Attorney Profile

Top Rated Civil Rights Attorney in Haverhill, MA

Marsha V. Kazarosian
Kazarosian Costello & O'Donnell LLP
546 Main Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
T:Work 978-372-7758
F: Fax978-372-9299
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2015
Licensed Since: 1982
Education: Suffolk University Law School
Practice Areas: Civil Rights (40%), Family Law (30%), General Litigation (30%)
Languages Spoken: English, Armenian


Attorney Kazarosian practices in MA and NH in the state and federal courts, litigating civil rights, SEC Whistleblower and Retaliation, and domestic cases. She is the President of the Massachusetts Bar Association and past President of both Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and Essex County Bar Association. 

In 2014, Attorney Kazarosian was appointed by Governor Patrick to the Commission to Study Compensation for CPCS and ADA staff attorneys.  She also serves on the Supreme Judicial Court’s Civil Working Group for the Superior Courts a well as the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Plaintiff’s Policy Task Force and Commission on Women in the Profession – Gender Equity Task Force. From 2012-2014, she served on the Supreme Judicial Court’s Access to Justice Commission Committee on the Bar Examination.  Attorney Kazarosian has served as a Trustee of the MA Bar Foundation and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.  

In September 2011, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly publication identified Attorney Kazarosian as a "Top Woman in the Law" in the Commonwealth.  Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has also named her as one of Massachusetts' Top Ten Lawyers in 1999, noting that she obtained one of the ten highest jury verdicts in the Commonwealth that year. Attorney Kazarosian has  achieved a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ of AV Preeminent 5.0.  

Since 1983, Attorney Kazarosian has developed a wide range of expertise in the areas of SEC Whistleblower Retaliation, police excessive force/civil rights cases, discrimination, and family law litigation. She is an experienced mediator and conciliator in the Superior, Probate and District Courts dealing with such issues as contract disputes, personal injury, and lender liability

In 1999, Attorney Kazarosian and her associate, Janet E. Dutcher, Esquire, successfully sued the Haverhill Golf and Country Club for gender discrimination. This was the first case of its kind to go to trial in the country, winning a multi-million dollar verdict. As a result of much post-trial litigation and appeals that reached the highest court in the Commonwealth, their victory in Borne, et al. v. Haverhill Golf and Country Club, Inc. became a landmark case in the nation for gender discrimination in a country club/membership based setting. Attorney Kazarosian continues to fight against gender discrimination and has affirmed her stature as a leading formidable litigator.

In addition to protecting the rights of women and minorities in membership-based club settings, Marsha continues to fight sexual harassment in the workplace. She has also defended clients accused of discrimination. In 2001, she succeeded in a landmark case defeating claims of disability discrimination against the manager of a racquetball club who was sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act in the case of Kuketz v. Petronelli

Attorney Kazarosian has  litigated a number of high profile criminal cases, including one in which she defended a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in multiple federal criminal indictments. In 1990, she represented one of the three young defendants in the Pamela Smart murder case. Thereafter, she filed suit on behalf of all the boys in an innovative civil action against the Winnacunnet High School for negligent supervision of Pamela Smart. The national attention of the murder case inspired tremendous media coverage including two movies, one with Helen Hunt entitled Murder in New Hampshire, the Pamela Smart Case, and one with Nicole Kidman entitled To Die For. Attorney Kazarosian also appeared in the Oxygen Network series Snapped on the episode about Pamela Smart. It has also been the subject of an episode of American Justice.

Attorney Kazarosian is past President of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA). In June, 2002, she became the second female President in the history of the Essex County Bar Association, the oldest bar association in the nation. She has also served a two year term as one of twenty-five lawyers in the Commonwealth appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's Pro Bono Panel, and a six year term as a Hearings Committee Officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.

Attorney Kazarosian is active in the continuing legal education for lawyers in both MA and NH, and has been a panel participant for the ABA, AAJ,  MCLE, MBA, PESI, and MATA. She has addressed national organizations such as the 15th Annual NCWP Leadership Training Conference 2010, Feminist 2000 National Convention in Baltimore, MD, the Hye Achievers for the 21st Century, and the 11th Annual Armenian Bar Association meeting held in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the time that she invests in the community and in bar associations, Attorney Kazarosian shares her commitment to youth and the law by serving regularly as a Mock Trial Judge for high school, college, and law school students for Boston University, Boston College, Suffolk University, AAJ, ABA, and the MBA's High School Mock Trial Competitions.

She has authored several articles and legal treatises for West Publishing, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), MATA, and others, including a treatise for West's Causes of Action series entitled "Cause of Action Against Private Clubs or Associations for Sex Based Discrimination," (West Publishing Co. 2002). Her articles include, but are not limited to, "Where's the Risk," where she discusses insurer fraud and the New Orleans disaster, and "Whatever Happened to the Right to a Fair Trial," published in the Boston Business Journal.

She is a graduate of Phillips Andover Academy, University of Massachusetts, and Suffolk Law School. 

On January 1, 2014, Attorney Kazarosian formed the firm KAZAROSIAN COSTELLO & O'DONNELL LLP, with Walter A. Costello, Jr., of Salem, MA, and Kathleen M. O'Donnell of Lowell MA.  Both attorneys Costello and O'Donnell are Super Lawyers as selected, and are past presidents of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.  KAZAROSIAN COSTELLO & O'DONNELL LLP has three locations; Haverhill, Salem, and Lowell, Massachusetts. 

Years of Selection

Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2015

About Marsha Kazarosian

Admitted: 1982, Massachusetts

Professional Webpage:

Honors and Awards:

  • Top Women Lawyers in Massachusetts, Boston Magazine, 2013
  • Boston's Best Lawyers, LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®, 2012
  • Top Women In The Law, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 2011
  • Top Ten Verdicts in MA, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 1999
  • Top Ten Lawyers in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 1999
  • AV® Preeminent™ , Martindale-Hubbell®

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Admitted to practice in NH State and Federal Courts, 1990
  • Admitted to practice to US District Court for the District of MA, 1986
  • Admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, 1986
  • Admitted to practice to Massachusetts Bar, 1982

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • President, Massachusetts Bar Association, 2014
  • Supreme Judicial Court Superior Court Civil Working Group, 2014
  • National Council of Bar Presidents Program Committee, 2014
  • American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Plaintiff's Policy Task Force, 2014
  • American Bar Association Gender Equity Task Force, 2014
  • SJC Bar Exam Committee Appointee, 2012
  • Treasurer, Massachusetts Bar Association, 2012
  • Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) Trustee, 2012
  • Vice President of Massachusetts Bar Association, 2011
  • Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Trustee, 2011
  • Secretary, Massachusetts Bar Association, 2010
  • Vice President Massachusetts Bar Association, 2008
  • President, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, 2006
  • President, Essex County Bar Association, 2002

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • Critiqued and taught Family Law Trial Advocacy Skills to lawyers as part of a week-long practical skills course for practicing attorneys, Faculty, Family Law Trial Advocacy Workshop, MCLE, 2012
  • Participated as faculty member of panel providing practical skills and advice for less experienced lawyers as well as law students on the precipice of graduation and starting out in practice., Faculty Member, MCLE's 3rd Annual Pathways to Practice, MCLE, 2012
  • Taught Trial Advocacy Skills and performed presentations of opening, closing, direct, cross, etc., for lawyers in one day trial skills course through MCLE, Faculty, Civil Trial Advocacy Basics Plus, MCLE, 2011
  • Taught segment in day long course offered by MCLE on Trying Your First Case in the District Court, Faculty Member, Practical Skills Seminar, MCLE, 2010
  • Author, Cause of Action Against Private Club or Association for Sex Based Discrimination, West Publishing Co. 2002, 2002

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Summary Judgment dismissal in favor of client/defendant charged with disability discrimination in Plymouth County.  Successfully defended appeal to the SJC.  SJC affirmed. 
  • Not guilty jury verdict for man charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, Newburyport MA
  • Not guilty jury verdict for woman charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and pills,  Newburyport, MA
  • $70,000 settlement for Plaintiff alleging excessive force against an individual police officer in Essex County.  
  • $306,000 settlement of slip and fall case.  Plaintiff fell while purchasing items from Defendant's place of business.  When in the walk-in cooler, he slipped on what appeared to be ice and water on the floor from a leak in the cooling system.  Matter settled prior to filing suit.  
  • $325,000 settlement for a Plaintiff city employee who alleged sexual harassment by her employer, the  city solicitor. 
  • 3.8 million dollar verdict (including interest and attorneys fees award) of gender discrimination and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims filed by nine plaintiffs against a golf and country club in Essex County.  Defendant appealed, lower court affirmed.  Defendant sought Further Appellate Review to SJC.  FAR denied. 
  • $262,000 settlement of gender discrimination and retaliation claims brought by female plaintiff member of a golf and country club in Norfolk County.  Plaintiff alleged that male applicants were offered membership in priority over her application.  Further, she alleged that once she complained to the President about what she perceived to be gender discrimination, she was retaliated against and banned from the club. 

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • AVVO rated 10.0 "Superb" , 2012
  • AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell


Educational Background:

  • Suffolk University Law School, JD, 1982
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst  BA English, 1978
  • Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, 1974
Last Updated: 6/12/2015
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