Experience, empathy the hallmarks of Meehan Boyle team

Issue September/October 2017

What types of law does your firm handle?

Meehan Boyle handles all types of wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury and commercial premises disasters arising within most fields of liability, including products liability, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, trucking and automotive litigation, aviation and mass transit disasters, serious bicycling and pedestrian injuries, construction site incidents, and significant medical malpractice cases.

Any areas of specialization?

Over the years, Meehan Boyle has found success in a wide variety of high profile cases, including Boston's "Big Dig" tunnel collapse case, pharmaceutical litigation through to victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, multi-million dollar wrongful death jury verdicts and settlements against national hotel chains, multi-state federal litigation on behalf of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers against military contractors, alcohol hazing cases against national fraternities and universities, and many other such cases. The attorneys at Meehan Boyle are particularly proud of their efforts to contribute to the creation of lasting and sustainable safety policy changes, often through negotiated settlements, making everyone in our communities safer.

What firm attribute do clients find most attractive?

In the thousands of cases that Meehan Boyle has handled for plaintiffs from all walks of life, the most gratifying compliment the firm hears from its clients is that its attorneys and staff are empathetic, caring and supportive. That is crucially important to everyone at Meehan Boyle. The firm counts among its wide family of friends, clients from the 1980s and '90s who keep in touch to this day. That clients, long after their cases have resolved, not only send photos, emails and holiday letters, but also frequently invite both lawyers and paralegals to their children's graduations, weddings and family get-togethers, is central to the spirit and culture of Meehan Boyle.

Briefly describe a recent "win" or client success story that the firm is proud of.

The year 2016 was a notable year for Meehan Boyle. In January, the firm prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court, capping over a decade of litigation and trial against global pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and, ultimately, recovering on a $63 million Plymouth County jury verdict from 2013. Then, in August, the firm's two youngest partners, Peter Ainsworth and Victoria Santoro, prevailed in a drowning case against a national hotel chain and recovered a multi-million dollar jury verdict in both compensatory and punitive damages. While most of the firm's cases - even headlining high-profile cases - result in hard-fought settlements, it is the willingness and ability to take their client's cases to trial and win that makes Meehan Boyle's attorneys proud to be called trial lawyers.

Is your firm regularly active with any charitable or civic organization?

Meehan Boyle is extremely active in the community, most deeply devoted to the support of our state's legal aid societies and all its lawyers serve as leaders in state and national bar associations that strive for access to justice for all. The firm, especially through the efforts and devoted service of lifetime partner John Carroll, is a decades-long supporter of legal aid and policy organizations like Greater Boston Legal Services, the Equal Justice Coalition and Justice Bridge. In fact, in September, John Carroll is receiving the "Catalyst for Change" Award from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

Anything to announce in the coming year?

Meehan Boyle is thrilled to highlight its newest colleagues, second year associates Robert F. Foster and Jessica M. Gray. Rob, a 2016 graduate of Northeastern University Law School, first served at the firm in a Northeastern Law co-op in 2015. Now, while taking depositions, arguing motions and second-chairing trials, he has begun to focus on complex legal writing and appellate work under the direction of Michael Bogdanow. Jessica, a 2016 graduate of Suffolk University Law School and varsity soccer player in college, worked and interned at several well-known law firms during school, but accepted an offer to try cases at Meehan Boyle. She is already excelling with a series of court successes in just her first few months at the firm.

What's one fact about the firm that people might be surprised to learn?

In a close-knit group of lawyers who have practiced law together for decades (and share lunch together every day), people are often surprised at their diversity of backgrounds and outside interests. Leo Boyle became a plaintiffs' lawyer stranded at work with a hundred subrogation files during the Blizzard of '78; John Carroll started practicing law on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation after Wounded Knee; Pete Black flew 150 close combat support missions in Vietnam; Mike Bogdanow, Val Yarashus and Tori Santoro are each accomplished musicians; Brad Henry is a Black Belt and an Eagle Scout; and Pete Ainsworth started with the firm as a volunteer shepherding 20 cases through the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund project. The total is greater than the sum of its parts.

Why is it important to have all the lawyers in your firm members of the MBA?

The MBA is such an important component of the tight-knit legal community in Massachusetts. Lawyers share responsibility for the support and continued advancement of the profession as a whole, and Meehan Boyle feels it is incumbent on all of its lawyers to be involved in its state bar association. Despite rarely growing larger than its current 10 lawyers, Meehan Boyle's 30-year history credits no fewer than three MBA presidents, each of whom passed on a legacy of conscientious bar service and the importance of a unified voice among lawyers.

In what ways do you find the MBA beneficial to the lawyers in your firm?

The benefits of MBA membership are countless, but chief among them is the association's engagement with the community - both our legal community and the larger community of citizens across the commonwealth. The law is a profession of service to others, not only to the judiciary and our fellow lawyers, but especially to our most needy constituents. The MBA fulfills these principles through outstanding educational, outreach and community service programs. Meehan Boyle encourages all of its lawyers to pursue the myriad leadership opportunities at the MBA, so that they can be a part of the future development of the MBA and the profession.