Michael Stefanilo JR.
Michael Stefanilo, Jr. is a partner at Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten, LLP. To date, Attorney Stefanilo has handled hundreds of cases on behalf of his clients with a distinguished record of success. Impressively, he was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of 25 'Up & Coming' attorneys in the Commonwealth in 2018. He was also named to the National Law Journal's list of Boston's Top 40 Attorneys Under 40, and has been awarded the distinction of being named a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers every year since 2014, recognizing him as one of the top young lawyers practicing in New England.
Attorney Stefanilo is also a distinguished legal scholar. Not only is he a contributing author to Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), he has also independently penned multiple law review articles that focus on LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) legal issues in the law and sexual harassment and discrimination in Massachusetts. His work has been published in well-respected legal journals and has been cited by legal scholars in a variety of other publications.
Attorney Stefanilo is a champion of LGBTQ rights and has represented a number of clients who identify as LGBTQ in lawsuits for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Practice Areas & Record of Success
Attorney Stefanilo represents both plaintiffs and defendants. He concentrates primarily in the areas of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) anti-discrimination and harassment, employment law (plaintiff and defendant), civil rights claims (plaintiff and defendant), personal injury (plaintiff and defendant), and insurance defense. Attorney Stefanilo specializes in the representation of victims of unlawful discrimination in the workplace and in public accommodation. He has successfully represented a number of victims of workplace and public accommodation discrimination/harassment, including those adversely impacted by discrimination based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity, and those subjected to a hostile work environment.
Attorney Stefanilo is particularly sensitive to and aware of the issues presently facing members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community in the workplace and in public accommodation, and is well-versed in handling discrimination and harassment claims based on sexual orientation and sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression.
Additionally, Attorney Stefanilo represents clients, including municipalities, in claims brought pursuant to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, the Massachusetts and United States Civil Rights Acts, and the Massachusetts and United States Anti-Discrimination Statutes. In 2017, in a highly publicized federal case, he prevailed on a detailed and convincing motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of the City of Somerville and its Mayor. The decision received media coverage by the Boston Globe. Also in 2017, he authored and filed two high profile federal complaints on behalf of state troopers who were given illegal orders to alter and shred official documents. His work received local, national, and international press coverage and resulted in investigations by Ethics and the Attorney General.
Attorney Stefanilo has also successfully represented a number of clients in cases involving the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute and laws governing unfair and deceptive business practices. He acted as co-counsel for the plaintiffs in a high-profile federal litigation involving Uber Technologies, Inc., and has represented a number of businesses against consumer-based claims under M.G.L. c. 93A. Attorney Stefanilo has also performed litigation work for high profile estates of professional athletes.
Attorney Stefanilo has an impressive record of settling cases in favor of his clients without subjecting them to the entire litigation process through zealous representation. In 2013, after prevailing in a number of decidedly contentious discovery disputes, he obtained a significant settlement on behalf of a female victim of sexual harassment and retaliation in the corporate workplace. In 2015, he negotiated two notable settlements on behalf of a pair of female victims of sex/gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and a hostile work environment. In 2016, Attorney Stefanilo successfully settled a difficult case on behalf of a client who was discriminated against by her corporate employer based on her gender identity, and in 2018, he was also able to achieve a favorable settlement for a client who was discriminated against based on their gender identity and preference.
Attorney Stefanilo's personal injury record is also first-rate for both his plaintiff and defense clients. Recently, he obtained a very favorable settlement for two of his clients who had lost their home and possessions in a devastating Back Bay fire. Additionally, he has achieved dismissal of a number of property damage and personal injury claims against his defense clients based on intricate legal interpretations of governing documents, including convoluted commercial and residential leases and condominium by-laws.
Not only has Attorney Stefanilo been highly successful in achieving the dismissal of complex litigation claims brought against his clients at both the motion to dismiss and summary judgment stages, he also has successfully served as co-counsel in a number of jury trials. In 2016, Attorney Stefanilo served as co-counsel in a four-week long, high-profile federal court trial where he and Attorney Leonard Kesten obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of an off-duty Cambridge police officer who was falsely accused of using racial epithets. Later in 2016, he and Attorney Kesten again obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of a former municipal Chief of Police who was falsely accused of using a racial epithet and, as a result, was alleged to have retaliated against a former employee. In 2019, Attorney Stefanilo served as co-counsel in a defamation trial which resulted in a jury verdict in favor of his client in excess of $750,000, inclusive of interest. The verdict received press coverage in the Boston Globe and Herald, and on Fox25 News.
Attorney Stefanilo's pro bono work to date includes the representation of a Massachusetts LGBTQ domestic violence organization in the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and, in 2015, he was trained to represent victims of domestic abuse as part of the Middlesex District Attorneys Office 209A Pro Bono Program.
Prior to joining BHPK, Attorney Stefanilo worked as a law clerk for GLAD ("Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders", now known as "GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders"), where he asssisted in analyzing various legal issues facing the LGBTQ community, including participation in GLAD's successful and nationally recognized challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. Attorney Stefanilo also spent three months clerking for the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Publications, Awards, and Honors
In 2018, Attorney Stefanilo was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of 25 'Up & Coming' attorneys in the Commonwealth. The National Law Journal distinguished Attorney Stefanilo as one of Boston's Top 40 Attorneys Under 40. Additionally, he has consistently been awarded the designation of "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers since 2014, recognizing him as one of New England's best young attorneys.
In 2018, he authored an article that was published in the Northeastern University Law Review regarding recent developments in the law under M.G.L. Chapter 214, Section 1C (governing sexual harassment of students by teachers/professors in the educational setting/municipal context). His article can be accessed here: http://nulawreview.org/extralegalrecent/2018/1/16/stefanilo-bad-teacher.
In 2013, Attorney Stefanilo authored an article, titled If You Can Play . . . You Can Play - An Exploration of the Current Culture Surrounding Gay Athletes in Professional Sports with a Particular Focus on Apilado v. NAGAAA. His article was published in the Sports Lawyers Journal in April of 2013, 20 Sports Law. J. 21. His article has been cited as an authority by scholars in publications focused on LGBT related issues in sports.
In 2012, Attorney Stefanilo was awarded first place in the Annual Michael Greenberg Law Student Writing Competition, a national writing competition focusing specifically on LGBT issues in the law. His award-winning piece, Identity Interrupted: The Parental Notification Requirement of the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law, was published in the spring of 2012 in the Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality, 21 Tul. J. L. & Sexuality 125. His work has been cited by a number of other scholars focusing on anti-bullying legislation and the protection of minors.
Attorney Stefanilo is also a contributing author to Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, particularly its School Law text. Within the firm, he manages BHPK's law student internship program.
Attorney Stefanilo is a graduate of Boston College and Phillips Exeter Academy. In May 2012, he received his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. He served as the Managing Editor of the Northeastern University Law Review for 2011-2012, and was a teaching assistant for the Legal Research and Writing Program.
As a law student, Attorney Stefanilo was also an active member of the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, serving two terms on the Board as a student representative from 2009-2011, and the National LGBT Bar Association, where he served a yearlong term on the organization's Law Student Congress in 2010-2011.
Attorney Stefanilo is a longtime member of the Boston-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, FLAG (Friends, Lesbians, and Gays) Flag Football, and served three terms on its Board of Directors (2014-2017). He was a pivotal part of the organization's successful effort to bring the NGFFL (National Gay Flag Football League) International Tournament to Boston in 2017. All four major sports teams, including the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and Boston Celtics, sponsored the tournament.
Areas Of Practice
- Employment Discrimination and Retaliation (race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression)
- Civil Rights
- Consumer Protection (M.G.L. c. 93A & M.G.L. c. 176D)
- Discrimination in Public Accommodation
- Insurance Defense
- LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) Rights
- Personal Injury
- Property Damage
- Wage & Hour
- Massachusetts, 2012
- U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, 2013
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 2013
- Supreme Court of the United States of America, 2018
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association