Jessica Block’s practice focuses on employment and commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and pre-litigation counseling. She is a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Employment, Commercial and International Panels. In addition to her advocacy and neutral practice, Jessica has been retained to conduct internal investigations into a variety of issues.
Jessica provides advice and advocacy for individual professionals, small to midsized businesses, and national and international corporations, in the following areas, among others:
• Covenants not to compete and non-solicitation agreements
• Executive compensation
• Severance agreements
• Change of Control Agreements
• Accommodation for clients with disabilities
• Gender, racial, ethnic, disability and religious discrimination
• Sexual harassment claims and investigations
• Expatriate Employment issues
• Employment contract drafting and dispute resolution
• Breach of fiduciary duty
• Termination in violation of public policy
• Retaliation claims under the antidiscrimination statutes and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
• Wages and Hours Act, WARN Act, ERISA rights and other common law claims
• Family and Medical Leave Act issues
• Worker misclassification (employee versus independent contractor)
Professional Ethics and Responsibility
• Defense of professionals charged with scientific fraud
Legal Fee Disputes
• Disputes among shareholders of closely held corporations
• Joint venture disputes
• Commercial Contracts
• Statutory and contractual indemnification
Her clients include physicians, nurses and executives in the healthcare professions; professors and senior level university professionals; financial services and insurance industry professionals; technology, biotech and biopharma professionals; investment firms; individual lawyers and law firms; medical practices; clergy; C-level professionals across a wide range of industries; start-ups, condominium associations; executive search firms; accountants; not-for-profits; and a broad spectrum of others .
As an advocate, Jessica strives to achieve prompt, practical, cost-effective solutions and closure. Client communication and satisfaction with the outcome are her paramount concerns. Through a reasoned approach, she has settled many matters out of court without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, often preserving past and prospective relationships and avoiding the financial stress and emotional toll of protracted litigation. Where alternative dispute resolution was not feasible, Ms. Block has prosecuted and defended cases in federal and state courts, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and other administrative forums. She has achieved a substantial number of six-figure settlements after litigation commenced and, along with a team of lawyers, a seven-figure settlement in a case involving complicated and wide-ranging issues.
As an approved neutral on the Commercial, Employment and International Panels of the American Arbitration Association, Jessica has been selected as an arbitrator for all manner of employment disputes, including arbitrations involving covenants not to compete, change of control agreements, discrimination claims, FMLA claims, commission disputes, federal and state wage act claims, "just cause" for dismissal, executive compensation contracts, fiduciary obligations in close corporations, and claims arising out of plans governed by ERISA.
Jessica acts an arbitrator for commercial disputes as well, including commercial contract arbitrations, insurance premium and claims handling disputes and claims for indemnification.
Jessica served two terms as a hearing officer for the Board of Bar Overseers. She currently sits as an arbitrator of disputes over attorneys’ fees for the Massachusetts Bar Association Fee Arbitration Board. She has been trained by JAMS as a mediator. As a mediator, Jessica has mediated employment cases, fee disputes, and business cases.
Ms. Block has been practicing law for 33 years, including with several large Boston law firms where she maintained a business litigation practice and handled a wide variety of cases. Since 2006, she has been voted by her peers as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer and listed in Boston Magazine. From 2013 through 2015, Ms. Block has been included in Best Lawyers in America in the field of Arbitration.
She has been AV- rated by Martindale-Hubbell since 1991.
Representative Results and Engagements:
• Achieved numerous six figure settlements in employment matters often through negotiation without filing litigation.
• As part of a team of lawyers, obtained a multimillion dollar settlement in a case involving claims of constructive trust, breach of a partnership agreement, breach of fiduciary duty and other common law claims;
• Achieved several six figure settlements in claims for legal malpractice or overbilling, either shortly after sending a demand letter or after defeating a motion for summary judgment;
• Won a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on entitlement to contractual incentive compensation, resulting in prompt payment in full, with interest, and settlement of client’s statutory claims;
• On behalf of defendant employers or individuals accused of wrongdoing in the workplace, negotiated nominal settlements (substantially lower than a potential award or the legal costs associated with defending the claim), all while preserving the client’s dignity and reputation;
• Achieved six figure settlement in lawsuit for indemnification;
• Achieved six and seven figure settlements and reimbursement of counsel fees in disputes over entitlement to benefits under “own occupation” professional disability policies;
• Represented a South American bank in action against its former president for fraudulent transfer;
• Recovered vacation pay and incentive compensation under the Wages and Hours Act;
• Defeated summary judgment in a frequently cited workplace discrimination case;
• Counseled employers to avoid workplace discrimination lawsuits, Wages and Hours violations, and contractual disputes and kept clients up to date on relevant legislation.
• Conducted independent investigations in connection with claims of gender discrimination, race discrimination, sexual harassment, research fraud and other workplace complaints.
Areas of Practice
- Employment Litigation and Counseling
- Commercial Litigation
- Arbitration and Mediation
- Massachusetts, 1982
- U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, 1983
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 1983
- Supreme Court of the United States of America, 1997
- Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts
- Stony Brook University, State University of New York
- Major: English
- University of Toronto
- Major: English Literature