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Our Attorneys
 Susan E. Stenger

Susan E. Stenger


Office Phone: 617.345.3739
Location: Boston, MA
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Bar Admissions:

U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court


Prior to joining Burns & Levinson in January 2006, Susan Stenger was for many years a Partner at the firm of Perkins Smith & Cohen LLP. Her practice areas include:

Appellate Practice:

Ms. Stenger has extensive successful appellate experience in many subject areas in both state and federal appellate courts. Her recent victories include:

US Gypsum Co. v. Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, 69 Mass. App. Ct. 243 (2007). Ms. Stenger obtained reversal of summary judgment, when the Appeals Court agreed that the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management did not have the discretion to exclude two properties from a Designated Port Area intended for maritime industrial use, and ruled that in any case there was insufficient evidence to support the agency’s decision.

Quinn v. Mar-Lees Seafood, LLC, 69 Mass. App. Ct. 688 (2007). A favorable verdict for our client was affirmed in a contract dispute regarding seafood distribution. The result was enhanced by our cross-appeal when the Appeals Court in effect granted our client declaratory relief going forward, by stating that the parties’ contract is clear that our client is entitled to a lucrative ongoing royalty from certain seafood sales by the other party.

Girard v. Allen, 68 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 (2007) (unpublished decision), further review denied, 449 Mass. 1103 (2007). Ms. Stenger obtained affirmance of summary judgment which declared a trust invalid for lack of sufficiently designated beneficiaries where the decedent had left his Caribbean home in trust for "those who were my friends at the time of my death."

School Committee of Hudson v. Board of Education, 448 Mass. 565 (2007). The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of our charter school client, adopting the argument by Ms. Stenger and her colleagues that the neighboring towns which were contesting the grant of charter on procedural and substantive grounds did not have standing to bring a declaratory judgment action.

Probate Litigation:

Ms. Stenger has handled a wide variety of probate litigation, including will contests, undue influence and lack of capacity cases, fiduciary disputes, trust interpretation matters, spousal elective share claims, pre-nuptial agreement challenges, and constructive trust claims. She has, for example, obtained court approval for early distribution of $19,000,000 in trust assets, obtained permission from the Supreme Judicial Court for cy-pres transfer of significant assets between charities, and won summary judgment in various trust disputes. Ms. Stenger has handled emergency negotiations and immediate trial over the location and religious rites of burial. The Probate Court has appointed Ms. Stenger in various capacities, including Guardian Ad Litem regarding allowance of trust accounts, and Executrix and Special Administratrix of disputed estates.

Entertainment Litigation:

Attorney Stenger's entertainment industry accomplishments include: defeating a Lanham Act recall of a CD of a well-known artist's earliest work; defeating an injunction against a major recording artist's imminent release of a new album; obtaining an arbitration award releasing a band from an independent recording contract; serving as court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem to review children's entertainment contracts; and obtaining injunctive and other relief to protect celebrities' privacy rights. In Ahern v. Scholz, 85 F.3d 774, 796-800 (1st Cir. 1996), a music industry contract and royalty dispute, Ms. Stenger obtained reversal of an unfair trade practices judgment and of a $465,000 attorneys' fees award which had been entered against her client, a multi-platinum recording artist.


Additional Information:




  • 1/6/2014, The Boston Globe - Scammers take aim at aging population
    Susan Stenger was quoted in this article by Kay Lazar.
  • 10/18/2012, Washington Blade - Second Circuit latest to strike down DOMA
    Susan Stenger was quoted in this article by Chris Johnson.
  • 1/15/2007, Boston Herald - A new year, new Naked City adventures
    Susan Stenger was quoted in this column by Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa.
  • 1/12/2007, Boston Business Journal - Rock star's ire is more than a feeling - it's a lawsuit
    Susan Stenger was quoted in this article by Brian Kladko.

Recent Articles and Publications:

Fiduciary Litigation in the Probate Court
MCLE, 2013
Editors: Peter Zupcofska and Lisa Cukier. Other Burns & Levinson contributing authors: Brian Bixby, Elizabeth Crowley, Lisa Cukier, Andrea Dunbar, Tiffany Howard, Robert O'Regan, Sharon Quinan, Susan Stenger and Peter Zupcofska.

Non-Compete Orders in Divorce
Focus [Page 1], Fall 2012

What does the DOMA ruling mean?
The Boston Globe, May 31, 2012

The Massachusetts Divorce Law Practice Manual
Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (MCLE), 2012
Co-editor: Peter F. Zupcofska, et al. Other Burns & Levinson contributing authors: Ronald Barriere, Brian Bixby, Elizabeth Crowley, Lisa Cukier, Robin Lynch Nardone, Robert O'Regan, Susan Stenger, Nancy Van Tine and Peter Zupcofska.

Speaking Engagements:

Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain & Behavior Event, 12.12.2013
Location: Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Role: Speaker
Topic: Capacity, Finances, and the Elderly: Brain Science Meets the Law

More info

Boston Bar Association - Family Law Section Event, 5.10.2011
Location: Boston Bar Association
Role: Speaker
Topic: Ansin and Post Nuptial Agreements

MCLE 14th Annual Family Law Conference 2011, 4.8.2011
Location: MCLE Conference Center
Role: Faculty Member
Topic: Ansin: A Tutorial on How to Write Marital Agreements (Webcast)

Marital Agreements: The New Landscape Under Ansin, 10.28.2010
Location: Boston Bar Association
Role: Speaker
Topic: Supreme Judicial Court's recent landmark decision in Ansin v. Craven-Ansin