open menu


Whitmore Recognized for Innocence Work

Named a Lawyer of the Year by “Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly,” she shares 2023 honor with four alumni.

Innocence Program Staff Attorney Charlotte Whitmore has been named a Lawyer of the Year. Photograph by Joshua Dalsimer 

Boston College Innocence Program Senior Staff Attorney Charlotte H. Whitmore and four BC Law alumni were recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as Lawyer of the Year for 2023. Whitmore and alumni Erica Brody ’11, Patrick Hannon ’05, Joseph P. Mingolla ’95, and Bridget A. Zerner ’07 were among twelve honorees.

Whitmore, together with co-counsel Radha Natarajan of the New England Innocence Project, was recognized for her representation of Thomas Rosa. After three trials, Rosa was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Gwendolyn Taylor in Boston in 1985. Whitmore and BCIP joined NEIP as Rosa’s counsel in 2017 and secured his release from prison after thirty-four years on a stay of execution of sentence in 2020. On September 6, 2023, a Suffolk Superior Court judge vacated Rosa’s convictions, finding that the evidence used to convict him had been called into question by new exculpatory DNA testing results and advances in eyewitness science. Rosa now awaits news of whether the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office will dismiss the case or attempt to try him a fourth time.  

Whitmore’s recognition as a Lawyer of the Year is the second for the Law School’s Innocence Program. BCIP Director Sharon Beckman and her co-counsel John J. Barter were honored in 2020 for the exoneration of Frances Choy. Choy and Rosa are among eight clients whose wrongful convictions BCIP has helped to vacate since 2019. 

Erica Brody, a partner in the firm of Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Keston, was honored for her representation of clients who were abused while in foster care during the 1990s and 2000s. Brody and her firm took up their case in 2019, and after four years of litigation, obtained a $7 million settlement with the Department of Children and Families for their clients. 

Patrick J. Hannon, a partner in the firm of Hartley, Michon, Robb & Hannon, won a federal jury award of over $24 million for his client, whose employer failed to provide her with reasonable accommodations for her mental health disability, and then discriminated and retaliated against her. 

Joseph P. Mingola, litigation counsel at Cummings Properties, LLC, won a victory in the Supreme Judicial Court for his client regarding the enforceability of a commercial lease provision.

Bridget A. Zerner, a partner in Markham, Read & Zerner, won a $2 million defamation and malicious prosecution verdict for a client whose former employer falsely accused her of a crime. She also settled another client’s lawsuit against the client’s former attorneys who secured a large settlement for the client but took more than the agreed-upon attorney’s fee.

Read the full story about these and the other awardees in the special edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.