Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Loses Accomplished Special Education Lawyer



Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is deeply saddened to announce that Doris R. M. Ehrens, a long-time attorney with the firm, passed away on May 23, 2021. Doris was an outstanding lawyer and litigator, and her accomplishments for our clients in the special education department were numerous and note-worthy. She was a star in the special education realm, but she excelled in many other areas as well. Over the years she was a tremendous help in litigation and other areas in municipal law. She was much admired by her friends, colleagues and clients, who described her as intelligent, focused, thorough, trustworthy and dependable. Doris was a kind and thoughtful person to everyone that got to know her and will be truly missed.


Ms. Ehrens had thirty-eight years’ experience in civil litigation, including public sector (municipal), bankruptcy, commercial/corporate, special education, personal injury (plaintiff and defense), employment litigation, and multiemployer trust fund litigation. She had extensive experience in federal and state, trial and appellate courts. Ms. Ehrens was admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Alaska, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the First and Ninth Circuits. She appeared in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Districts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the United States District Court for the Districts of Connecticut and Western Michigan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court. She also appeared before various state administrative agencies including the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, Housing Appeals Committee, the Appellate Tax Board, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals, and the Massachusetts Committee Against Discrimination. She was associate editor of the legal update of a quarterly periodical for many years, taught business law in an MBA program, and had training in mediation. She had been practicing since 1977, after receiving her J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law.

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Legal Updates


On August 10, 2022, Chapter 177 of Acts of 2022, “An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health” was signed by Governor Baker. For public schools, it has impacts on student discipline, special education services, and emergency response plans. The bill goes into effect on November 8, 2022. Set forth below are summaries of the new law’s impact in the identified areas.

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