Brooks & DeRensis, P.C. today announced the relocation of its Boston office in the Financial District to 260 Franklin Street, Suite 700. Steven Brooks, Managing Partner announced the move stating, “Although we have all been dealing with the terrible COIVD-19 crisis and changing office work environment, our growing business still dictated that we needed more space and offices for our new counsel additions and staff as we emerge from the pandemic.”

John Ruggieri, BD’s Real Estate Group leader negotiated the firm’s new lease with the assistance of Colliers International’s Peter Conlin out of the Boston based Collier’s office. Ruggieri noted, “The dynamics of the downtown office market changes due to the pandemic provided an opportunity for BD Law to increase our space, remain in our desired (Financial District) location, and moreover, move to an “A” rated building, with tremendous amenities for our employees and clients.” He continued, with Conlin’s assistance, we were able to obtain a great workable firm floor layout, excellent lease terms, and a stable future for the firm’s home for years to come.”

Brooks & DeRensis, P.C. is a general practice law firm with areas of concentration including: Municipal Law, Litigation, Real Estate, Business and Corporate, Labor and Employment, Insurance Advisory and Immigration Law. The firm also maintains a satellite office in Wakefield, MA. The firm’s size increased in 2020 to 14 attorneys.

Breaking News

July 14, 2020 at 3:00 p.m., in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a hearing involving litigation filed by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology challenging DHS’s July 6, 2020, international student guidance, DHS has agreed to fully rescind the July 6, 2020, ICE guidance and the July 7, 2020, Frequently Asked Questions, and rescind all implementing guidance. The status quo based upon the agency’s March 13, 2020 guidance will remain in force.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) instituted a temporary exemption regarding online study policy for the 2020 spring and summer semesters. This policy permits F-1 and M-1 foreign students to take more online courses than normally allowed for purposes of maintaining a full course of study to maintain their non-immigrant student visa status during the COVID-19 emergency. Then, on July 6, 2020 ICE announced a change in policy for the fall 2020 semester: “Students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The US Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures…Students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online…  Students attending schools adopting a hybrid-model…will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online…” Harvard and MIT petitioned the federal court for a temporary restraining order pausing the enforcement of this policy. They were joined by fifty-nine more schools which filed an amicus brief. The Trump administration agreed to rescind these rules today.

Brooks and DeRensis, PC is pleased to announce the expansion of our Real Estate Group practice to include Stephanie Petty, Esq.

Stephanie brings extensive experience in advising both buyers and sellers in residential real estate transactions, including real estate (lender) closings.  Stephanie also represents an impressive array of real estate developers in connection with condominium conversions, including advice as to Limited Liability Company setups, and like vehicles for development and financing of real estate projects.

In assisting buyers and sellers of real estate from “offer” to “closing”, Stephanie’s additional experience with Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), and probate administration also comes into play to allow a complete solution to client’s and property owner’s legal needs.

Stephanie will be joining Real Estate Group Leader John GF Ruggieri in the expansion of  BD Law’s residential and commercial real estate development practice.  The firm represents developers, lenders and private investors in a variety of commercial and residential transactions.

Brooks & DeRensis PC is a full service law firm based in downtown Boston, now with a satellite office in Wakefield, MA.

Ms. Petty concentrates her practice in Residential Purchases and Sales, General Business, Estate Planning and Probate Administration.

Mr. Ruggieri concentrates his practice in Real Estate Development and conveyancing, Condominium Law and General Business and Litigation Strategy Advice.

Stephanie Petty, Esq.
Real Estate, Estate Planning (Wills & Trusts), Probate Administration


John Ruggieri

John GF Ruggieri-Lam, Esq.
Of Counsel – Real Estate and Land Use Group


The Presidential Order

On Monday night shortly after 10:00 p.m., President Trump wrote in a Twitter feed that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending all immigration to the U.S. in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s Twitter announcement came hours after his administration extended orders for 30 days that have already closed the U.S. borders to nonessential travel. The president did not offer any further details on the upcoming executive order, including what categories of immigration would be affected and what the order might mean for foreign persons legally in the United States.

Update on Customs and Border Patrol

Yesterday, US Customs and Border Patrol (US CBP) issued a nation-wide policy to grant the status of “satisfactory departure” to those persons who could not safely depart the USA for their homes at the end of their visas because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior Governmental Action in Response to COVID-19

Over the past ninety days, US consulates around the world have suspended routine services due to the coronavirus pandemic.  President Trump also halted travel from China in late January and later from Europe where the pandemic had taken hold. US citizens and the parents and/or spouses of US citizens may return to the United States despite this travel ban (if they can find international travel arrangements). Other persons who have a compelling humanitarian reason to travel to the USA may be permitted to travel, too.

Essential Workers and Others

During this same  time, the federal government has sought to ease the visa process for foreign agricultural workers and foreign doctors to assist the U.S. during the pandemic. The US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) continues to accept and process visa petitions and requests to extend or to change US visa status for employers, families, and foreign persons legally in the USA. There has been a recognizable increase in employment-based “green cards” granted without personal interviews in the past two weeks.

Margaret Holland Sparages concentrates her legal practice in Immigration Law and procedure, specifically including securing employment visas and green cards on behalf of individuals and employers.   If you have questions as to your visa status or ability to extend status, or travel internationally, Margaret is available for a “virtual” meeting, or call.  Margaret can be reached at:, or (857) 930-4065.

Brooks & DeRensis, P.C., by this notice, wants to inform our clients, colleagues and service providers that we will continue to provide fluid and uninterrupted services to our clients, and continue to maintain the normal past professional relationships with colleagues and service providers during the time period covered by the coronavirus outbreak.

BD is aware of states of emergency having been declared in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (source states for our client base).

Our office hours will remain unchanged and we are open while we accommodate our clients’ needs by video conferencing or any other type of engagement that the client desires. Your legal matters remain our priority.

All attorneys and administrative staff are well-versed in remote work techniques and we will continue to provide work product seamlessly.

While it is self-evident, BD wants to urge everyone to take adequate precautions to keep themselves and their families safe and in good health during this unusual set of circumstances.

Please never hesitate to contact us at any time regarding any matter of importance. You are our most important asset and we cherish our relationship with you.

Thank you very much.

Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.

Inside This Edition

  • Standing Too Close
  • Superior Court Rein-states Police Chief’s Bypass Decision and Vacates Civil Service Order
  • Keep Your Eyes Out for Changes in Site Plan Approval
  • Meet John GF Ruggi-eri-Lam, Real Estate Practice Coordinator

Inside This Edition

  • Can Public Interest in Affordable Housing be Protected from Unlawful Foreclosure?
  • Employees’ Use of Recreational Marijuana
  • Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
  • Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave

We are very pleased to note that Attorney Paul DeRensis was reappointed by Governor Charlie Baker on February 13, 2018 to a tenth term as a member of the Massachusetts Local Government Advisory Commission. Former Governor Deval Patrick had initially appointed Mr. DeRensis to this Commission. Mr. Baker first reappointed Mr. DeRensis in February 2015. This is the fourth reappointment by Governor Baker. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito administered the oath of office on February 13, 2018.

Mr. DeRensis is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts and in various federal courts including the United States Supreme Court.

State law provides that responsibilities of Commissioners include the following:

Paul DeRensis Being Sworn In“1. to review and analyze proposed legislation and regulatory changes from the point of view of municipal government and present such point of view to the governor, his executive secretaries and to the general court;

2. to act as an independent advocate for the interests of local governments in their relations with state and federal governments;

3. to advise officials of the commonwealth and the federal government on the needs of local governments, assist in mobilizing state and federal resources to deal with problems of local governments, provide coordinating support to agencies responsible for administering federal, state and local programs, and promote legislative and administrative proposals reflecting the interests of local governments;

4. to establish, from time to time, study committees or task forces to consider issues pertaining to local government in detail and to present the results of those considerations to the governor, the secretaries of his executive offices and to the general court;

5. to meet monthly with the governor and at such other times…;

6. to meet quarterly with the legislative leadership, and at such other times as may be necessary…”

Mr. DeRensis commented, “I am honored by this opportunity for public service, and will do my best to offer ideas and input to the Governor and his team that will help all of the communities of Massachusetts.”

Deutsch Williams is pleased to announce that Paul DeRensis was named in November 2014 as one of 2014’s New England Super Lawyers along with four other members of his firm, Deutsch Williams Brooks DeRensis & Holland, P.C.

Mr. DeRensis’ practice is concentrated in the area of municipal law, and he was one of only eleven lawyers in New England given recognition as a Super Lawyer in the state, local and municipal law category throughout the entire six state New England region.  Notably, this is the tenth time he has been so recognized, a record for this category.

Mr. DeRensis is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts and in various federal courts including the United States Supreme Court.  He serves as Town Counsel to a number of Massachusetts municipalities.  Mr. DeRensis also has been appointed by the Governor to serve as Public Member of the State Board of Medicine.

Mr. DeRensis is a seven term incumbent selectman of a municipality and previously served as an elected member of a Municipal Planning Board and a Municipal Finance Committee/Advisory Committee.

November’s issue of Boston Magazine will contain the listing of New England Super Lawyers.  The list of 2014 Super Lawyers is assembled by Thomson Reuters in conjunction with Boston Magazine based on peer nominations by attorneys, independent research conducted by the Thomson Reuters research staff, and peer evaluations by practice area across the six New England states aimed at selecting as Super Lawyers the top 5 percent of New England attorneys in more than 60 practice areas and reflects both peer recognition and professional achievement verified through careful selection process to determine New England’s best.

At its Annual Law Day Dinner, the Boston Bar Association presented its President’s Award to nearly 70 attorneys who volunteered their time to provide legal assistance to small businesses and individual victims affected by the Marathon bombings.  Among the attorneys honored at the May 12 event were Deutsch Williams Principal Dan Deutsch and Retired Principal Peter Berry.  Keynote speaker for the gathering of 1,400 attorneys was Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.