Jen Garner is a confident business lawyer handling sophisticated transactions and the resolution of commercial and business disputes in Massachusetts. Jen regularly represents property owners and municipalities, real estate owners, breweries, developers, quasi state entities, retailers and industry professionals and advises clients involving construction, leasing, permitting, zoning, environmental compliance and other business and institutional concerns.
Drawing on her experience in commercial litigation, Jen regularly advocates for her clients’ investments in real estate transactions before municipal boards and state and federal courts and in thorny contractual and commercial landlord-tenant claims. “My litigation practice is focused on disputes that arise from permitting, land use and environmental regulatory compliance,” Jen notes.
“I distill complex problems into practical strategies and client-oriented solutions and I understand the value of knowing the in’s and out’s of a matter, so that I advise clients appropriately and represent their interests aggressively when needed.”
She recently successfully defended an appeal in a matter where plaintiffs challenged the development of a shopping center, alleging that town officials had given the developer preferential treatment in zoning decisions for the site. She has also represented a developer before a municipal Zoning Board of Appeals involving issues of standing and application of terms defined in a town’s zoning by-laws.
Honors and service to the community and the firm
Jen was selected for participation in the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Women’s Leadership Program, the premier leadership program for Greater Boston’s next generation of women business leaders.
At the firm, Jen serves as chair of the Associates Committee and as co-editor of the firm’s blog LGBTQ Legal Issues, which provides news and analysis on issues affecting the LGBTQ community. She is also a regular contributor to two of the firm’s other blogs – Commercial Real Estate Insight & News and At the Bar with Bowditch, a legal blog for the craft brewing community. She also serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee.
Prior to embarking on her legal career, Jen taught high school Spanish in New Orleans.
Jen is herself a brewer. “I like to find recipes and experiment. I prefer all-grain brewing because it allows for a lot of creativity and I want to grow my own hops some day, part of my do-it-yourself passion.” She’s also fond of cooking, one of the interests she developed thanks to her small-town upbringing.
- Member, The Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association
- Member, Committee for Transgender Inclusion
Articles + Talks
- “The Line Between Help and Harm: The Medical Consensus of Conversion Therapy for LGBTQ Minors,” Worcester Medicine, January/February 2017
- “Contract and tenant brewing: Regulatory, Licensing and Tax Considerations,” Craft Brewing Business, September 9, 2015
- “D&O Insurance for Environmental Liability Exposures,” Corporate Counsel, May 5, 2015
- “Insurance Market Watch: Cybersecurity + Terrorism = Top Concerns for Risk Management,” Bowditch & Dewey, March 23, 2015
- “A Directors and Officers Cheat Sheet on D&O Cyber Insurance,” BoardMember.com, March 2, 2015
- “Off-Campus Student Housing,” The Insurance Coverage Law Bulletin (ALM), October 2014
- “Commercial Landlords & Fire Policies: Increase in Hazard,” Bowditch & Dewey, October 6, 2014
- “Craft Brewer Entrepreneurship: Dual Concepts and Shared Spaces,” The Venture Forum, Worcester, Massachusetts, October 18, 2017
- “New Brewery Bootcamp,” Mass Brewers Guild, Framingham, Massachusetts, July 24, 2017
- Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
- First Circuit Court of Appeals
- D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
- J.D., cum laude, Suffolk University Law School
- B.A., Mount Holyoke College
Helping a new brewery get started
Jen drafted and negotiated a commercial lease agreement on behalf of a new brewery, ensuring language was included to allow the brewery to maintain possession of their fixtures once the lease was terminated. She noted, “Clients are not always aware that many leases are written so that if they make any improvements to the space, the owner of the building can retain possession of the improvements/fixtures at the end of the lease. I wanted to ensure that my client would keep their expensive brewery equipment.”
A stay in a general EPA permit
Jen represented a statewide non-profit group of Massachusetts municipalities regarding a general EPA permit issued under the Clean Water Act. She worked with municipalities and the non-profit to appeal the terms of the permit, on grounds that it impermissibly expanded the permit’s authority under the Clean Water Act. When the Trump administration took office, EPA imposed a stay on the effective date of the permit, allowing the parties to sit down to talk about permit terms. “Having a voice at the table is important for Massachusetts’ towns.”
- Drafted a license agreement for a major life sciences company.
- In a major case, Jen successfully defended a developer’s appeal of the Superior Court’s allowance of a motion to dismiss in a matter where the plaintiffs challenged the development of a shopping center, alleging that town officials had given the developer preferential treatment in zoning decisions for the site. The Appeals Court affirmed dismissal of the lower court case for lack of standing.
- Prevailed on behalf of a developer, successfully opposing a Residents’ Zoning Board Appeal involving issues of standing and the application of the term, “retail health center” as defined in the Hopkinton zoning by-laws.
- For a national retail pharmacy, negotiated and obtained a favorable settlement in a leasing dispute involving payment of treble rent for alleged holdover of premises.
- Obtained a favorable settlement for a national pharmacy in a leasing dispute involving disparate interpretations of option clause.