535 Boylston Street
Suite 902
Boston, Massachusetts 02116T: 617.849.7880
Ellen C. Kearns

"Every man or woman who works at a living wage, under safe conditions, for reasonable hours, or is protected by unemployment insurance or Social Security is her debtor."

--Said of Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor from 1933 - 45 by W. Willard Wirtz, Former Secretary of Labor in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations

Ellen Kearns represents management in a full range of traditional labor and employment issues, including NLRB proceedings, negotiations, and arbitration. Ellen has obtained injunctions in labor disputes, and has resolved strike issues. She has appeared before federal and state courts and administrative agencies with respect to employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge cases, wage and hour matters, and other employment related litigation. Ellen is recognized nationally for her wage and hour expertise, having served as Editor-in-Chief of the first, second and third editions of the ABA/BNA Treatise, The Fair Labor Standards Act. She serves as head of Constangy's Boston office.


  • Labor and Employment Law on the Line - An Interview with Ellen Kearns, The BNA Books Monitor, Volume 3 Issue 1, March 2011
  • Focus Areas for Claims - the Latest Legal Developments, presentation at Practising Law Institute (PLI) Managing Wage & Hour Risks 2011, New York, New York, February 7, 2011
  • Wage & Hour Law Overview and Update,presentation at National CLE Vail Conference - Labor & Employment, Vail, Colorado, January 6, 2011
  • The Read Double-Edged Sword: Everything You Wanted to Know About Wage and Hour Hybrids, panel presentation at the 4th Annual Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 6, 2010  
  • Hot Topics in Federal and State Wage and Hour Litigation, presentation at ALI-ABA's Current Developments in Employment Law, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 22, 2010
  • Litigating Wage and Hour cases, panel presentation, MCLE, Boston, Massachusetts, May 4, 2010
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act: Coverage Issues, Exemptions, Compensable Work Time, Webinars, ALI-ABA Course of Study, February 23rd, April 28th, June 23rd, 2010
  • Hot Topics from the Kearns FLSA Treatise, moderated panel discussion for the Federal Labor Standards legislation Committee's Mid-Winter Presentation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 18, 2010
  • Focus Areas For Claims--The Latest Legal Developments, panel presentation, for Practicing Law Institute's, Managing Wage and Hour Law Risks, New York, New York, February 10, 2010
  • Wage and Hour Law Overview and Update, panel presentation at Law Education Institute's National CLE Conference, Vail, Colorado, January 7, 2010
  • "Planning and Managing the Reduction in Force and Furloughs in a Deteriorating Economy," ALI-ABA Conference, July 23, 2009
  • "Wage and Hour Class Actions Brought under the Fair Labor Standards," ALI-ABA Conference, July 23, 2009
  • "Joint Employee Status Under the FLSA," Law Education Institute, January 4, 2009
  • "White Collar Exemptions," ABA Labor & Employment Law Program, September 11, 2008
  • "Controlling the Arbitrative Hearing," National Academy of Arbitrators Annual Meeting, July 2008
  • "War Stories and Analysis: Recent Wage & Hour Jury Trials," American Conference Institute, April 30, 2008  
  • "Record Keeping Requirements Under the FLSA and Their Impact on FLSA Litigation," ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, Mid-Winter Meeting of EEO Committee, March 28, 2008
  • "Directed Verdicts, MCLE Program on Employment Law Trial Skills Master Class," March 13, 2008
  • "Retaliation Under Burlington Northern," Law Education Institute, January 9, 2008
  • "Key Substantive Issues in Wage and Hour Litigation," ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, Annual CLE Conference, November 8, 2007
  • "2005 May Bring Changes To The Federal Minimum Wage," College of Labor & Employment Law, Spring Newsletter, 2005
  • "A New Standard to Determine Joint Employer Status, Bender's Labor and Employment Bulletin," April 2004
  • "The Legal Implications of Non-Traditional Employment Relationships in the Healthcare Industry," American Health Lawyers Association, 2003
  • "The Proposed Section 541 White Collar Exemptions: A Review and Analysis," 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association
  • Off-The-Clock Time: When Is It Compensable?" 2003 National CLE Conference, Labor and Employment Law, Law Education Institute
  • "Wage and Hour Class Actions," 2001 National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute

Awards & Recognition

  • Named to Massachusetts Super Lawyer (2004-2016)
  • Top 50 Female Massachusetts Super Lawyers
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Who's Who Legal USA – Management Labour & Employment
  • The Best Lawyers in America® for labor and employment law (2006-2018)
  • Recognized as America's Most Honored Professionals by the American Registry
  • Received the Cushing-Gavin Award in 1993 for excellence in Labor-Management Relations
  • Received the Lelia J. Robinson Award from the Massachusetts Women's Bar Association for her contributions to women lawyers in October 2006

Professional Activities/Associations

  • Former member of the American Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section Council
  • Past chair of the ABA's Federal Labor Standards Committee
  • Former chair of the Boston Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Former member of the Labor & Employment Law Council, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Admitted to the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers in 2003
  • Section liaison to the ABA Commission on the Status of Women

Civic/Charitable Activities/Associations

  • Elected chair of the Reading Municipal Light Department's board of commissioners, as the first woman to hold that office in the Light Board's 102 year history
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of Regis College

Other Personal Background Information and Interests

  • Ellen enjoys traveling with her family and hiking in the White Mountains.
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