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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Russell is a civil litigator with over thirty-five years of experience trying cases in both state and federal courts, including many successful jury trials. His practice focuses on business litigation, professional liability, employment, and construction. He also frequently represents executives concerning the negotiation of employment and severance agreements and related litigation matters. As an integral member of the firm's management team, Russell serves on the Management Committee and as co-chair of the Commercial Litigation and Professional Liability Groups.
With the maturation and development of his practice, Russell serves a number of large and small businesses as a principal outside advisor on a multitude of legal matters, including corporate and contract, employment, regulatory, and litigation. He also acts as national litigation counsel for a major professional liability insurer for which he has appeared in twenty-two states.
Recognizing the importance of civic engagement, Russell is an Overseer for the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where he also serves as a member of the Governance Committee. He is also a member of the Hingham Personnel Board, where he is responsible for the town's employee relations, union negotiations, and personnel policies.
Boston College Law School, J.D. magna cum laude (1977)
Harvard College, B.A. cum laude (1974)
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
United States Court of Appeals for the First and Fourth Circuits
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
United States Supreme Court
Numerous pro hac vice admissions throughout the United States
Russell has been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer (top 5% of Massachusetts) by the publishers of Boston Magazine (Every year since the designation was created in 2004)
Russell has been recognized as a "Top 100 Super Lawyer" in Massachusetts (2006, 2008, 2009, 2017, and 2018) and in New England (2008 and 2009)
Chambers USA, Labor and Employment Law (2007, 2008, and 2009)
Russell has received an AV Peer Review Rating, the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Lawyers Directory
Complex Tort Defense
Obtained a Norfolk Superior Court defense verdict for the subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company. Plaintiff subrogated insurance company had sought recovery for a significant property damage loss at a construction site. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour. Judgment entered, dismissing the claim, and awarding the firm’s client its costs.
Successfully defended a Fortune 500 company in a fire case. Court dismissed case following cross-examination of plaintiff's "cause and origin" expert and conclusion of plaintiff's case. Court also enforced award as to client's costs and a partial award for attorneys' fees
Obtained a Suffolk Superior Court verdict for a prominent structural engineering firm. The client had sought recovery of significant professional fees and faced a counterclaim for malpractice relating to the design and construction of a retail superstore. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before awarding the firm’s client the full amount owed, and rejecting the counterclaim.
Successfully defended a $7 million professional liability claim that Lloyd’s of London and a major subprime lender had filed in the Delaware Chancery Court against the insurer broker for the lender. The decision was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.
Successfully enforced an attorney’s right to a shared contingent fee under a contract with attorney’s former co-counsel. Defeated the defense that the firm’s client had committed malpractice in the handling of the underlying matter, and convinced the trial court that the former co-counsel had falsified evidence and committed perjury. Judgment entered for the full amount of the client’s fee, plus all legal and expert witness fees.
Corporate / Transactional
Represented an investor in acquiring a $200 million loan package from a major lender. Representation included negotiating an agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office that permitted the client to acquire the loans free from an injunction that had issued against the seller of the loan portfolio.
Employment Litigation / Counseling
Obtained summary judgment in the Suffolk Superior Court Business Litigation Section (Van Gestel, J.) invalidating client executive's post-employment restrictions as unreasonably broad.
Represent numerous senior executives, from mid-management to CEO level, in the negotiation of employment and severance agreements.
Advise clients and negotiate agreements with respect to stock options and related rights, change-in-control provisions, fringe benefits, and post-employment restrictions and other fiduciary obligations.
Regularly advise small and large businesses on employment issues, and file or defend suits where necessary to enforce or protect client's rights and interests.
Obtained summary judgment in the Suffolk Superior Court Business Litigation Session for a senior executive, reforming the non-competition obligations in the executive’s employment agreement by reducing the restrictive period from five years to eighteen months.
Obtained a Middlesex Superior Court verdict for two dentists who performed a scientific study based on alleged false representations of the defendant. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before awarding the firm’s clients the full amount sought and then doubling the award under chapter 93A (unfair business practices). The Court further awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.
Represented a minority shareholder in a derivative action under Delaware law alleging claims against the majority shareholder for breach of fiduciary duties. After a two-week trial, the court ordered the majority shareholder to issue a significant dividend and to credit the corporation for excessive interest charges on loans.
Insurance Coverage Disputes
Obtained summary judgment in the Superior Court of New Jersey (Somerset County) for a major professional liability insurer that its $5MM policy did not provide coverage for an underlying federal suit but that coverage instead was with the successor carrier. The court further awarded all attorneys fees incurred by the firm's client in defending the underlying claim. The case was resolved just before the court was about to rule on the client's motion for attorneys' fees in prosecuting the coverage action.
Obtained summary judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for a major professional liability insurer defeating coverage for a $3 million claim against an errors and omissions policy. The decision was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Underwriters at Lloyd's vs. National Installment Insurance Services, Inc. 2007 WL 4554453 (Del. Ch. December 21, 2007) and 2008 WL 2133417 (Del. Ch. May 21, 2008) (and both affirmed summarily on appeal by Delaware Supreme Court on November 18, 2008)
Massamont Insurance Agency, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., 489 F. 3d 761 (1st Cir. 2007) (affirming district court)
Massamont Insurance Agency, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., 448 F. Supp 2d 329 (D. Mass. 2006) (Young, C.J.)
Herbert A. Sullivan, Inc. v. Utica Mutual Insurance Co., 439 Mass. 387 (2003)
Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Hall Equipment, Inc., 73 F.Supp. 83 (D. Mass. 1999)
Heno v. FDIC, 20 F.3d 1204 (1st Cir. 1994)
Heno v. FDIC, 815 F.Supp. 507 (D. Mass. 1992)
Saltwater Sportsman, Inc. v. B.A.S.S., Inc., 685 F.Supp 12 (D. Mass. 1987)
Technical Facilities of America, Inc. v. Joseph T. Ryerson & Son, Inc., 24 Mass. App. Ct. 601 (1987)
Bibbo v. Mulhern, 621 F.Supp. 1018 (D. Mass 1985)
Professional Affiliation and Activities
International Association of Defense Counsel, Member
American Bar Association, Member
Massachusetts Bar Association, Member
Boston Bar Association, Member
Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association, Member
Labor and Employment Practice Section of the American Bar Association, Member
Massachusetts Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, Former Hearing Officer
Massachusetts Bar Association Judicial Administrative Counsel, Former Member
Frequently quoted/interviewed in media, including Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, New England Cable News, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.