John F.X. Lawler

Industry Expertise


A seasoned trial lawyer, John F. X. Lawler brings to his civil litigation practice deep experience and know-how, as well as a track record of substantial success for his varied blue-chip clients—ranging from construction companies and manufacturers to insurance companies, institutions, and individuals.  John, who has served as lead counsel for numerous defense verdicts over the past 10 years, has been twice recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for obtaining top 10 defense verdicts.

John—who holds an MBA degree in addition to his JD—successfully handles a variety of commercial litigation, professional liability, product liability, personal injury, and contractual disputes cases.  He has helped numerous institutions, religious organizations, and schools in negligent hiring and supervision claims arising from allegations of physical and sexual abuse by employees.

Prior to joining Prince Lobel, John served as the shareholder-in-charge of Adler Pollock & Sheehan’s Boston office, where he was also a trial attorney.  Before that, John served as a partner at Morrison, Mahoney & Miller and as a United States Marine Corps judge advocate, where he tried numerous criminal cases.

  • Boston College, J.D., 1985
  • Middlebury College, B.A., 1979
  • Massachusetts
  • United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
  • 2005-present: Named a “Best Lawyer in America©” in the field of  Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • 2006-present: Named a “Massachusetts Super Lawyer”
  • 2001-2002: Recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for obtaining top 10 defense verdicts
  • Served as a Marine Corps Officer in the United States Marine Corps for 27 years, both on active duty and in the active reserves as a judge advocate and infantry officer.
  • Instructor, Naval Justice School, Newport, Rhode Island, trial advocacy and other courses
  • John and his colleague, Heather Gamache successfully defended an upscale South Shore restaurant in U.S. District Court. Plaintiff had claimed a Traumatic Brain Injury after being struck by a wind-blown market umbrella at the restaurant’s outdoor dining area. There were also loss of consortium claims by her husband and children. Plaintiffs’ demand was $9.9 million. After a two week trial, the jury awarded the Plaintiffs’ a fraction of the amount sought, a figure in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  • John successfully defended an alternator manufacturer in two related wrongful death lawsuits brought by the families of two tow-truck operators who were struck and killed by a drunk driver while standing on the side of the highway preparing to tow a disabled truck. The plaintiffs argued that his client was responsible for the accident because it manufactured the defective alternator in the disabled truck. John obtained summary judgment for his client in the trial court by arguing that the accident was caused solely by the intervening negligence of the drunk driver, and it was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of any defect in the alternator manufactured by his client. The plaintiffs appealed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the case in Kelly v. OE Plus, Ltd., 69 Mass.App.Ct. 1105 (2007), review denied 449 Mass. 1109 (2007). The plaintiffs sought further appellate review of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which denied the application. The Appeals Court’s decision has been cited in several secondary sources as a rare example of summary judgment being granted on the question of reasonable foreseeability.
  • John successfully defended a general contractor in a two-week trial in Massachusetts state court. The plaintiff was an ironworker who fell 25 feet on a construction project and sustained multiple fractures and an alleged brain injury. After a two-week trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of John’s client, concluding that the plaintiff was more than 50 percent responsible for his accident. The plaintiff’s last settlement demand was $1 million.
  • John successfully obtained a defense verdict in a three-week, Massachusetts state court, construction accident trial. The case was recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of the Top Ten Biggest Defense Wins of 2002. The plaintiff, a roofer who had fallen down an industrial staircase on a construction project, alleged that he sustained a closed head injury. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Michael’s general contractor client, concluding that it was not negligent. The plaintiff’s last demand was $1.8 million. Although the plaintiff claimed that he could never work as a roofer again, John and his team found a witness who testified that the plaintiff had performed roofing and carpentry work on the witness’s home a few months before trial.
  • John successfully obtained a jury verdict in the defense of a three-week products liability action in Massachusetts state court. The case was recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as one of the Top Ten Biggest Defense Wins of 2001. The plaintiff, injured while working on a large piece of manufacturing equipment, sued the manufacturer of a sheet metal guard, claiming the defendant defectively designed the guard by omitting an electric lock that would have prevented the injury. The jury returned a verdict in favor of John’s client, concluding that it was not negligent and its guard was not defectively designed. The plaintiff’s last demand was $1.7 million.
  • John defended a school for autistic children in a difficult seven-week jury trial in Massachusetts state court in 2006. The plaintiffs alleged that their son, a teenager with autism, was physically abused over an extended period while a student at the school. One of the defendant/teachers had been criminally convicted of abusing the plaintiff before the civil case went to trial. One of the other defendant/ teachers had returned to Japan while a warrant for his arrest was pending. Although the plaintiffs obtained a jury verdict in their favor, the amount was substantially less than their final settlement demand, and the case was settled while on appeal.