Municipal and Education Law
For nearly forty years, Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C. has specialized in representing School Committees and municipalities across Massachusetts.
The firm has represented its public sector clients in all of the diverse areas which affect their operation and governance, including municipal and school finance, zoning, land use, tax abatements and collections, contract, procurement, civil rights, collective bargaining and employment related issues.
One major focus of the firm's practice is in the area of labor and employment relations, particularly public sector collective bargaining and practice before Massachusetts administrative agencies, such as the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, the Massachusetts Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, the Civil Service Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. In fact, in these times marked by growing numbers of discrimination claims against public employers, Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C. has successfully defended many of its clients against such claims, often obtaining lack of probable cause findings at the early stages of litigation, thereby avoiding both costly and lengthy proceedings. The firm has also secured defense verdicts on behalf of its School District clients in jury trials in the State Superior Court. The firm has also represented its public sector clients in civil rights trials in the federal courts.
The founders of the firm, Richard W. Murphy and John E. Lamere, began representing public sector management clients at the inception of collective bargaining in the public sector in 1967. Over the years, the firm has represented numerous governmental clients in all aspects of labor relations, from petitions for certification, contract negotiations, grievance proceedings, arbitrations, fact-findings and mediation to labor relations actions, retirement board appeals and associated judicial proceedings from the Superior Court through the Supreme Judicial Court.
An important aspect of our representation is the handling of day-to-day matters, such as counseling clients on bargaining strategies or handling sensitive personnel matters. As a firm, we are as committed to "preventive" law through sound and timely advice as we are to aggressive representation at the bargaining table, before administrative agencies or in the courts.
Murphy, Lamere and Murphy, P.C.'s experience in municipal law, along with its legal expertise and understanding of the nuances of the practical operation of our cities, towns and school districts enables us to provide a unique service to our clients. We have successfully represented municipal clients in matters concerning the judicial review of licensing decisions of boards of selectmen or other licensing agencies and the actions of planning boards and zoning boards of appeal. We have successfully defended claims brought pursuant to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act and the Massachusetts Wage Act. Other matters routinely handled by our firm include review and drafting of warrant articles for town meeting; tax abatements and collections; procurement compliance issues and appeals; amendment and drafting of by-laws; and real estate transactions involving town owned property. In addition to the day to day matters facing all municipalities today, we have also handled selected complex litigation matters on referral from counsel in differing municipalities, including civil rights and fiscal mandates matters.
Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C. represents numerous regional, city and town school committees in labor relations, education, special education and related law. We have long advised clients on the many requirements under Massachusetts General Laws, including Chapter 71, and are well versed in the extensive revisions wrought by the Education Reform Act and the federal "No Child Left Behind" law.
Other areas covered by the firm in its representation of educational institutions include student discipline, public bidding and procurement, public construction, fiscal mandates and budget issues. Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C. has successfully represented school clients in numerous significant appellate cases including: Ryder v. Randolph School Committee (Uniform Procurement Act), George H. Walker and Irene L. Walker Home for Children v. Town of Franklin and Another (allocation of private special education costs), and Nicholas B. v. Worcester School Committee (expulsion and suspension of student). The firm has also represented school committee clients in all aspects of school construction projects, from initial review of contracts to mediation and litigation of contract disputes.
Murphy, Lamere & Murphy, P.C. has also provided special education representation to its school clients since the Massachusetts special education law "Chapter 766" was enacted. Our clients have been successfully represented in numerous complex and challenging special education appeals from the administrative level through the federal and state courts. Equally important in this costly and complex area is the counsel and consultation provided to the firm' special education clients to avoid or manage a special education dispute. Firm attorneys are experienced in other areas pertaining to student services such as student discipline matters, non-discrimination issues under Section 504 and the Americans With Disabilities Act and other concerns which arise involving the legal rights and responsibilities of students.
Clients are served by the firm through a primary contact attorney who is supported by other attorneys who specialize in various areas of municipal, labor or education law. The firm consists of attorneys with memberships in both Massachusetts and federal courts, including the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Firm attorneys provide on-going training and workshops on a broad range of legal and related topics for firm clients.