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Brian Stolar Quoted in Newsday’s, “Attorneys argue in appeals court over lawsuit to stop Garvies Point project”

Attorneys seeking to stop construction of the $1 billion Garvies Point development along Glen Cove’s waterfront argued in court Wednesday that the city violated environmental law and a legally binding agreement in approving the project.

But lawyers for the city and developer contended the project went forward only after rigorous studies and changes that responded to resident concerns.

The Village of Sea Cliff and more than 100 residents of Glen Cove, Sea Cliff and nearby communities are appealing a 2016 state Supreme Court decision out of Nassau that dismissed two lawsuits against the city and Uniondale-based developer RXR Glen Isle Partners. They want the Appellate Division Second Department in Brooklyn to annul the 2015 city planning board approval of Garvies Point.

RXR is building 1,110 condominiums and apartments, parks, an esplanade, marinas, restaurants, and retail and office space on formerly industrial land heavily contaminated by chemicals left by a metal processing plant, salvage yard, oil storage tanks and other uses.

Amy Marion, an attorney for the residents, told a four-judge panel that the 2011 environmental impact statement required for the project included deliberate misrepresentations by the city of Glen Cove on the extent of environmental cleanup.

Marion said the project’s substantial changes between 2011 and 2015, when the city planning board gave its approval, necessitated a new study.

Presiding Judge Alan Scheinkman said the changes made over the years decreased the footprint of the buildings and increased public space. “That would seem like a good thing,” he said.

But Marion argued that the changes still needed to be looked at for potential environmental issues.

Zarin said the planning board took the legally required “hard look” at the environmental impacts of the changes and determined such a study wasn’t necessary. The additional open space, greater setbacks and decrease in building mass addressed key concerns from residents and Sea Cliff village, he said.

He denied the allegations of misrepresentations, saying city documents fully discussed and disclosed environmental conditions at the site. He also noted that the state Department of Environmental Conservation publicly refuted allegations it was misled.

Zarin also denied the city violated a 2000 memorandum of understanding between Glen Cove and Sea Cliff that called for a significantly smaller project than the one now under construction. The village, he said, never objected to changes in the project over the years.

Scheinkman said that even if Glen Cove wasn’t necessarily cooperating with Sea Cliff on the project, the memorandum appeared to be an agreement by the village not to oppose the project if it stayed within certain parameters.

“Where in the agreement does it say there is any promise?” he asked.

Sea Cliff Village attorney, Brian Stolar, called the memorandum “a settlement … an agreement to resolve our differences” and avoid legal action.

After the court session, Bruce Kennedy, the village’s administrator and former mayor, said Sea Cliff did raise objections and Glen Cove over the years “repeatedly ignored all our concerns.”

Gregg Kligman Quoted in LIBN’s, “Ready, Set, Hire”

The economy is booming, and more companies are looking to grow. Some may be hiring for the first time in several years, which means they might not be up on some of the newest laws and trends impacting the hiring process.

“Any business that wants to make sure it still exists next year is looking to comply with the various laws and stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to hiring,” said Christine Malafi, a partner and chair of the corporate department at the Ronkonkoma-based law firm of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick.

Here is a look at some things to consider when bringing someone on board.

Salary history questions

One thing that employers want to know about prospective employees is how much they earn or earned in their most recent position. Having this information gives employers a leg up in strategizing how much compensation to offer the prospective employee. But a New York City law passed last year prohibits employers from asking about salary history at all stages of the hiring process. The law’s primary aim was to close the gender pay gap.

Similar legislation has been proposed for Suffolk County, according to Gregg Kligman, an associate attorney in the employment law practice at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein in Garden City. “If the legislation passes in Suffolk County, we may see widespread adoption of such laws, potentially culminating in a statewide prohibition of inquiring into salary history,” he said.

Even though the law has not yet spread to Long Island, employers in Nassau and Suffolk may nonetheless be affected by it. The New York City Human Rights Commission indicated it would interpret the statute expansively and inclusively, taking the position that if a job position outside of New York City has an impact that is felt in the city, the statute would apply.

“Our headquarters is in Garden City, but we have offices in New York City, and some of our employees live in the city and commute to Long Island,” said Marc Hamroff, managing partner of law firm Moritt Hock & Hamroff. “Salary history used to be a topic of conversation during job interviews, but it’s not any longer unless it’s volunteered to us. If a candidate says, ‘I’ve been making X,’ the information is on the table and we’re permitted to talk about it, but we don’t ask. We might ask if they have a salary requirement, but not about their salary history.”

Reference and background checks

Companies have been trending away from saying much of anything at all when they are called for a reference about a former employee, due to liability concerns.

“Our recommendation is that employers only confirm dates of employment and last position held,” Kligman said. “This will prevent former employees from alleging that you provided a poor review, which resulted in their inability to find subsequent employment.”

A recent New York City law prohibits employers from performing credit checks on prospective employees, except under very limited circumstances, Kligman said. In addition, New York City’s “Ban the Box” law prohibits employers from asking applicants about criminal history prior to making a conditional offer of employment. Statewide, employers may not disqualify an individual from employment based on criminal history prior to performing an analysis of the crimes in relation to employment responsibilities, Kligman said.

“Gone are the days where employers did credit and criminal background checks on all prospective employees,” Malafi said. “They should only be done based on job relevance – for instance, if you are hiring someone to work at a daycare center, the security concerns are going to be different than if you are hiring someone to stock shelves in a warehouse. If someone is going to be a bookkeeper and will have access to money, it may be prudent to perform credit and background checks on that person.”

Paid family leave

New York State’s Paid Family Leave law took effect at the start of the year. Most employees are eligible, and private employers had to set up a policy through an insurance carrier and deduct employee contributions to fund the program. Employees can take leave for bonding with a new child, whether biological, adopted or foster; caring for a sick family member, which could be a child, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, spouse or domestic partner; or spending time with a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent on active military duty or who has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty.

The program in 2018 provides eligible employees with eight weeks of leave at 50 percent of their average wage or 50 percent of the state’s average wage, whichever is lower. This will graduate to 12 weeks at 67 percent of average wages in 2021.

New employees should be advised when they are hired that the payroll deduction will be taken to fund their participation in the program, Kligman said.

Employees with a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week are eligible to take paid family leave after completing 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Employees with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week are eligible for the leave after working 175 days. The minimum period (of 26 weeks or 175 days) must be met with the same employer. “So if a new employee worked for 25 weeks for a prior employer and then comes to work for you, you don’t have to worry about them going out on leave after one week,” Malafi said.

Seasonal employees, summer interns and others who will not work for the employer for the required minimum period may opt out of participating in the Paid Family Leave program.

Sexual harassment training

A new state law established minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and training in the workplace. All employers operating in New York State were required to either adopt the state’s model policy and training program or use it to establish their own version. All employees working in the state must receive sexual harassment training by Oct. 9, 2019, or by April 1, 2019, in New York City.

New employees will be required to receive training as soon as possible after they are hired, Malafi said.

Hiring from direct competitors

As unemployment drops and talent acquisition becomes more difficult, is there anything to stop an employer from calling an employee of a direct competitor and offering him or her a job?

In many cases, no. However, the individual may have a non-compete agreement that would limit his or her ability to work for the new employer.

“Employers are recommended to request that such individuals sign warranties that they are not subject to non-competes that would limit their ability to work prior to commencing employment,” Kligman said.

If the employee did sign a non-compete or non-disclosure agreement, the new employer should ask to see a copy of it, in order to determine if hiring that person would be in violation of the agreement, Malafi said.

Also, employers should bear in mind that competitors may not look too kindly on having their best employees poached.

“We wouldn’t call people at a competitor firm and ask them to come work for us,” Hamroff said. “Not that it’s prohibited by any law, but it’s a small community, and it’s not playing nice in the sandbox.” That being said, if employees of a competitor approach his firm because they want to leave their current employer anyway, “we would certainly speak to them,” Hamroff said.

Click here to view the article on LIBN

Meyer Suozzi’s Appellate Practice Obtains Critical Victory For Personal Injury Plaintiff

In addition to being experienced trial attorneys, we provide outstanding Appellate Practice to our personal injury clients and to other personal injury trial attorneys.  Meyer Suozzi recently obtained a critical victory for a CPA whose career was cut short when he fell head-first through an unguarded stairwell opening at a Westchester Hotel and suffered a traumatic brain injury.  After opposing lawyers moved to dismiss our client’s case, the Court ruled in our favor on the initial motion and on reargument.  After we defeated both motions, the Hotel’s attorneys appealed to the Appellate Division, First Department and urged that reversal was required because the stairway’s 32-inch handrail complied with the local code.  Last month, the Appellate Division affirmed our victory in the Court below and ruled in our client’s favor in all respects relying specifically on proof we asserted that the applicable safety standards required that a 42-inch high guardrail should have been installed along the Hotel’s stairwell.

Gregg Kligman Joins Meyer Suozzi To Expand Employment Law Practice

October 11, 2018 (Garden City, NY) – Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. is pleased to announce that Gregg Kligman has joined the firm as an Associate in the Employment Law practice located in Garden City, NY and New York, NY.

Mr. Kligman represent employers in a broad range of industries in all areas of labor and employment law and related litigation in federal and state court, as well as before administrative bodies including the United States Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the United States Department of Labor, and the New York State Department of Labor.

Mr. Kligman regularly counsels employers on their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York Labor Law, the New York Paid Family Leave Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, and the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act. He also assists with drafting employer policies, handbooks, restrictive covenants, severance agreements, tip pool agreements, and other employment-related agreements.

“Gregg’s arrival at Meyer Suozzi further strengthens our employment law capabilities on Long Island and throughout the region,” said Lois Carter Schlissel, chair of both the Board of Directors and the Employment Law practice at Meyer Suozzi. “We are pleased to welcome Gregg to the firm, and we look forward to continued growth and success.”

Prior to joining Meyer Suozzi, Mr. Kligman worked as an Associate attorney at Fox Rothschild LLP in New York, NY, where he represented management in the full spectrum of labor and employment law matters and defended clients in federal and state court in cases alleging violations of wage and hour law, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.  At Fox Rothschild, Mr. Kligman also represented management in audits and actions brought before administrative agencies. Mr. Kligman was selected to Super Lawyers’ New York Metro Rising Stars list (2015-2017).

Mr. Kligman, a resident of Plainview, NY, received his J.D. from New York Law School and his B.S. from Cornell University. While at Cornell University, Mr. Kligman was a Teaching Assistant for Public Speaking and Business Professional Speaking. He has published, “Comprehensive Handbook Helped Lead to Dismissal of Case” and “Nevada High Court Invalidates Overbroad Noncompete Agreement” in Hospitality Law.

Mr. Kligman is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, State of New Jersey, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.


Hon. Randall Eng Featured in the 9/11 Edition of the World’s Journal

Hon. Randall Eng was featured in the 9/11 edition of the World’s Journal for the 17th Anniversary. Hon. Eng was the Master of Ceremonies at a 9/11 candlelight remembrance ceremony sponsored by the American Legion.  Elected public officials, community leaders, and American Legion officials were among the featured speakers at the program held near New York City Hall.

The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.





Photo Credit: World’s Journal

Jayson Choi Featured on the cover page of the Nassau Lawyer

Jayson Choi has been featured on the cover page of the Nassau Lawyer for being recently appointed to the Nassau Country Bar Association Board of Directors.

Founded in 1899, the Nassau County Bar Association is a professional membership association for attorneys. It is the leading source for legal information and services for the legal profession and the local community in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. NCBA enjoys a membership of private and public sector attorneys, judges, legal educators, and law students.

Eleven Meyer Suozzi Attorneys Recognized as Super Lawyers

Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. is pleased to share that eleven of our attorneys have been named as 2018 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service, includes outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The publication recognizes no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in each state while no more than 2.5 percent are named to Rising Stars. The annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

Attorneys selected are from the firm’s Garden City and Manhattan offices and represent a wide range of Meyer Suozzi’s practice areas. Recognized Super Lawyers are:

Garden City:

New York City:


About Meyer Suozzi

Founded in 1960, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. is a distinguished provider of legal services, with a reputation for integrity, insight and excellent client service. The firm’s attorneys are committed to their clients, community, public affairs, and diversity. With offices in Albany, Garden City, Manhattan and Washington, D.C., the firm provides legal advice in a wide array practice areas. For more information, visit

Jil Mazer-Marino Featured in LIBN’s “Who’s Who: Women in Professional Services”

Written by: Lisa Morris Josefak

Jil Mazer-Marino is a member of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. in Garden City. She was named a member in 2011 having joined the firm as Of Counsel to the firm’s Bankruptcy & Business Reorganization and Corporate Finance law practice in 2008.

Mazer-Marino practices in the area of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights and has extensive experience representing debtors, creditors’ committees, and secured and unsecured creditors in large and complex chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

Mazer-Marino represents chapter 7 and chapter 11 trustees, chapter 11 debtors in possession, and plan administrators in all aspects of bankruptcy case administration. Additionally, she represents banks, indenture trustees, factors and other lenders in connection with debtor in possession financing, out of court debt restructuring, and debt collection.

As a commercial bankruptcy and restructuring attorney, Mazer-Marino counsels businesses in financial distress. “ I also represent banks, finance companies, landlords and other creditors in and out of the bankruptcy arena,” she said. “In addition, I am on the panel of  Chapter 7 Trustees for the Southern District of New York. I recently began counseling businesses in the booming Cannabis industry.”

“Although legal in New York for medical use — and expected to be legalized for adult recreational use — cannabis remains illegal on a federal level,” she noted. “This schizophrenic and changing legal landscape has created tremendous opportunity but also perilous legal risks for entrepreneurs.”

Mazer-Marino was recognized as a New York Super Lawyer from 2013-2017.

She is admitted to practice in New York State and before the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Prior to joining Meyer, Suozzi, Mazer-Marino was a partner at the bankruptcy boutique firm of Rosen Slome Marder, LLP. From 1990 through 1991, she served as a law clerk to Hon. Conrad B. Duberstein, former Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York, after which she practiced in the business reorganization and restructuring department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York City.

Founded in 1960, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. is a distinguished provider of legal services, with a reputation for integrity, insight and excellent client service. With offices in Albany, Garden City, Manhattan and Washington, D.C., the firm provides legal advice in 18 practice areas. The firm’s attorneys are known for their commitment to their clients, community, public affairs, and diversity.

Hon. Randall Eng Mentioned in LIBN’s “Love, Law & Marriage”

Brothers Harvey and Joel Berk, as their attorneys tell it, we’re headed to the funeral home. It was 2006, and their 100 year-old-father had just died. In the car, their dad’s caretaker revealed she had married their father, Irving Berk.

The caretaker, Hua Wang, who is known as Judy, told the siblings that she and their father married in the last year, the attorneys said. According to court documents, she was nearly 48 when they married, while Irving Berk was 99. And as his spouse, she told the brothers, her name belonged on the death certificate, according to the attorneys.

“She’d kept it a secret from the family, his medical providers – anyone you’d expect to know,” said John Farinacci, a partner at Uniondale-based law firm, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek. Farinacci, and his wife Jessica Baquet, a partner at the Garden City-based law firm Jaspan Schlesinger, represent the brothers.

And while the brothers claimed their father was mentally incapacitated, Wang maintained that was not the case.

“Ms. Wang deeply loved and cared for Mr. Berk and spent all her time with him,” her attorney, Jordan Weitberg, a principal of the law firm Bressler Amery Ross, told the New York Law Journal.

As Irving Berk’s spouse, Wang filed the right to take a third of the estate.

But Berk, the founder of the Berk Trade and Business School in New York, had never changed his will to provide an inheritance for Wang, Farinacci and Baquet said.

And while court documents show that Wang maintained over the years that Berk was “fully capable of entering into a marriage at the time of his nuptials with her,” the co-executors say their father suffered from dementia.

After a 37-day trial, Acting Brooklyn Surrogate Judge John Ingram deemed in his June 2018 ruling that it was “impossible to believe” that Wang did not know of Berk’s “diminished mental incapacity,” especially given the “significant” amount of time she spent with him, and the number of doctors’ visits and hospitalizations.

A growing demand

The decision comes at a time of growing demand for caregivers as the population ages, experts said. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is expected to more than double to more than 98 million in 2060, according to the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit research group in Washington.

It’s a case that trust and estate attorneys in New York State have followed in the media for more than a decade.

Over the course of that time, Farinacci and Baquet would work on the case together, first at one law firm, and then at separate firms. They grew close, ultimately marrying.

The legal battle marked the first to apply new tests created by New York’s appellate courts, and the decision is considered a bellwether of change for the courts in the way they handle elder exploitation – an area that may become more prevalent, experts said.

“People are living longer and increasingly need to rely on others for care,” Farinacci said. “There will always be people who exploit the situation,” noting that inheritances could be at stake.

The law “didn’t intend for a spouse like Judy, if she, in fact, committed wrongdoing, to get one-third of an elderly man’s estate because she was cunning enough to marry him,” Baquet said.

Wang had immigrated to the United States in 1996 from China, where she worked as an ophthalmologist at a hospital, records show. A year later she was hired as a live-in caretaker for Berk, who at the time was 91.

Berk first arrived in the United States in 1940, an immigrant from Romania. He built up an estate worth $5 million, according to published reports. His accredited school provides training for plumbers, electricians, car mechanics, and secretaries. But Berk became mentally incapacitated, ultimately needing care.

2008 ruling

After Berk died, Wang asserted her rights under a New York law that entitles a deceased person’s spouse to one-third of the estate despite what the will says.

The brothers claimed that Wang should not be permitted to inherit because she influenced their father to marry her when he was mentally incapacitated.

By 2008, then Brooklyn Surrogate Judge Diana Johnson initially ruled in favor of Wang, as a technical matter, holding: “While this may appear incongruous and seemingly invite a plethora of surreptitious ‘deathbed marriages’ as a means of obtaining one-third of a decedent’s estate immune from challenge, this is simply the state of the law.”

The brothers appealed in 2010 and, in a landmark decision, the appellate court held for the first time that a surviving spouse could be disqualified from inheriting in this kind of case if a certain test was met. The appellate court sent the case back to the Surrogate’s Court for a trial as to whether Berk had truly been mentally incapacitated and whether Wang married him anyway for financial gain.

Wang’s legal team includes Benjamin Xue of Xue & Associates, a New York law firm, and Randall Eng, of counsel at Meyer Suozzi, English & Klein in Garden City, and a retired presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department.

The case was primed for trial in 2015 when Johnson issued an order indicating that she would not disqualify Wang even if the co-executors proved that the marriage had been the result of undue influence, which is distinct from mental capacity. The co-executors appealed and won and the case was sent back to the Surrogate’s Court for trial.

In his 2018 decision, Ingram said that the record was “replete with credible evidence” that Berk “suffered from both physical and mental impairments.”

Dismayed at Ingram’s ruling, Weitberg told the New York Law Journal that Wang’s legal team would appeal it.

Husband-and-wife attorneys

Both Baquet and Farinacci initially worked at Jaspan Schlesinger, where the Berk siblings were clients. In 2011, Farinacci moved to Ruskin Moscou and the Berk brothers kept both firms as counsel so that Farinacci and Baquet would continue to represent them.

That co-counsel arrangement is not necessarily uncommon – especially with big cases, Farinacci said.

The two firms “operate in the same market,” he said. “You can say we’re competitors, but both of us had full backing of the firms to do this together in an extremely cooperative way. Your duty is to your client.”

With the case tried in Brooklyn, Baquet and Farinacci, who live on Long Island, spent most nights of the trial in a hotel across from the courthouse. During the week, Baquet’s mother watched the couple’s children. The family was together on weekends.

The hotel staff got to know Baquet and Farinacci. And the judge and opposing counsel knew they were married.

“We didn’t want to appear we were hiding it,” Farinacci said.

They lived and breathed the trial, sharing ideas in the middle of the night, playing on each other’s strengths in the courtroom.

It was an intense several months – time they’ll always remember.

”We learned a lot from each other,” Baquet said.

Click here to read the article on at LIBN



Richard Fromewick Featured in LIBN’s Who’s Who in Real Property & Tax Certiorari Law

Richard G. Fromewick is chair of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.’s Tax Certiorari and Condemnation practice located in Garden City, which centers on providing a full range of real estate tax assessment services. These include representation with respect to all types of commercial and residential properties in tax assessment reduction proceedings, projection of real estate taxes in connection with the purchase, development, and improvement of properties, and advising with respect to tax exemption matters.

Fromewick has successfully represented at trial numerous owners and tenants in proceedings to reduce real property taxes and regarding claims against the State of New York and its municipalities based on the taking of land or other real property rights. He has handled a substantial number of tax certiorari cases involving large commercial properties that have remediation/pollution problems, which have resulted in sizable refunds for his clients. His expertise in the field has resulted in precedent-setting decisions in his clients’ favor.

Obtaining direct information of individual neighborhoods allows Fromewick to gain a clear-cut knowledge of the region he serves.

“Long Island has so many distinct neighborhoods that while some thrive others are beset with retail and office vacancies,” he said. “Getting out in the field to experience first-hand the extent of the vacancies is the only way to truly understand and then explain to the assessors why some properties are over-assessed.”

Fromewick, who joined Meyer, Suozzi as an associate in 1981 and became a director in 1985, has been a member of the firm’s Management Committee since 1991.

He has been recognized for his expertise, including being recognized as one of the region’s “Top Legal Eagles” by Long Island Pulse magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012. For over 25 years, Fromewick has been rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level in professional excellence.

Prior to joining Meyer, Suozzi, Fromewick was a deputy county attorney in the Land Division and Deputy Bureau Chief in the Tax Certiorari Bureau of the Nassau County Attorney’s Office. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant corporation counsel in the New York City Law Department Condemnation Division, where he also served as assistant bureau chief and trial supervisor.

Fromewick earned a juris doctor from Brooklyn Law School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

In addition to his law-related memberships, Fromewick is a member of the Spartan and Guiding Light Masonic Lodges, a member of the Long Island Scottish Rite, and a member of the Kismet Shrine Temple.

Fromewick is an ambassador of the Jewish Community Relations Council and a member of the UJA Joint Oceanside Committee. He is also trustee of Temple Avodah in Oceanside and is corresponding secretary on the Executive Board of Directors of the Barry and Florence Friedberg Jewish Community Center (JCC), as well as a founding member of the Sunrise Day Camp for Kids with Cancer.

Founded in 1960, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. provides legal services with a reputation for integrity, insight and excellent client service. Its attorneys are recognized for their committed to clients, community, public affairs, and diversity. With offices in Albany, Garden City, Manhattan and Washington, D.C., the firm provides legal advice in 18 practice areas.