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Ms. Jenness practices in the areas of municipal law, labor and employment, and litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Jenness served as City Solicitor for the City of Methuen, and as Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Lowell.  She has advised municipalities on a wide range of issues arising in areas such as zoning, civil rights, licensing, contracts, procurement, labor and employment, and tort liability.  She has counseled government officials and boards regarding their obligations under state ethics laws, public records laws, and the Open Meeting Law.  She has successfully negotiated a number of collective bargaining agreements with municipal unions. Ms. Jenness has litigated numerous matters and appeared before various state, federal and appellate courts, and state agencies including the Department of Labor Relations, the Civil Service Commission, the Appellate Tax Board, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. 

Before beginning her public/municipal law practice, Ms. Jenness worked in the private sector, both at a law firm and in-house at several Fortune 500 companies, advising corporate entities regarding intellectual property, licensing, and trade secrets.

Ms. Jenness graduated from Georgetown University, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.  She received a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Indiana University.  She received her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was a member of the Board of Student Advisors and taught first-year legal writing. She serves on the real estate advisory committee for Coalition for a Better Acre, a community development corporation based in Lowell, MA.

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St. Mary's Center for Women and Children Diamonds of Dorchester

On October 20, 2016, Attorney Katherine Hesse introduced Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker at the annual St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children Diamonds of Dorchester event which was held at the Westin Copley Place.  Ms. Hesse currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children which focuses on offering innovative and family-centered programs for women and children who have experienced trauma and are living in poverty.  As Governor Baker noted, the St. Mary’s Center has been known for “healing” for well over 100 years.   According to Attorney Hesse, “of the many charities in which I have been involved over the last 40 years of my professional career, St. Mary’s is closest to my heart.”  Other highlights of the evening included Lorrie Higgins receiving the John M. Corcoran Award for Excellence based upon her advocacy of and commitment in helping those most vulnerable in our community.  Over six hundred individuals attended the event, which raised approximately $500,000 for the women and children who rely upon the center.  

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Legal Updates

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Issues Landmark Ruling on Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

In a much anticipated ruling,the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) issued a decision recognizing a potential claim for disability discrimination if an employer terminates or otherwise takes an adverse employment action against an employee who uses lawfully prescribed medicinal marijuana while off-duty.   In short, this decision prohibits blanket restrictions on the off-duty use of marijuana and requires employers to engage in an interactive process to determine whether the off-duty use of lawfully prescribed medical marijuana may be a reasonable accommodation under Massachusetts anti-discrimination law, M.G.L. c. 151B.

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