Not every law firm feels like a family. Ours does.
That is why the lawyers and staff of Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. work so well together – and how we can provide the best possible legal representation for you.
Since founding Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 1977, Joe Garrison has become the leading employment lawyer in Connecticut and one of the most prominent employee rights advocates in the United States. His current practice draws upon his vast experience as a trial lawyer and negotiator, and combines the representation of individuals in litigation with an expanding focus on mediation and arbitration.
Joe has received virtually every award and honor available to a trial lawyer. Since 2007, he has been ranked as one of the top 10 Connecticut Super Lawyers, as voted by his 20,000 fellow lawyers in the state. In the 2011 rankings, Joe had the highest point total of any lawyer in Connecticut; in 2012, 2013, and 2014, he had the second-highest. In addition, for the past 25 years, Joe has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America, which includes only the top 5% of lawyers in their respective fields. Because of his jury trial work, Joe is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates, invitation-only organizations representing the nation’s most experienced and distinguished trial lawyers.
As a standard-bearer for the plaintiff’s employment bar, Joe served for three years as President of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and for 15 years on NELA’s Executive Board. He is now NELA’s representative to the Federal Rules Advisory Committee, the legislative body charged with drafting the procedural rules for the nation’s federal courts. He was a Charter Fellow in the Board of Governors of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and later served as its national President. And as an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI), Joe has been substantially involved in drafting the highly-influential Restatement (Third) of Employment Law, which was published in 2014.
For the past 10 years, Joe has increasingly acted as a mediator and arbitrator of employment and commercial cases. Since 2009, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Joe’s ADR docket ranges from significant multi-plaintiff cases, including class actions, to individual lawsuits involving discrimination, breach of contract, or other claims. His experience with mediation and arbitration has further enhanced his ability to represent clients at all levels of employment in negotiations and other settlement processes.
Joe is a nationally-known speaker and a frequent author on the topics of employment law and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Among many other publications, he edited the Connecticut Employment Law Form book, published by the Connecticut Law Tribune. Recently, he was a contributing editor for the ADR in Employment Law, 2017 Supplement, published by the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and Bloomberg Law’s Book Division.
Ethan Levin-Epstein is a seasoned trial lawyer with over 40 years of experience in the criminal law. He has tried more than 30 jury trials to verdict for the prosecution and the defense. He has been designated a Super Lawyer and has been listed since 1999 in the attorney peer-reviewed publication Best Lawyers in America. He is listed in the categories for Criminal Law, White Collar Criminal Defense, and the representation of individuals in Discrimination and Employment cases.
Prior to joining Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 1991, Ethan spent fourteen years as a federal and state prosecutor, ending that portion of his career as the First Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Connecticut. Before that, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York (in Brooklyn) and as an Assistant District Attorney in the Rackets Bureau of the New York District Attorney’s Office (in Manhattan). He also served as a Legal Advisor to the Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
In the criminal defense arena, Ethan has successfully tried cases and negotiated favorable dispositions in federal and state courts, resulting in outright declinations of criminal prosecution or agreements by the government to defer criminal prosecution for limited periods of time. In addition, he has represented numerous targets, subjects, and witnesses in federal grand jury and state investigations into such diverse allegations as mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, antitrust violations, health care fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, bribery, violation of the Hobbs Act (extortion under color of official right), Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), false statements, perjury, obstruction of justice, violation of foreign export statutes, and conspiracy to commit these and numerous other offenses.
In his extensive work on behalf of employees, he has successfully negotiated numerous settlements for clients with claims for wrongful discharge; discrimination based on age, gender, pregnancy, disability and perceived disability, sexual orientation; sexual harassment; and benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He has also successfully prosecuted arbitrations for breach of employment contracts.
Ethan’s experience in the criminal law has enhanced his ability to effectively represent individuals in their employment-related matters. There is significant overlap between the two fields and where clients face situations which have implications from both an employment and criminal perspective, Ethan’s experience in both areas has proven invaluable.
Ethan has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Brooklyn and University of Bridgeport (now Quinnipiac) Law Schools, where he taught advanced courses in Trial Advocacy and Federal Criminal Jurisprudence. He has been a Visiting Lecturer of Constitutional Law at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and has been a frequent speaker at professional and government-sponsored seminars and in-service training programs. Ethan has been invited to be a featured speaker and presenter at National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Annual Conventions, the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law and at the F.B.I. Academy at Quantico, Virginia.
He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Federal Bar Council (on which he served as a Trustee), and the Connecticut Bar Association (in which he served as a Co-Chair of its Federal Practice Section and continues to serve as an active member of its Executive Committee). Previously. he served as Chair of the Section’s Criminal Practice Sub-Committee. He is also a member of the CBA’s Criminal Practice Section, the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and the Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association (CELA).
Ethan is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the U.S. District Courts in the District of Connecticut, the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the Northern District of Florida. He is a member of the Bar of the States of Connecticut and New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Steve Fitzgerald represents individuals in employment and personal injury matters in Connecticut’s state and federal courts. He also represents railroad workers in courts throughout the country. Steve has won several multi-million dollar jury verdicts for his clients. His peers have ranked him as a Connecticut Super Lawyer since 2011, as the Super Lawyer Employment Lawyer of the Year for 2012, and he has been named Best Lawyer of the Year for Labor & Employment Litigation in the New Haven area by Best Lawyers in America in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Steve’s employment practice involves the representation of a wide range of workers including physicians, executives, sales staff, academics, financial services and others. He has handled countless litigations and negotiations involving claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of contract and retaliation. He has enjoyed significant success on behalf of physicians, scientists and others who have been retaliated against for blowing the whistle on employers engaged in unsafe practices. A significant portion of his practice is representing railroad workers who have been injured on the job or retaliated against. He has achieved courtroom victories and several favorable settlements on behalf of railroad workers who have been retaliated against and disciplined for speaking out about safety issues in violation of the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA). Steve also handles personal injury claims from passengers involved in train accidents.
Steve is an accomplished trial advocate, having served as lead counsel on over 40 jury trials. Before joining Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 2001, he served for over ten years as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he rose to the rank of Supervising Attorney. Steve has also taught Trial Practice at both Fordham Law School and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Steve prides himself on the personal attention he gives to each one of his clients, including those who have been injured.
Steve is admitted to practice in the state courts of Connecticut and New York, as well as in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States District Courts for the District of Connecticut, the Southern District of New York, and the Eastern District of New York. He is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the New Haven County Bar Association, and the New Haven Inn of Court, and has published in the Connecticut Law Tribune. He graduated from Boston College and Fordham University School of Law.
An active participant in his community, Steve chairs the North Haven Open Space Committee for the preservation of public property, sits on the board of the North Haven Trail Committee, and has coached each of his three daughters’ softball teams. He was born and raised in Stamford, CT.
Nina Pirrotti represents individuals in employment and civil rights litigation and negotiation. A member of the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA); Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section’s Trial Advocacy Competition Committee; a Co-Chair of the Employee Privacy subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee; a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (ABF); and a past president of the Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), she is well versed in all aspects of employment law, including discrimination (on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious creed, marital status, pregnancy, or national origin), sexual harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, contract disputes (including those involving restrictive covenant agreements), FMLA and related leave of absence issues, unpaid wages, severance agreements, and whistleblower claims.
Nina also advocates on behalf of students and faculty. She has guided numerous students through their universities’ internal disciplinary procedures and has advised faculty members who have been targets of internal investigations. Nina has also litigated on behalf of students seeking to discharge their rights under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.
Nina was selected as a 2014 Top 50 Connecticut Super Lawyer, placing her among the Top 50 lawyers in the state. She was also selected as a Top 25 Connecticut Woman Super Lawyer and a Top 50 New England Woman Super Lawyer. She has also been selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America. In 2010, Nina was named by the Connecticut Law Tribune as one of its Women in the Law – High Achievers.
Even before Nina decided to represent employees, students, and faculty, she had already devoted almost 15 years to civil rights and public service. At the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, she was appointed to the Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau, prosecuting homicides, bank robberies, kidnappings, and pattern crimes. And as an Assistant Corporation Counsel at the Law Department for the City of New York, she received the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Municipal Affairs Award for outstanding achievement.
Nina is an experienced trial advocate, having served as lead counsel in approximately 25 jury trials and 50 bench trials. She taught Trial Advocacy at the New York Prosecutor’s Training Institute, the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, and the New York City Law Department, and trial practice at Quinnipiac Law School as an adjunct professor.
Nina served as president of the CELA for approximately a decade and as a Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Affiliate Relations Committee, as well as its Second Circuit representative for several years. She has also served as a Track Coordinator for the American Bar Association’s 6th and 7th Annual Section Conferences and as a liaison for the ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law’s Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee. She routinely lectures nationally on employment related topics.
In 2015, Nina was appointed by the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to serve as a member of the Local Civil Rules Advisory Committee, which advises the Court concerning the rules for civil litigation.
Nina received her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, where she majored in Theater. She received her law degree from Yale Law School, where she was a member of the Journal of Law and Feminism and participated in the Barrister’s Union, a competitive mock trial organization. Nina began her legal career as an associate at commercial litigation firms and devoted significant time to pro bono matters, including employment discrimination and First Amendment/whistleblower cases.