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The Work Behind The Law Department

Our department is made up of several divisions that work together. Find out who we are and what we do.

The Law Department works for the City of Boston’s government, including:

We offer advice on legal issues related to their work. We do not work with the general public. Our department consists of several divisions.


Adam N. Cederbaum is the Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston. His staff includes:

  • Susan M. Weise, First Assistant Corporation Counsel and Chief of Litigation
  • Caroline Driscoll, Deputy Corporation Counsel
  • Jason Lederman, Chief Governmental Services Division
  • David Fredette, Legal Advisor, Police Department
  • Lisa Maki, Legal Advisor, School Department
  • Edward Coburn, Legal Advisor, Inspectional Services Department
  • Thythy Le, Legal Advisor, Public Facilities Department
  • Kerry Nero, Legal Advisor, Workers Compensation
  • Shawn Williams, Director of Public Records
  • Pilar Ortiz, Chief of Staff, and
  • Patricia Downs, Office Manager.


The Litigation Division defends the City in cases of civil lawsuits. We handle the entire process, from complaint through trial and disposition. We work on a number of civil cases, including:

  • personal injury and torts
  • civil rights
  • employment law
  • voting rights
  • contracts and road defects, and
  • affirmative recovery.

We work in federal, state, and administrative courts. We handle about 1,600 cases each year. Our experience and high standard of ethics let us achieve positive case outcomes.

Government services

Attorneys in this division work as both in-house counsel and litigators. We advise the Mayor and City departments on municipal laws, and offer legal advice on policies and incentives.

Our duties include:

  • reviewing contracts, agreements, regulations, and licenses
  • counseling workers on conflict of interest contracts
  • advising on open meeting laws and City finances
  • advising on telecommunications and elections issues
  • working with departments to buy property and hire employees, and
  • going to court on behalf of the City.


We handle claims against the City by individuals or companies. We try to work with the person filing the claim to get a solution to avoid going to court. If we do have to go to court, we'll represent the City of Boston.

If you want to file a claim, you have to start the process with the City Clerk. We do not process claims. Learn how to file a claim.

You can check the status if you've already filed a claim. Call us at 617-635-4034.

Affirmative recovery

This division files claims and lawsuits to recover money paid to injured police officers and firefighters in cases related to Mass General Law Chapter 41. We try to resolve claims out of court, but we file formal lawsuits when we need to. We also file claims or lawsuits when someone damages City property because of their own negligence.

If you are an attorney looking for information about a claim or lawsuit, you can contact the Affirmative Recovery Division at 617-635-4034.

Tax titles

The Tax Title Division helps the City collect property taxes. When someone doesn't pay their taxes, we’ll review and file petitions with the Land Court if we have to. We work with the Land Court to move cases forward and get a judgment. You can get in touch with us at:

Tax Title Division
1 City Hall Square, Room 615
Boston, MA 02201
Fax: 617-635-4474

Please note: state laws don't allow us to provide legal services to taxpayers. You need to get your own licensed attorney for legal help. We created an overview of the tax title process to give your more background.

Schools legal advisor

The Office of the Legal Advisor works as in-house counsel for Boston Public Schools. We work with the School Committee, superintendents, principals, and administrators. We provide guidance on everyday matters like student record requests and education laws.

We offer representation for many cases, including:

  • personal injury
  • employment discrimination
  • contract disputes
  • special education law, and
  • student discipline appeals.

You can get in touch with us at:

Office of the Legal Advisor

Boston Public Schools

2300 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02119

Phone: 617-635-9250

Police legal advisor

The Office of the Legal Advisor provides legal help to the Commissioner and Boston Police Department staff. We handle litigation cases, including those related to discrimination and employee laws. We also deal with discovery and records request on a daily basis.

You can find our office at Boston Police Department headquarters:

Office of the Legal Advisor
Boston Police Headquarters
1 Schroeder Plaza
Boston, MA  02120
Phone: 617-343-4550

Records requests

You have the right to request records from any of the City’s Departments. You need to contact the department and give them a written request. Your request should include:

  • the date you mail the request
  • the address and name of the department head
  • a detailed description of the records you need, and
  • your contact information.

You should get a written response within 10 calendar days from the department.

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