Burton Chandler

Burton Chandler

Of Counsel
Worcester, Massachusetts

Burton Chandler practices in the area of business-related and corporate law, estate planning and trial law with the firm. He is a graduate of Harvard College (cum laude) and Harvard Law School. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Federal Bar. He is authorized to practice before the United States Tax Court and before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also authorized to appear before the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Chandler has been Chairman of the Prepaid Legal Insurance Committee of the Massachusetts Bar Association and a member of the Law Practice Council Committee of the Massachusetts Bar Association. He has taught business law at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA and has lectured before various Massachusetts Bar Association Committees and Worcester County Bar Association Committees. He has been active in numerous civic organizations.

Mr. Chandler has been listed in "The Best Lawyers In America" since 1989. This publication lists the best lawyers that are chosen by their peers. Mr. Chandler has regularly been chosen in the area of business litigation and corporate law. In 1989 he was also listed in the category of estate planners. At that time it was reported that only 26 lawyers in Massachusetts were chosen in two categories and only four lawyers were chosen in three categories. Mr. Chandler was one of the four lawyers. Mr. Chandler is currently listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" in the category of business litigation, corporate law and (as the only lawyer in Worcester County) in construction law.

Mr. Chandler has been lead counsel in many high profile cases. These cases include the following:

  • He successfully represented three African Americans in the Federal District Court, who alleged that the local police used undue force in arresting them. This was the first police brutality case brought against the Worcester Police Department and probably the first case of its kind in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mr. Chandler's clients prevailed.
  • Mr. Chandler represented a young woman who scored a near perfect examination score when applying for admission to the United States Air Force but was rejected because of her physical appearance. At that time there were different qualifications for women who wished to enter the United States Air Force than there were for men. For example, women had to have four pictures of themselves taken in pre-described poses. There were also numerous other requirements for women that were not applicable to men. The case was brought in the Federal District Court and the United States Government conceded, on the eve of trial, by agreeing that the requirements for women would henceforth be the same as men. This case generated national interest, and Bill Moyers, a well-known media person, came to Worcester and produced a national television show of Mr. Chandler and his case.
  • Mr. Chandler represented a tenured professor at a local college whose employment was terminated because, it was alleged, that the college was suffering from serious financial problems. Mr. Chandler represented the professor and the college reinstated the professor, with tenure, when Mr. Chandler asked the court to enjoin the college from continuing athletic endeavors because the athletic program was losing money; and that under the policies of the American Association of University Professors, which governed the college, non-academic activities that lost money had to be suspended before tenured professors were terminated due to financial exigencies.  The City subsequently was ordered to pay the City Clerk's legal fees and expenses to Mr. Chandler.
  • Mr. Chandler represented a woman who was turned down for a promotion to principal of a Worcester High School even though she had the highest score of all candidates who applied for the job. There had never been a woman appointed as a principal of a high school in the history of Worcester. The job was awarded to a male teacher who was very popular and was the basketball coach for a local college in addition to being a teacher in the Worcester School System. The case was brought in the Federal District Court. Prior to the trial the teacher was appointed by the City of Worcester to a very high position in the school hierarchy (the highest ever held by a woman) and the city was ordered to pay her legal fees.
  • Mr. Chandler represented the City Clerk of the City of Worcester who had been the City Clerk for over 40 years. The City Council of the City of Worcester raised certain questions with respect to the authority and duties of the City Clerk and brought suit against the City Clerk in the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mr. Chandler represented the City Clerk whose assertions and positions were upheld by the Court. The city subsequently was ordered to pay the City Clerk's legal fees and expenses.
  • Mr. Chandler successfully represented a local bank that had lent a significant sum of money to a corporation, which was part of a very affluent, and successful corporate group owned by the same shareholders. When the loan became overdue, the borrower pleaded that it had no assets. Mr. Chandler successfully pierced the corporate veil and received a verdict in Worcester Superior Court against a related corporation for the full amount of the loan.
  • Mr. Chandler was lead counsel for one of the parties in a case decided by the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which determined that a father could not disinherit a minor child. The father died leaving a very young child who was born out of wedlock. The child's biological mother had very few assets. The father attempted to disinherit the child even though the father was affluent. The father died. The issue of who would support the child became important. There was a statute in Massachusetts, which, on its face, permitted parents to disinherit their children if they specifically referred to the fact of disinheritance in their Will. This case denied the father the right to disinherit a minor child if there was no one else to adequately support the minor child; and clearly made new law in this area.
  • Mr. Chandler also carries on a significant corporate and estate planning and administration practice.
  • Mr. Chandler represented a client who was immensely proud of his back yard and had planted trees that hid it from his neighbors' homes. It was a large yard and was very carefully landscaped. One of his neighbors cut down a few trees on Mr. Chandler's client's property in order to assist in the building of a swimming pool on the neighbor's property. The statutory rule in Massachusetts dealing with cutting down trees on somebody else's property had been interpreted for decades as to be only the value of the timber or the diminution of the value of the real estate owned by the person in Mr. Chandler's clients position. However, there were only a few trees cut down in this case and there was no real value to the lumber and Mr. Chandler's client's real estate was not diminished in value. Mr. Chandler argued to the Court that the statute allowed other types of valuation formulas and the Court agreed. The jury came in with a verdict of $50,000.00 which represented the cost of truly transplanting large and valuable trees in an effort to restore Mr. Chandler's client's pristine view. The change in the judicial interpretation of the statute came generally known all over the state and there have been many cases since then using this new formula which includes the measurement of the girth of the respective trees and other technical aspects that only a skilled expert witness could testify about.

Areas of Practice

  • Commercial Leasing
  • Contracts
  • Joint Ventures
  • Transactions
  • Business Successions
  • Closely Held Businesses
  • Formation & Business Planning
  • Partnerships
  • Age Discrimination
  • Police Misconduct
  • Religious Discrimination
  • Discrimination
  • Freedom of Press
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Construction Contracts
  • Employment Contracts -- Employee
  • Sexual Harassment -- Employee
  • Wrongful Termination -- Employee
  • Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) -- Employer
  • Employee Rights -- Employer
  • Employment Discrimination -- Employer
  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Child Support
  • Divorce
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Federal Appellate Practice
  • State Appellate Practice
  • State Trial Practice
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Estate & Gift Taxation

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts, 1959
  • U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, 1960
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 1973
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1997
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1965


  • Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • LL.B - 1959
  • Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • A.B. (Cum Laude) - 1956
    • Major: Government

Representative Cases

Representative Clients

  • Construction Industry
  • Automobile Industry
  • Numerous Small Family Owned Corporations


  • Taught, Business Law, Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA (for Two Years)

Honors and Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Worcester Chapter of American Civil Liberty Unions of Massachusetts

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Worcester Jewish Federation, Board of Directors
  • Worcester Jewish Community Center, Board of Directors
  • Jewish Family Service of Worcester Association, Past President
  • Harvard Club Worcester, President
  • Incorporator of the former Worcester Five Cent Savings Bank
  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Chairman, Judicial Practice Committee

Pro Bono Activities

  • Variety of Civil Rights Cases, 1959 - 2009