Harvard Law School, Boston University School of Law, and Yale Law School.
J.D., Boston University Law School, 1963
B.A., Boston College, 1960
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Boston Bar Association