Who's Who in the MTA Division of Legal Services
MTA attorneys represent your local association in legal matters and are available to represent you if you have an employment-related legal problem. If an MTA attorney is assigned to represent you, you will be represented at no cost to you, although you must be a member of MTA to receive legal services and you must maintain your membership while your case continues.
The Division of Legal Services is housed in the MTA's Quincy headquarters. Staff attorneys are assigned to assist local leaders in legal issues facing MTA local associations and, if requested by the local association, are also assigned to represent MTA members who have employment-related legal problems.
Lawyers & Staff
- Laurie Houle, Interim MTA General Counsel, joined the MTA in 2010 from the Boston labor and employment law firm, Pyle Rome Ehrenberg PC. She has represented clients before the Division of Labor Relations, arbitrators, and state and federal court. Prior to her employment with Pyle Rome, Laurie worked as a trial attorney with the Federal Labor Relations Authority in Boston and as an attorney investigator at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Laurie is a graduate of Boston College Law School, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Minnesota.
- Ryan M. Leach, Deputy General Counsel, joined the MTA in 2019. Ryan started his career as a public school teacher in Houston, where he taught high school-level theater and speech. Ryan comes from a family of public educators — including his parents, sister and a few cousins. Ryan has practiced law since 2006 and served as the general counsel of the Pasadena Independent School District, extending his career in public education beyond teaching. Ryan also served as the Executive Director and General Counsel for Central Houston, Inc. He has extensive experience with administrative law, public education and school law, election and voting rights law, employment and labor law, nonprofit organizations, and contract, property and criminal law. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Southern University, and he was an adjunct professor of school law at the University of Houston.
- Quesiyah S. Ali joined the MTA legal staff in 2010, after three years in private practice in Worcester. Prior to that, Quesiyah worked for the NLRB in Hartford as a field attorney investigating and presenting unfair labor practice charges. She also clerked for the Superior Court of Massachusetts and worked with a union-side labor and employment law firm in Pasadena, California. Quesiyah is a graduate of the University of Southern California Law School and Wellesley College.
- Jonathan Conti joined the MTA legal staff in April 2015. Prior to joining the MTA, Jonathan was a partner at Feinberg, Campbell & Zack, P.C. in Boston, where he represented private and public sector labor union clients including Teamsters Local 25. Prior to that, Jonathan was an associate at The Previant Law Firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he represented private sector labor unions throughout Wisconsin and Iowa. Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and Boston College.
- Ryan Dunn joined the MTA Legal Services Division in April 2011 as staff counsel. Prior to joining the MTA, Ryan was an associate at a small union-side firm where he primarily represented public sector labor union clients, including education professionals and support staff, police patrolmen and firefighters. A majority of his practice there focused on representing the Boston Teachers Union and its more than 6,000 members. Ryan completed his undergraduate studies at Vassar College and the New England School of Law. While on the staff of New England Law Review, he published a comment on graduate student union organizing at private universities. See Dunn, R., Get a Real Job! The National Labor Relations Board Decides Graduate Student Workers at Private Universities are not “Employees” Under the National Labor Relations Act, 40 New Eng. L. Rev. 851 (2006).
- Mark Hickernell joined the legal staff in 2015, after nearly two decades in private practice representing unions and working people. He has experience litigating in state and federal courts, before administrative agencies, and at arbitration. Some of his cases include: Mass. Nurses Assn v. Commonwealth Emp. Rels. Bd., 77 Mass. App. Ct. 128 (2010) (successful appeal of agency’s refusal to issue a prohibited practice complaint); Mercy Hospital, Inc. v. Mass. Nurses Assn, 429 F.3d 338 (1st Cir. 2005), cert. denied 2006 U.S. LEXIS 3663 (May 1, 2006) (successful defense of arbitration award reinstating RN); Wilson v. Univ. of Mass. and another, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64583 (D.Mass. 2007) (successful defense of DFR claim against union); Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Research, Development and Technical Employees Union, 980 F.Supp. 2d 8 (D.Mass. 2013) (establishing arbitrability of denial of access to restricted area). Mark is a graduate of Ossining High School, Swarthmore College, and Harvard Law School.
- Matthew D. Jones joined the MTA legal staff in 1995. Prior to working at the MTA, Matt was General Counsel of Local 509 of the Service Employees International Union. He is a 1979 graduate of Harvard University and a 1984 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. He has represented the MTA, its affiliates and members in all phases of administrative and court litigation, including arbitrations, proceedings at the Department of Labor Relations, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and Superior Court, as well as in appeals to the Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court. Matt has been a panelist at presentations sponsored by the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations, the National Organization of Lawyers for Education Associations, the New England Consortium of Labor Relations Agencies, Northeastern University School of Law, and New England School of Law.
- Richard A. Mullane has been an attorney at MTA since 1997. Prior to that, Rich was a labor and employment attorney at a union-side firm representing primarily nurses, public safety officers, and other municipal employees. Rich is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.
- Jennifer L. MacDougall joined the MTA as staff counsel in October 2015. Prior to joining the MTA, Jenn worked as an assistant counsel to the Massachusetts Senate, an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and a litigation attorney in private practice. Jenn is a graduate of Harvard University and Notre Dame Law School.
- Ashley Walter joined the MTA in January, 2015 after serving as outside counsel to the MTA for five years as an attorney at Shaevel & Krems, LLP. Ashley has represented clients before the Department of Labor Relations, Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Children and Families, Department of Unemployment Assistance, arbitrators, and state court. Ashley is a graduate of New England Law | Boston and Boston University.