Mirick O’Connell has decades of experience representing and counseling state, municipal and regional governmental organizations. Our attorneys serve as town counsel, labor counsel, and special counsel to Massachusetts municipal and regional entities. We advise our municipal clients on a full range of issues, including labor and employment law, conflict of interest law, land use, zoning and subdivision control law, collective bargaining, property taxation, public procurement and bidding procedures, designer selection law, public construction law, environmental matters and litigation. We work with town managers and administrators, boards of selectmen and other municipal officials advising them on municipal legal issues. We attend public meetings and hearings; prepare contracts, warrants and orders; and draft special legislation. Our municipal litigation practice includes the defense of civil rights and tort claims, public bidding and public procurement disputes, and labor and employment matters.
Public schools and universities are both educational institutions and employers subject to a myriad of state and federal laws and regulation. We take a team approach to advising and representing the Firm's educational clients. We counsel schools in the complexities of disciplining students, drafting student handbooks and interpreting the Education Reform law. The Firm advises and represents educational institutions on students’ rights issues, including reviewing and revising student codes of conduct, drafting policies under the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, and providing advice on students' participation in athletic and other extracurricular activities. The Firm also advises and represents public schools and universities on the full range of labor and employment issues, including collective bargaining, union grievances and the defense of harassment and discrimination claims.
- Represented a school system in connection with a $35 million acquisition, financing and ground lease transaction for the district’s elementary and middle schools and for the construction of a new high school.
- Successfully defended a municipality facing breach-of-contract claims in federal court following termination of an employee's contract for poor performance; the case was won on summary judgment based on admissions by the plaintiff at her deposition.
- Defended a municipality before the state Civil Service Commission against an allegation of wrongful termination by a former chief of police.
- Obtained a decision from the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission upholding the 60-day suspension of a municipal employee in a case that spanned eight years and involved an interlocutory appeal to the Superior Court in which the municipality also prevailed.
- Successfully defended an unfair labor charge related to a municipality’s decision to lay off police officers and allegations of direct dealing with employees.
- Successfully defended a municipal zoning board of appeals at trial before the Superior Court by proving that the board correctly determined that that plaintiff's construction violated the intensity regulations under the zoning bylaw and constituted a prohibited alteration and reconstruction of a nonconforming use or structure.