Practice Areas

we're a civil rights law firm with experience to handle all of your needs.

Hansel Law fights to protect and expand your constitutional rights and civil liberties.  We focus on government and individual liability for civil rights violations by police, correctional officers and other government employees and officials.  

But that isn't all.  Our decades of experience in many fields allow the firm to seek justice wherever needed.
 We focus on the art of advocacy instead of limiting our practice to one narrow subject matter.  Our clients benefit from the breadth of experience this approach has built.  We offer the personal attention available only in the most exclusive boutique law firms coupled with the demonstrated success across a wide spectrum of subject areas that is often associated with much larger firms.   
All initial consultations, including preliminary investigation and research, are free, so call today!

Civil Rights

Hansel Law is a leader in civil rights litigation, with a strong focus on police and correctional misconduct.  We have won awards from the ACLU and the Maryland Association for Justice for ground-breaking advocacy for our liberties.

After ten years of hard-fought litigation, Cary obtained a civil rights verdict the Washington Post called the highest in history against Prince George's County.  The case involved an innocent man deprived of sleep and sufficient food for almost two days, periodically chained to a wall and threatened by police -- all because he wouldn't falsely confess to the murder of his wife, a crime he did not commit.  Despite recording in his police log that the citizen had continued to maintain his innocence, an officer moments later falsely swore that he had obtained a confession and filed charges that cost his victim 8 months in jail.  During this time, the falsely accused man missed his wife's funeral and was evicted from his apartment.  All of his belongings were strewn out on the curb and taken by looters.

The jury found that the officers acted with malice when, three months into the incarceration, they ignored DNA evidence clearing the accused of the crime.  Only when another detective insisted on testing the DNA against a serial rapist she had helped apprehend were the officers forced to slowly admit their mistake.  The long toiling 48 year-old iron worker they had wrongly imprisoned was released, but had lost literally every possession except for the clothes on his back despite half a lifetime of hard labor.  To make matters even worse, there was evidence which officers ignored early in the investigation that should have lead them to the true killer.  When police stopped investigating based in the false claim that they had their man, the real killer went on, while no one was watching, to rape six other women for which he was convicted.  This case shows the true victims of police misconduct are often not just those immediately suffering the abuse, but all of us.

With Tiana Boardman's assistance, Cary Hansel obtained the highest civil rights verdict in Maryland history for a young incarcerated man after prison guards cooperated with gang members to allow the gang to attack the young man.  He was left triplegic and mute after a guard opened the door to his cell and allowed multiple gang members to assault him.  The young man was targeted because he had refused to join a gang.  It took place in the Baltimore City Detention Center, which has since been closed and razed by the State.  The State found that guards there were joining gangs and guards were indicted for crimes associated with doing the bidding of gang members.

Hansel Law has handled dozens of other civil rights matters all over Maryland and the District of Columbia, resulting in justice for our clients, but always with an eye toward protecting and expanding civil liberties for all.


Hansel Law has helped people suffering discrimination due to race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation and the exercise of their constitutional rights.  While many prefer to believe that our struggles for equality were all won in the 1960's, the lawyers at Hansel Law know that real discrimination -- the kind that cuts to the core -- not only still exists, but is rampant in certain environments.  Our lawyers help fight discrimination against people from all walks of life, from high-ranking government lawyers to waitresses putting themselves through school.  If you have been discriminated against or harassed, please help stop the abuser before someone else falls prey.  Take a stand and call Hansel Law today.

Medical Malpractice

From chronic diseases misdiagnosed and untreated to breast cancer and birth injuries, Hansel Law has helped his clients and their loved ones through tragic and preventable medical mistakes.  Care is taken at Hansel Law to first be good friends and neighbors and then good lawyers to those dealing with the life-altering effects of medical malpractice.

Class Actions

Hansel Law has obtained record-setting results using class actions to force positive political change.  In 2016, we represented a class of over 100 women in public housing who were threatened with having their heat and power off if they did not provide sex to government maintenance men in exchange for repairs.  Some relented to save their children and others did not.  One woman spent winters sleeping with her young daughter on the kitchen floor using the gas stove for heat. We forced the termination of the wrongdoers, the hiring of a dozen new workers, new policies, moving the affected families to better conditions, the firing of the head of Baltimore Public Housing and, finally, a national record settlement under the Fair Housing Act.

The firm's latest proposed class action involves people who are jailed an average of 14 hours more after a judge orders their release from Baltimore Central Booking.  The victims, many of whom are innocent and have had their charges dropped, are jailed in one of the most dangerous environments in America where there are an average of two reported assaults per day.   The people of Baltimore collectively lose more than 9 years of freedom every year to overdetention.  We look forward to ending this practice with the help of our brave clients and the courts.

Wrongful Death

When the worst tragedies strike, having a lawyer you believe in and depend upon will help you weather the storm.  Wrongful death cases are brought in the memory of the victim to make sure that no one else ever suffers the same fate.  In this way, family members brave enough to take a stand in the courtroom can make the world a better place and see to it that at least some glimmer of hope for a better future comes out of the tragedy.

Hansel Law has successfully handled wrongful death matters related to dangerous conditions on premises, excessive force by the police, correctional misconduct and medical malpractice.

Whistleblower Protection

Hansel Law represents whistleblowers in the private and public sectors who expose corruption both inside and outside our government.  The law provides powerful protection for whistleblowers -- especially those who retain competent counsel as early in the process as possible.

One such case Cary handled resulted in the third-highest settlement in history to a former federal employee subjected to whistleblower retaliation.  A former assistant inspector general for the Securities and Exchange Commission represented by Cary obtained not just financial justice, but the SEC's complete retraction of its retaliatory allegations against the former employee, a fully cleared record and reinstatement.      

On October 31, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission terminated its assistant inspector general for investigations after he disclosed allegations of serious agency misconduct to his superiors and to members of Senate and House oversight committees.  The termination came despite an independent report by the Inspector General for United States Postal Service clearing him of any wrongdoing.  
In addition to clearing the whistleblower, the USPS IG also substantiated the concerns he raised with his superiors and legislative committees, including what the report labeled “flirtatious communications” a “personal relationship” and an “inappropriate relationship” between the former SEC IG and women he worked with on the Bernard L. Madoff and R. Allen Stanford Ponzi schemes.  The report found that these relationships involved conflicts of interest and violations of the applicable standards of conduct.  
The September 17, 2012 report also found that the whistleblower did not mischaracterize evidence when he discussed a matter of potential “national security” and “possible espionage” by possible “foreign nationals” related to a case he was investigating that “involved unencrypted computer hard drives that contained sensitive stock exchange information.”  These issues were raised by the whistleblower in great detail immediately prior to   his being placed on leave and, eventually, terminated.  The USPS IG report is widely available on the internet.
On November 15, 2012, after the SEC remained recalcitrant despite weeks of negotiations and fair warning, Cary filed a lawsuit the Courthouse News Service characterized as "scorching."    Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone wrote that the details released in the lawsuit "rocked" the SEC.  

Mere days after Cary’s whistleblower suit was filed, the SEC announced that its chairwoman was resigning.  Despite SEC protestations to the contrary, there was wide speculation in the media that the sudden resignation -- just months shy of the completion of her term -- was a direct result of the lawsuit.

The parties entered a settlement agreement on May 22, 2013 resolving the Merit Systems Protection Board and United States District Court cases.

At the time, Cary was quoted in hundreds of newspapers nationwide.  His official statement read, in part, “The SEC’s job is to protect Wall Street whistleblowers and investigate the misconduct they report.  When [the assistant IG] blew the whistle on wrongdoing in the SEC’s own ranks, the SEC engaged in a retaliatory cover up.”  Mr. Hansel went on to say, “This case is a reminder that there are grave consequences for retaliation against whistleblowers.    American law favors the free disclosure of government waste, fraud and abuse.  Nothing cures these problems like the light of day.”

High Impact Political Cases

Cary Hansel has privately advised and, when appropriate, publicly filed suit on behalf of individuals whose concerns carried great political ramifications.  Whether you find yourself in the public or private sector, if your situation requires political calculation - whether to maximize or minimize your impact, Cary can help.  As one example, Cary represented a former Maryland Public Service Commission employee fired solely for her political affiliation in a case that led to justice for his client, but became a wedge issue in a governor's race and ultimately resulted in legislative hearings and the passage of greater protections for our civil servants.  He also represented a top-level SEC whistleblower in a case widely speculated in the media to have resulted in the sudden resignation of the SEC's chairwoman.  Of course, the best political advice often involves keeping matters private.


Hansel Law's appellate work has successfully protected more than  $30 Million in verdicts.   Our lawyers have persuaded appellate courts to set aside damages caps and eliminate and limit unfair immunities.

Cary Hansel's appellate career includes  a case in which the Court of Appeals accepted Cary's request to adopt a new cause of action in Maryland for government patterns of constitutional misconduct.  This makes it easier for victims of government misconduct to obtain justice.  In addition, Cary has handled cases making it easier to recover from insurance companies, easier for consumers to defeat  draconian arbitration provisions, and harder for bad cops to hide behind the public duty doctrine as a defense to blatant misconduct.

Ashton Zylstra has seen the appeals process from behind the scenes, working in the chambers of a prominent appellate judge.  Since joining Hansel Law, her appeals have taken on racisim, unfair immunities and government misconduct.

Learn More About our Approach in the Courtroom


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real courtroom video

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