Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Attorney Presents for the Massachusetts Council of School Attorneys


Attorney Peter Mello from Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP presented an update for the Massachusetts Council of School Attorneys (COSA), which is an affiliate of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC). The program, titled “Emerging Issues in Education Law 2021”, was held at the UMass Club in Boston and was moderated by Attorney Kevin Bresnahan, also of Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP and the outgoing president of COSA. Attorney Peter Mello presented his Update on Masking Legislation and Related School Cases, and discussed his recent win over a lawsuit regarding mask mandates in Massachusetts schools. In addition to Mr. Mello’s presentation, Attorney Michael Joyce of Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce presented the “Title IX Update on New Regulations and Emerging Trends in Regulation”. The General Counsel of the DESE, Attorney Rhoda Schneider, presented the “Update from DESE: Regulatory Changes and Other Issues”. The final presentation was by the MASC General Counsel, Attorney Stephen Finnegan, and was titled “Legal and Legislative Issues Update”.


Mr. Mello focuses his practice in municipal law and general civil litigation, including in the areas of construction, land use and zoning, wetlands and school law, among others. He has advised private clients and governmental entities alike regarding myriad and diverse issues, including employment, energy-related issues, licensing, procurement, public records, meeting procedures, conflict of interest, and many others. He practices routinely before state and federal courts and state agencies in Massachusetts and has written and presented extensively on wetlands, construction and labor issues for organizations such as REBA, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and the Massachusetts Bar Association. Mr. Mello was recognized as a Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers magazine in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Mr. Mello earned his B.A. in Politics, with a Certificate in Legal Studies from Brandeis University and is a graduate of Boston University School of Law.


Mr. Bresnahan practices in the areas of labor and employmenteducation, and municipal law. He has negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of numerous municipalities and school committees, and has represented public employers before the courts of the Commonwealth, in arbitrations, and in a wide variety of administrative proceedings before various agencies. He advises public employers in various aspects of employment law. Among his notable experience, Mr. Bresnahan worked on the successful resolution of a strike by a teachers’ union, including filing a strike petition with the former Labor Relations Commission and working closely with the labor commissioners to craft and obtain a preliminary injunction and contempt order in Superior Court. He graduated from Boston College in 2001 with a double major in marketing and history, and received his law degree in 2005, with honors, from The George Washington University Law School.

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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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