Meet the Team
Brenda A. Harkavy
- Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America, Recognized since 2022
- Victoria F. Gelfman Legal Excellence Award, Maryland States’ Attorney’s Association
- Maryland Super Lawyers® Rising Star 2021-2022
As a member of the JJS Sexual Abuse Division, with seven years of experience as a leading Special Victims Unit prosecutor, Brenda Harkavy’s practice is dedicated to representing victims of sexual abuse. Brenda zealously advocates on behalf of clients throughout the country in cases against institutions that enable that abuse including:
- Representing of survivors of childhood sexual abuse committed by priests, members of religious orders, and other clergy members
- Advocating for hundreds of abuse survivors in a record-setting settlement against the University of Southern California on behalf of women who were sexually exploited by former OBGYN George Tyndall
- Litigating cases on behalf of children who have been victims of sexual abuse
- Serving as legal counsel to those who were sexually abused in foster homes, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools
- Representing the interests of and negotiating settlements of behalf of claimants in Federal bankruptcy proceedings involving institutions that harbored sexual abusers
Prior to joining JJS, Brenda prosecuted hundreds of child sexual abuse, adult sexual offense, child pornography, and intimate partner violence cases—including intimate partner homicides—and litigated countless jury trials. 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 for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, where she investigated and prosecuted physician and teacher sexual abuse cases.
Outside of the courtroom, Brenda delivered state-wide trainings and presentations on intimate partner violence and sexual assault. She was asked to serve on several legislative subcommittees where she drafted legislation and testified before the Maryland Legislature in favor of laws to enhance victims’ rights and protections. Brenda also spearheaded the development of district court domestic violence dockets and created county-wide educational programs to combat teen dating violence.
Following her graduation from college, and prior to attending law school, Brenda worked at Safe Horizon, a victim services organization, in Brooklyn, New York, where she provided crisis intervention services to adult and child survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual abuse, including helping them access emergency shelter, apply for protective orders, social services, and counseling.
Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Brenda served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Stephen J. Sfekas in the Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Brenda is also the recipient of the Victoria F. Gelfman Legal Excellence Award, which is awarded by the Maryland States’ Attorney’s Association to only one prosecutor state-wide that displays legal excellence, leadership, and a commitment to community service.
In March 2021, Brenda was part of a team that achieved a record-setting $842.4M settlement against the University of Southern California (USC) on behalf of women who were sexually exploited during exams performed by former OBGYN Dr. George Tyndall at USC’s Student Health Center.
- University of Pennsylvania, B.A., (Political Science and Hispanic Studies, magna cum laude)
- American University, Washington College of Law (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif), 2011
While in law school, Brenda served as the President of the Women’s Law Association, a student attorney on the International Human Right’s Law Clinic, where she represented asylum-seekers fleeing war crimes and gender-based persecution, and interned with numerous legal organizations, including the Legal Aid Society, and the Tahirih Justice Center, where she assisted young girls escaping forced marriages and honor killings in their home countries.
While in college, Brenda studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she studied human rights violations and wrote a thesis on the plight of mothers searching for their missing children following Argentina’s civil war.
- New Jersey
- New York
Brenda is fluent in written and spoken Spanish.