Attorneys & Professionals

Mary Ellen Sowyrda

TEL: (617) 479-5000

Ms. Sowyrda is a partner at the firm and heads the Special Education Department within Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP, which currently represents approximately 160 school districts and educational collaboratives in the field of Special Education Law.  She is involved in all aspects of litigation including hearings, mediations, pre-hearing conferences with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals and court cases. She provides clients with daily advice on school-related legal issues and deals with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, and other state agencies that involve the provision of special education services to students. She conducts workshops for clients on such special education topics as discipline, inclusion, procedural issues, strategies to avoid hearings and to prepare for hearings, recent trends in the law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act and ongoing changes in regulations. Ms. Sowyrda also conducts workshops on these same topics before national groups such as Lorman Education Services, Inc., and the National Business Institute.  Ms. Sowyrda is a Phi Beta Kappa summa cum laude graduate of Boston College and a graduate of Boston College Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Associations and the American Bar Association, and has been named a Super Lawyer by Boston Magazine for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

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Annual Labor & Employment Law Update Rescheduled to April 26, 2018

April 26, 2018 Program – 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Boston Marriott Hotel, Quincy

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Legal Updates

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DOJ Announces Initiative to Fight Workplace Sexual Harassment

On February 28, 2018, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced an initiative to eradicate sexual harassment in the public sector workplace: the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative (SHWI).  The U.S. DOJ enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against state and local government employers.  Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion; sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. 

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