617.482.8200

Our Firm

Conn Kavanaugh is a Boston law firm that represents individuals and organizations ranging from closely held and family businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Since our founding in 1988, clients have relied on us for practical and realistic strategies to resolve legal issues quickly and effectively, both in and out of the courthouse.

Leadership

Conn Kavanaugh attorneys hold leadership positions in many community and bar organizations, publish articles and speak at continuing legal education seminars. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts appointed one of our founding partners to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (BBO), the official body that investigates and evaluates complaints against lawyers. Several other firm attorneys are hearing officers for the BBO.

Pro Bono Services

Our attorneys provide pro bono legal services in collaboration with a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Legal Food Hub, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, the Women's Bar Foundation, the Victim Rights Law Center, Volunteer Lawyers Project, Health Law Advocates and Discovering Justice.

Awards

  • 2015: Conn Kavanaugh has received a First Tier ranking in Boston for Employment Litigation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for 2015.
  • 2015: Four Conn Kavanaugh attorneys were listed in The Best Lawyers in America © 2015.
  • 2014: The publishers of Boston Magazine selected 16 Conn Kavanaugh attorneys as Massachusetts Super Lawyers. The publication also placed members of our team on its lists of Top 100 Massachusetts Lawyers, Top 100 New England Lawyers, Top 50 Massachusetts Women Lawyers, Top 50 New England Women Lawyers, and Massachusetts Rising Stars.
  • 2014: The American Bar Association's Tort Trial & Insurance Section honored one of our partners with the Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award. 
  • 2013: Law & Politics selected 12 Conn Kavanaugh attorneys as Massachusetts Super Lawyers. The publication also placed members of our team on its lists of Top 100 Massachusetts Lawyers, Top 50 Massachusetts Women Lawyers, and Massachusetts Rising Stars.
  • 2013: The Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association (MDLA) honored one of our partners with the Defense Lawyer of the Year award.

Why Choose Conn Kavanaugh

Boston is home to dozens of excellent law firms. Why should you turn to Conn Kavanaugh for assistance with your legal needs?

Accessibility

Conn Kavanaugh offers a level of accessibility and responsive, attentive service that larger firms cannot match. Maintaining close contact and open communication with clients really matters here. We believe in listening to clients and advising them in specific terms to solve their legal challenges. And we aim to develop an ongoing relationship of trust and confidence with clients, becoming part of their team.

Specialized Expertise

We deliver many of the benefits you might associate with a larger firm — for example, breadth and depth of expertise. Each of our attorneys focuses on a select number of practice areas. Collectively, they give our firm the highly specialized expertise necessary to address wide-ranging client needs.

Transactional Experience

Our business attorneys have decades of experience negotiating deals for acquiring and selling companies through mergers, consolidations and asset and stock transactions. We are strong advocates and skilled negotiators. In addition, we bring considerable value to our clients in getting deals done efficiently and effectively while never losing sight of the importance of identifying and managing risk.

Litigation Experience

The Conn Kavanaugh team includes seasoned former prosecutors and a strong, deep bench of attorneys with civil and criminal trial experience, which equips us to solve complex litigation cases for clients. Some of our attorneys are fellows in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the nation's premier professional trial organization.

Cost-efficiency

One reason so many of our clients choose us is that we staff our cases leanly and charge reasonable fees. In addition, we provide practical and realistic strategies to resolve legal issues quickly and effectively, within budgetary constraints.

Please call us today at 617.482.8200 to learn more about what sets Conn Kavanaugh apart.

Search our Attorneys

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z View All

    Business Litigation

    Our Business Litigation practice group offers the experience of seasoned lawyers who recognize the value of solving problems to promote your business success.

    Read More...

    Anthony V. Bova
    Anthony Bova
    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew Dennington
    Catherine M. DiVita
    Catherine DiVita
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    Kurt B. Fliegauf
    Kurt Fliegauf
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas Gallitano
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin Higgins
    James F. Kavanaugh, Jr.
    James Kavanaugh, Jr.
    Julie  Martin
    Julie Martin
    Mary ('Beth') E. O'Neal
    Mary ('Beth') O'Neal
    Kathleen R. O'Toole
    Kathleen O'Toole
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael Rossi
    Conor  Slattery
    Conor Slattery
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol Starkey
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher Sweeney
    Alexis P. Theriault
    Alexis Theriault
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray Wagner

    Complex Tort Defense

    Since its founding in 1988, a staple of Conn Kavanaugh’s practice has been the defense of business entities in serious and complex personal injury or property damage actions.

    Read More...

    Anthony V. Bova
    Anthony Bova
    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin Higgins
    James F. Kavanaugh, Jr.
    James Kavanaugh, Jr.
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna Matloff
    Kathleen R. O'Toole
    Kathleen O'Toole
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael Rossi
    Alexis P. Theriault
    Alexis Theriault
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray Wagner

    Construction

    Whether you are the owner, design professional, general contractor, project administrator, subcontractor, or supplier on a construction project, our Construction practice will assist you in achieving a successful project outcome.

    Read More...

    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher Sweeney
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray Wagner

    Corporate / Transactional

    Our Corporate/Transactional practice has a broad range of skills. This versatility allows them to remain a principal point of contact with our business clients and to move freely across multiple disciplines to ensure continuity of representation.

    Read More...

    Barry E. Gold
    Barry Gold
    Gregory J. Murphy
    Gregory Murphy
    Bob B. Rosenthal
    Bob Rosenthal
    Neil R. Schauer
    Neil Schauer

    Criminal / White Collar / Regulatory

    We have extensive experience advising businesses and individuals who are the subject of criminal or regulatory investigations or proceedings.

    Read More...

    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas Gallitano
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol Starkey
    Glen A. Tagliamonte
    Glen Tagliamonte
    Kirsten Z. Young
    Kirsten Young

    Employment Litigation / Counseling

    Employers and employees alike look to Conn Kavanaugh’s employment lawyers for advice in navigating the increasingly complex web of state and federal statutes,

    Read More...

    Anthony V. Bova
    Anthony Bova
    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew Dennington
    Catherine M. DiVita
    Catherine DiVita
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas Gallitano
    Barry E. Gold
    Barry Gold
    James F. Kavanaugh, Jr.
    James Kavanaugh, Jr.
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna Matloff
    Mary ('Beth') E. O'Neal
    Mary ('Beth') O'Neal
    Kathleen R. O'Toole
    Kathleen O'Toole
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael Rossi
    Conor  Slattery
    Conor Slattery
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol Starkey
    Alexis P. Theriault
    Alexis Theriault

    Estate Planning / Administration

    Our Estate Planning attorneys help individuals and their families plan for the future and protect their assets. We handle all aspects of estate planning.

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    George M. Ford
    George Ford
    Sheila B. Giglio
    Sheila Giglio
    Gregory J. Murphy
    Gregory Murphy
    Neil R. Schauer
    Neil Schauer
    Kirsten Z. Young
    Kirsten Young

    Family Law / Probate Litigation

    Our experienced Family Law/Probate Litigation attorneys work zealously to ensure rightful asset distributions in these emotionally charged proceedings. Our group handles a wide range of areas including prenuptial agreements, custody disputes, and post-divorce support or estate modifications.

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    Steven O. Anderson-Garrison
    Steven Anderson-Garrison
    George M. Ford
    George Ford
    Sheila B. Giglio
    Sheila Giglio
    Laurel K.  Koes
    Laurel K. Koes
    Christina  Pashou
    Christina Pashou
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray Wagner
    Kirsten Z. Young
    Kirsten Young
    Lindsay  Zelek-Thompson
    Lindsay Zelek-Thompson

    Insurance Litigation

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    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Catherine M. DiVita
    Catherine DiVita
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    Kurt B. Fliegauf
    Kurt Fliegauf
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin Higgins
    James F. Kavanaugh, Jr.
    James Kavanaugh, Jr.
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna Matloff
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch

    Land Use / Real Estate Litigation

    Our Land Use/Real Estate Litigation practice has extensive experience in handling real estate disputes of all kinds and at all levels. We can develop a strategy for your dispute.

    Read More...

    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew Dennington
    George M. Ford
    George Ford
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin
    Conor  Slattery
    Conor Slattery
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher Sweeney
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray Wagner

    Mediation / Arbitration

    Having litigated hundreds of cases, the Mediation/Arbitration practice is well-equipped to effectively value cases to resolve disputes according to your needs and goals.

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    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin

    Product Liability

    Conn Kavanaugh’s lawyers regularly represent manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in defending against product liability claims.

    Read More...

    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin Higgins
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna Matloff
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael Rossi

    Professional Liability

    Our trial attorneys are accomplished in defending claims against attorneys, health care professionals, insurance agents and brokers, and other professionals.

    Read More...

    Anthony V. Bova
    Anthony Bova
    Russell F. Conn
    Russell Conn
    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew Dennington
    Catherine M. DiVita
    Catherine DiVita
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel Fishman
    Kurt B. Fliegauf
    Kurt Fliegauf
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas Gallitano
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin Higgins
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna Matloff
    Kathleen R. O'Toole
    Kathleen O'Toole
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas Peisch
    James B. Peloquin
    James Peloquin
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael Rossi
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol Starkey
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher Sweeney
    Glen A. Tagliamonte
    Glen Tagliamonte
    Alexis P. Theriault
    Alexis Theriault
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray Wagner

    Real Estate

    Our Real Estate practice provides skilled representation in a variety of transactions, including the financing, leasing, acquisition and disposition of commercial properties.

    Read More...

    Barry E. Gold
    Barry Gold
    Bob B. Rosenthal
    Bob Rosenthal
    Neil R. Schauer
    Neil Schauer

    Architects/Engineers

    Conn Kavanaugh has a wealth of experience advising and representing architects and engineers in many aspects of their businesses.

    Read More...

    Russell F. Conn
    Russell ConnPartner
    James B. Peloquin
    James PeloquinPartner
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher SweeneyAssociate
    Glen A. Tagliamonte
    Glen TagliamonteSenior Counsel

    Cannabis

    Read More...

    Anthony V. Bova
    Anthony BovaAssociate
    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew DenningtonPartner
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas GallitanoPartner
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin HigginsPartner
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna MatloffPartner
    Gregory J. Murphy
    Gregory MurphySenior Counsel
    Mary ('Beth') E. O'Neal
    Mary ('Beth') O'NealOf Counsel
    Kathleen R. O'Toole
    Kathleen O'TooleAssociate
    Bob B. Rosenthal
    Bob RosenthalPartner
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael RossiPartner
    Conor  Slattery
    Conor SlatteryAssociate
    Glen A. Tagliamonte
    Glen TagliamonteSenior Counsel
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray WagnerPartner

    Closely Held/Family Businesses

    Conn Kavanaugh’s business attorneys have a broad range of skills and are very experienced in providing legal services to family-owned and other closely-held businesses.

    Read More...

    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Barry E. Gold
    Barry GoldPartner
    Bob B. Rosenthal
    Bob RosenthalPartner
    Neil R. Schauer
    Neil SchauerPartner

    Construction

    Conn Kavanaugh has provided an array of services to private and public clients in the construction industry, including the manufacturers of building materials and systems.

    Read More...

    Kurt B. Fliegauf
    Kurt FliegaufPartner
    James B. Peloquin
    James PeloquinPartner
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher SweeneyAssociate
    Glen A. Tagliamonte
    Glen TagliamonteSenior Counsel
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray WagnerPartner

    Financial Services

    Conn Kavanaugh draws upon a wide range of disciplines to meet the needs of individual and institutional clients in the financial services industry.

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    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew DenningtonPartner
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas GallitanoPartner
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol StarkeyPartner

    Food and Beverage

    Our decades of work in the food and beverage industry, including alcohol regulatory and distribution, have permitted us to gain expertise and insight into the typically fast paced and challenging world of our clients engaged in the food and beverage industry.

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    Anthony V. Bova
    Anthony BovaAssociate
    James F. Kavanaugh, Jr.
    James Kavanaugh, Jr.Partner
    Mary ('Beth') E. O'Neal
    Mary ('Beth') O'NealOf Counsel
    Kathleen R. O'Toole
    Kathleen O'TooleAssociate
    Conor  Slattery
    Conor SlatteryAssociate

    Government

    Conn Kavanaugh provides an array of services to clients in the public sector, including state agencies, municipalities, and public officials.

    Read More...

    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew DenningtonPartner
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Kurt B. Fliegauf
    Kurt FliegaufPartner
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol StarkeyPartner

    Healthcare

    The Conn Kavanaugh team has the skills and experience necessary to successfully maneuver our clients through the increasingly complex and highly regulated environment of the health care industry.

    Read More...

    Andrew R. Dennington
    Andrew DenningtonPartner
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna MatloffPartner
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas PeischOf Counsel
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael RossiPartner
    Carol A. Starkey
    Carol StarkeyPartner

    Insurance

    Our lawyers work with our insurance industry clients in a variety of ways. We represent their insureds in virtually every type of lawsuit for which insurance coverage is available. We represent insurance companies directly in bad faith actions, and in high-exposure losses or losses that present unusual or challenging coverage issues.

    Read More...

    Russell F. Conn
    Russell ConnPartner
    Catherine M. DiVita
    Catherine DiVitaAssociate
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Kurt B. Fliegauf
    Kurt FliegaufPartner
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin HigginsPartner
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna MatloffPartner
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas PeischOf Counsel
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael RossiPartner
    Alexis P. Theriault
    Alexis TheriaultAssociate
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray WagnerPartner

    Law Firms

    Since the firm was founded in 1988, our attorneys have been known as “lawyers’ lawyers.”

    Read More...

    Russell F. Conn
    Russell ConnPartner
    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas GallitanoPartner
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin HigginsPartner
    Julie  Martin
    Julie MartinAssociate
    Thomas E. Peisch
    Thomas PeischOf Counsel
    Bob B. Rosenthal
    Bob RosenthalPartner
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael RossiPartner
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher SweeneyAssociate

    Manufacturing

    Conn Kavanaugh has broad experience in representing the interests and needs of various manufacturers.

    Read More...

    Russell F. Conn
    Russell ConnPartner
    Barry E. Gold
    Barry GoldPartner
    Erin K. Higgins
    Erin HigginsPartner
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna MatloffPartner

    Real Estate

    Conn Kavanaugh has a wealth of experience in the real estate field.

    Read More...

    George M. Ford
    George FordOf Counsel
    Bob B. Rosenthal
    Bob RosenthalPartner
    Michael J. Rossi
    Michael RossiPartner
    Neil R. Schauer
    Neil SchauerPartner
    Christopher K. Sweeney
    Christopher SweeneyAssociate
    James Gray  Wagner
    James Gray WagnerPartner

    Staffing and Recruiting

    Staffing companies and Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) are playing an increasingly important role in many aspects of human resource management, as employers are relying more and more on staffing companies and PEOs for payroll and employee benefit administration, risk management, and other increasingly complex administrative burdens.

    Read More...

    Daniel R. Fishman
    Daniel FishmanAssociate
    Thomas J. Gallitano
    Thomas GallitanoPartner
    Barry E. Gold
    Barry GoldPartner
    Johanna L. Matloff
    Johanna MatloffPartner
    Mary ('Beth') E. O'Neal
    Mary ('Beth') O'NealOf Counsel

    NEWS

    March 9, 2020

    Abutter Must Prove Particularized Injury to Confer Standing in Zoning Appeals

    By Christopher K. Sweeney

    On March 6, 2020, just a day after hearing oral argument, the Supreme Judicial Court reaffirmed the longstanding principle that abutting landowners have standing to challenge the application of zoning bylaws only if they prove that they have suffered a particularized injury because of the alleged violation. In doing so, the Court rejected an Appeals Court ruling that, intentionally or not, conferred automatic standing on abutters to challenge the application of density-related bylaws to residential building projects.

    The Facts

    In 2016, the defendant developer applied for a permit to build a single-family home on a three-acre vacant lot in Sherborn. Sherborn’s building department found that the developer’s proposal complied with all applicable zoning bylaws and issued the requested permit. The plaintiffs, a husband and wife who lived more than 60 yards away from the vacant lot, appealed that decision to Sherborn’s zoning board of appeals. They argued that the developer’s proposal failed to comply with the town’s minimum-lot-width bylaw. The ZBA disagreed and affirmed the issuance of the developer’s permit.

    The plaintiffs appealed the ZBA’s ruling to the Land Court under G.L. c. 40A, § 17 of the Zoning Act.

    The Land Court Action

    As a threshold issue, the Land Court considered whether the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the ZBA’s decision. Under the Zoning Act, abutters enjoy a rebuttable presumption that they have standing to challenge a decision concerning a neighboring property. But this presumption does not confer standing per se. Instead, the defendant may rebut the presumption of standing by showing that the abutter’s claims are not within the class of interests the Zoning Act is meant to protect or by proving that the abutter, in fact, suffered no actual harm. If the defendant succeeds in rebutting the presumption of standing, the abutter must offer proof of a particularized injury causally related to the alleged zoning violation.

    Applying these standards, the Land Court concluded that the plaintiffs lacked standing. Although the construction of a house, as proposed, would of course increase the density of the neighborhood, the court concluded that increased density alone was not a particularized legal injury. And while the plaintiffs did allege that the proposed construction would increase the noise, lighting, traffic, and storm water runoff in the neighborhood, the court held that those increases would, at most, cause the plaintiffs only de minimis injury given that their property was 60 yards from the vacant lot. Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint for lack of standing without reaching the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims.

    Again, the plaintiffs appealed.

    The Appeals Court

    The Appeals Court reached a different conclusion. Rather than viewing density as a neutral term, it concluded that by enacting density-limiting bylaws, the town had declared that an increase in neighborhood density constituted an injury per se to abutters. Accordingly, the Appeals Court concluded that the developer’s violation was sufficient, without more, to confer standing on the plaintiffs.

    This time, the developer appealed.

    The Supreme Judicial Court

    Only a day after hearing oral argument, the SJC issued an order reversing the Appeals Court and affirming the Land Court’s judgment in favor of the ZBA and the developer. The Court indicated that a written decision will follow with the Court’s detailed analysis.

    Takeaways

    The SJC’s quick ruling in favor of the developer seems to send a signal that the Appeals Court overstepped in expanding the scope of abutter standing in zoning cases. While we will not know the SJC’s reasoning until it releases its written decision, this much is clear: The violation of a zoning bylaw, even if proven, does not confer standing on abutters unless they can prove a particularized injury, i.e., an injury apart from the violation’s impact on the community at large. Further, the SJC’s ruling reaffirms that mere impact is not the same as injury. That is, it does not matter that constructing a house will impact the plaintiffs’ view of a vacant lot. The plaintiffs were required to show that the construction would cause them injury in fact, i.e., a non-speculative injury serious enough that the law provides a remedy. Where the plaintiffs’ property was a full 60 yards from the vacant lot, the plaintiffs were unable to make such a showing.

    Aside from resolving this particular case, the SJC’s ruling will have broader implications for the real estate industry. Most significantly, the Appeals Court’s decision – had it been permitted to stand – would have increased the probability of litigation between developers and abutters. Faced with a high likelihood of litigation, developers likely would have eschewed residential construction entirely or increased their prices to offset their legal fees, lost opportunity costs, additional carrying costs, and other costs. Either course of action would have exacerbated the Commonwealth’s already short supply of affordable housing. Fortunately for developers and housing-rights advocates, the SJC stepped in to preserve the status quo.

    Stay tuned for an update when the Court’s written decision is made available.