Press Release

Burns & Levinson Partner Robert O’Regan Named NLJ 2019 “Family Law Trailblazer”

April 1, 2019


Burns & Levinson partner Robert J. O’Regan has been named to the 2019 “Family Law Trailblazers” list by The National Law Journal (NLJ) for his “deep passion and perseverance” in pursuit of his mission and for achieving “remarkable successes along the way.”

Over his 30-year career, O’Regan has achieved many pioneering wins in family law, including two recent high-profile and precedent-setting appeals arising from divorce litigation. In Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, O’Regan won a unanimous Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reversal of an Appeals Court’s decision that required his client, Curt Pfannenstiehl, to pay his ex-wife approximately $1.4 million even though Pfannenstiehl could not compel his family’s trust to make a distribution to him. This case has become the definitive law on trust interests in the division of marital assets in Massachusetts and across the nation.

In another precedent-setting decision, O’Regan won a U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit case reversing a $6 million award to the ex-wife of O’Regan’s client after a district court ruled that she was entitled to part of a $20 million bonus her ex-husband received over two years after their divorce. This appellate win shuts down “end-run” attempts by disgruntled ex-spouses to circumvent state court settlement agreements via the federal court. 

O’Regan also serves as mediator and conservator in trust and probate family law cases involving financial exploitation. In 2016, he won a significant Massachusetts Appeals Court victory as conservator for Alice Migell, an incapacitated and elderly widow, upholding recovery of over $2.5 million in pilfered assets and criminal contempt convictions against her son and daughter-in-law who were held responsible. In 2018, he won another case against Migell’s son – who has twice filed for bankruptcy to avoid returning the assets – in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division as he continues to recover his client’s stolen assets.

O’Regan was named a “Lawyer of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2016. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1982, and his M.A. (1979) in economics and his B.A. (1978), magna cum laude, from Tufts University.

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