Practice Areas: General Municipal, Litigation, Civil Rights, HIPAA, Firearms Licensing and Law Enforcement Matters, Data Privacy, CORI, Constitutional Issues
Attorney Janelle Austin’s practice focuses on general municipal law and civil litigation in state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies. Attorney Austin’s experience includes public records, civil rights, representing municipalities in claims brought under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act and 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) and data, health and personal privacy issues, as well as constitutional matters, employment law, firearms licensing, civil fingerprinting and CORI. She is a founding member of the firm’s Government Information and Access Group and has provided significant support and trainings to municipalities across the Commonwealth in their implementation of the Public Records Law.
She also assists clients with a variety of other municipal law issues, including town meetings, municipal charters and by-laws, conflict of interest, public health and safety matters, the Open Meeting Law, and municipal finance. Attorney Austin has been advising municipalities on COVID-19 related legal matters since 2020, as well as Police Departments’ implementation of police reform and POST Commission requirements.
Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Attorney Austin clerked at the City of Boston’s Law Department. During her time at the Law Department, she worked with attorneys on government transactions and litigation matters, including municipal liability matters, claims under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, employment, and civil rights. In addition, Attorney Austin previously earned a selective fellowship through the Rappaport Honors Program in Law and Public Policy where she worked extensively on an analysis of municipal zoning, subdivision, and environmental regulations. As a law student, she conducted research in concert with a law professor on governmental liability under federal civil rights law.
- Regularly advises and trains clients on complex Public Records Law and Open Meeting Law matters, including administrative appeals.
- Obtained numerous successful results on behalf of Police Chiefs in appeals of firearms license decisions in state and federal court pursuant to G.L. c. 140, §131.
- Advises clients on HIPAA, CORI and data privacy matters.
- Advises school clients on statutory and administrative requirements in the education context.
- Advises clients on Massachusetts civil fingerprinting requirements.
- Advises clients on constitutional matters, including First Amendment considerations impacting public entities.
- Advises clients on data security matters pursuant to G.L. c. 93H.
- Conducts client seminars on privacy and security requirements under HIPAA.
- Advises Police Departments on firearms, statutory compliance and constitutional matters, as well as advising on police reform and POST Commission implementation.
- Obtained numerous no probable cause determinations from the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in favor of employers.
- Spencer Furniture, et al. v. Town of Spencer, Worcester Superior Court, C.A. 2010-00997-D, obtained favorable result for the Town of Spencer following jury trial in claims brought against the Town under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G.L. c. 258.
- Cichocki v. Town of Rehoboth, et al., U.S. District Court, D. Massachusetts, C.A. 12-CV-12010, obtained favorable result on behalf of municipal defendants in claims brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 at Motion to Dismiss stage, which was upheld by First Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Attorney Austin serves as a Faculty Member for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) on Public Records and Open Meeting Law.
- Attorney Austin has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. The designation is bestowed after a rigorous selection process, including independent research, peer nomination and peer evaluations.
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Boston Latin School Association
- Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
- Massachusetts Bar
- U.S. District Court (Mass.)
- First Circuit Court of Appeals
Suffolk University Law School
Juris Doctor, cum laude, 2006
Executive Director of Trial Competitions, Moot Court Honor Board
Note Author, Suffolk University Law School Journal of Trial and Appellate Advocacy
The George Washington University
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, 2000