Brenda  Harkavy

Raynes & Lawn
Raynes & Lawn
1845 Walnut St Fl 20, Philadelphia, PA 19103 United States

Brenda is a fierce and experienced litigator who has represented countless survivors in the pursuit of justice against institutional misconduct. She is particularly passionate about seeking justice for women and children, including fighting against racial disparities in maternal and infant health care, and holding institutional enablers of sexual abuse accountable for their wrongdoing. 

Brenda represented numerous clients sexually abused by former University of Southern California (“USC”) gynecologist, George Tyndall, in the largest known sexual abuse case recovery and personal injury settlement against a university in U.S. history. Brenda successfully argued, and won an appellate argument in New York, resulting in a precedent setting decision that cleared the way for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file suits under a successor liability theory. Brenda represented the interests of sexual abuse survivors in Federal bankruptcy proceedings involving powerful religious institutions, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, where she actively participated in settlement negotiations and mediation sessions. Brenda’s tenacity enabled her to achieve numerous legal victories on behalf of survivors of abuse, against public and private youth-serving organizations. 

Prior to entering civil litigation, Brenda served as a Special Victims Unit prosecutor where she litigated hundreds of child sexual and physical abuse, pornography, intimate partner violence, stalking, human trafficking, and homicide cases, in both state and federal courts. Brenda was known as a bulldog in the courtroom, achieving guilty verdicts in some of her office’s toughest cases, some of which were covered on the national news. Brenda worked in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office to federally prosecute child predators and was cross-designated as a Special Assistant Attorney General, where she investigated and prosecuted physician and teacher sexual abuse cases. Outside of the courtroom, Brenda developed and conducted trainings on intimate partner violence for law enforcement, medical personnel, universities, and schools. Brenda also implemented district court domestic violence dockets, a model which was adopted by area judges and community stakeholders. In addition to her work on the community level, Brenda engaged in legislative advocacy, drafting bills for crime victims, and testifying before elected officials in legislative proceedings. Brenda’s dedication to survivors was recognized when she was the second prosecutor ever to be awarded the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association’s, Victoria F. Gelfman Legal Excellence Award. 

After graduating college, and before going to law school, Brenda worked as a case manager providing crisis intervention to adult and juvenile survivors of physical and sexual abuse. During law school, Brenda was the elected President of the Women’s Law Association; represented political and gender-based asylum-seekers as a student-attorney on the International Human Right’s Law Clinic; and secured an internship where she provided immigration assistance to girls escaping forced marriages and honor killings in their countries of origin. She thereafter served as a judicial law clerk for a circuit court judge.  

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