Women’s History Month Interview with MBJ Managing Partner Jaclyn Kugell


Meet Jaclyn Kugell, Managing Partner of Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP


Why did you pursue a career as an employment lawyer?

When I was 12 years old, my father’s company was embroiled in a labor dispute. I found the situation fascinating and was intrigued by the role of the labor lawyer, which sparked my interest in labor law.  I followed this interest through college and law school to Morgan, Brown & Joy. I started at the firm as an Associate, was promoted to Partner and am now the firm’s Managing Partner.


What contributions have you made to the practice of employment law?

I was among the first Boston employment lawyers to champion employment law training as an important element of successful business operations. In the 1990s, I developed training curriculums designed to help businesses understand the laws governing the workplace to enhance legal compliance. 

I grew up in a family that operated businesses, and I saw training as an important tool to bring knowledge to managers and supervisors around employee workplace rights. Over the years, I have become known for my knowledge of the full range of leave laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act and the MA Family and Medical leave law. I am also a faculty co-chair of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination’s certified train-the-trainer courses. 

My goal is to help clients make important business decisions involving the employer-employee relationship and manage their operations while minimizing legal risks. I prize a victory in the courtroom as much as helping an employer implement strategies to avoid lawsuits altogether.


Who has influenced your career?

I cannot say there was one person in particular, but my parents have always been my role-models. Throughout my childhood, I watched my parents build their business. Their efforts delivered autonomy, self-satisfaction, passion, and the ability to give back. I wanted the same at a time when it was less common to have women in business leadership positions. My parents encouraged me and never considered my gender as part of my ability to succeed. They taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, excellent work, doing your best and treating others well and with respect.  My husband and children have always been there to ground me and remind me that professional success requires balance.

I began my practice at Morgan, Brown & Joy in 1992 when women in law firms were certainly fewer in numbers than they are today. Although I had to work hard and build my own career, I always felt supported by my firm colleagues and industry peers. I would not be where I am today if not for the mentorship, encouragement and advocacy of others.


Who inspires you?

I am inspired by the ingenuity, confidence and strength of women business leaders today. Women bring unique traits to a more male-dominated business world, and I am encouraged by women who try new things and take on new challenges to find out what they are truly capable of achieving.