Law Department Overview and Legal Team
The Law Department provides a high level of professional legal services to its clients: the City Manager; City Council; School Committee; all Boards and Commissions; and all various City departments and their department heads, including the School Department.
The Law Department is responsible for providing legal representation and advice to the City in numerous areas of the law, including but not limited to, zoning; employment; civil rights; contracts; tax title takings; workers' compensation; §111F; union negotiations; real estate; administrative proceedings; drafting local legislation; drafting opinions; school law; and defense of various tort claims.
In addition, the Law Department also oversees the Election Office, the License Commission Office, the Tax Title division, the Municipal Hearing Officer Program, the Workers' Compensation office, and in-house nurse case manager and City physician services.
The Election Office is responsible for all aspects of the voting process. Throughout the year, the Election Office registers voters and provides voter lists and other public information. The office also maintains a list of trained temporary poll workers and wardens to staff each precinct.
The License Commission Office services the needs of the License Commission, as well as residents and license holders. The office is staffed primarily by a full-time administrator, along with the assistance of Law Department attorneys and other Law Department support staff. Last year, the office increased public access to all License Commission agendas, minutes and relevant forms by making such material available on its own City web page. Such efforts will continue this year by making the Commission’s calendar and rules and regulations available online.
The Tax Title Division oversees efforts to collect all delinquent tax bills due the City. The Tax Title Division works closely with other municipal offices, most particularly the Treasurer’s office and municipal permit-granting departments such as Development Services. The Tax Title Division also oversees tax title payment plans.
The Municipal Hearing Officer program commenced June 2011. Currently, this program includes appeals for Zoning and Sanitary violations, as well as Animal Control violations, and Parking violations. In the near future, the program will expand to include 21D violations and both Fire and Building Code violations.
The Workers' Compensation Office oversees all injured on-duty claims for the city, school and public safety officers. This office is staffed primarily by a full time workers' compensation agent; a part-time nurse case manager; a part-time city physician; a part-time medical billing claims processor; along with assistance of Law Department attorneys and other Law Department support staff. In recent years, this office has seen great success in overseeing the significant reduction in the average duration of employees receiving injured benefits as well as an overall reduction in the expenditure of such benefits. This office is committed to ensuring that all employees receive prompt, high quality medical treatment.
|Christine P. O'Connor
Christine is a 1988 honors graduate of University of Massachusetts, Lowell where she majored in English and History. At the University she earned a varsity letter in Women’s Division II NECC Basketball and was the 1988 recipient of the English Department Award for Outstanding Achievement in English. She holds an MA in American Studies from Boston College with a concentration on Law and American Literature and a JD from Suffolk University Law School where she received the Justice Lewis F. Powell Medal for Excellence in Advocacy and was a member of the University’s 1993 National Moot Court Team.
Christine has been with the City of Lowell for over fifteen years. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar and has successfully represented the City in several matters before the United States District Court (Massachusetts), the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. In 2004 she was selected by the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of five “Up and Coming Lawyers”. Christine has appeared as a guest speaker on various municipal law issues and has taught Legal Research and Writing at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Christine has also served as pro bono counsel and Board member to the Thoreau Society. She has lectured in both the Old South Meeting House and the Concord School of Philosophy.
|Assistant City Solicitors|
||Rachel Brown is an Assistant City Solicitor in the City of Lowell Law Department. Before joining the City in December 2014, Rachel worked at the class action litigation firm of Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP in Boston, where she specialized in consumer law and employee wage litigation. Prior to that, Rachel was an associate in the litigation department at Foley Hoag LLP. |
Rachel received her undergraduate degree with First Class Honors from the University of Cambridge, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2006. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Rachel was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2013 and 2014. She is active in the Boston Bar Association, and serves as a co-chair of the Antitrust and Business Litigation Committee.
Michael Carlson joined the Law Department in August 2013. Mr. Carlson has a dozen years of experience in civil litigation. He earned his law degree from the University Michigan Law School and his undergraduate studies were at Harvard.
||Hannah Pappenheim is an Assistant City Solicitor in the City of Lowell’s Law Department. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School. Hannah holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bennington College, in Bennington, VT. Before joining the City, Hannah worked with the Division of Administrative Law Appeals in Boston, MA.|
|Elliott J. Veloso
Elliott J. Veloso is an Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Lowell. he received his J.D., cum laude, from University at Buffalo Law School and his B.A., cum laude, from Brandeis University. he is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York.
|James F. Wellock
James F. Wellock is an Assistant City Solicitor in the City of Lowell Law Department. He graduated from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. James is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
|Solicitors Of Council|
|David J. Fenton
||David Fenton served as an Assistant City Solicitor from 1967 to 1980 when he was appointed First Assistant City Solicitor. Since his retirement in 2003, he has served as a part-time Assistant City Solicitor. Attorney Fenton served on active duty with the US Marine Corps from 1956 to 1958 and as a reservist from 1951-1959. He has an undergraduate degree from Tufts University and is a graduate of Boston College Law School. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the U.S. Supreme Court.|