Leonard H. Kesten is a founding partner at BHPK Law. Over his 35+ year career, Lenny has tried over 150 jury trials in both state and federal courts, and is widely considered by many to be one of the most successful trial attorneys in the Commonwealth. Lenny is not only sought-after for his tireless and effective advocacy, but also for his avuncular nature, and candid and approachable style to litigation. During his career, Lenny has twice been named Lawyer of the Year and has been recognized as one of the Commonwealth’s most influential attorneys by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
At BHPK, Lenny leads the firm’s Municipal Law and Government, Employment, and Law Enforcement practice areas. He is regarded as one of the state’s leading authorities on alleged police misconduct, having represented hundreds of municipal and state law enforcement officials and departments against claims of excessive force and violations of constitutional rights. He also devotes much of his practice to the successful representation of public officials and cities and towns. He is considered an expert in anti-discrimination law and all forms of employment litigation. He has handled many high-profile cases in many areas of the law.
Lenny regularly practices in both federal and state courts, and has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Lenny’s countless appellate arguments have resulted in precedent-setting decisions. Some of his more notable successes include Cuddyer v. Stop n’ Shop, 434 Mass. 521 (2001) (the seminal Massachusetts case articulating the continuing violation theory of sexual harassment), Anderson v. Am. Int'l Grp., Inc., No. MICV200301212B, 2014 WL 1878882, at *1 (Mass. Super. Apr. 8, 2014) (one of the largest bad-faith verdicts in the history of the Commonwealth), Jarrett v. Yarmouth, 331 F.3d 140 (2003) (a precedent-setting case involving the use of Police K9's), Heagney v. Fitchburg, 915 F.3d 805 (2019) (involving the rights of municipalities in making hiring decisions), Porto v Tewksbury, 488 F.3d 67 (1st Cir. 2007) (deciding the rights of Schools in sexual harassment), and Kennedy v Billerica, 502 F. Supp. 2d 150 (2007) (regarding the scope of municipal liability).
Lenny has lectured extensively in the areas of trial practice, civil rights, and employment law. He has also been named a Super Lawyer each year since the award began, is rated a perfect 10 (superb) by AVVO, and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Lenny brings a wealth of real-life experience to his legal career. The son of Holocaust survivors, he and his birth family emigrated to the United States, where he grew up on a farm. Prior to law school, he worked in both the Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Correction, rising to the title of Superintendent, and was a special education teacher in the Boston Public Schools.
Areas of Practice
- Business Disputes
- Child Abuse and Sexual Assault
- Education Law
- Employment Law
- Insurance Defense
- Investigations & Trainings
- Law Enforcement
- Municipal Law and Government
- Personal Injury
- Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
- Northeastern University School of Law, J.D.
- Harvard University, M.Ed.
- University of Connecticut, B.A.
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
- United States Supreme Court
Memberships and Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- Boston Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute
- Federal Bar Association
- International Association of Police Chiefs, Legal Division
- Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association
- Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association
- Over the Hill Basketball