Number of Years as Member of WCBA:
I have been a member of the WCBA since 1972 (43 years) and was President from 2008 to 2009.
My current job and practice area are:
I am “of counsel” to Bertine, Hufnagel, Headley Zeltner, Drummond and Dohn. I was a partner for over 33 years. My primary practice areas are real estate and trusts and estates.
A turning point in my legal career was:
In 1971, I turned down an ADA position offered by Burton Roberts, the then Bronx DA. Fred Hufnagel had asked if I would stay on at Bertine & Hufnagel where I was clerking. His oldest son had left the practice to move to Maine, so I managed to get enough courage to tell DA Roberts that I wasn’t coming to the Bronx. He could not have been more gracious and I became an underpaid associate at a firm I would never leave.
A source of professional pride is:
I have helped three generations of families in trust and estates administration. It is extremely rewarding to have gained their faith and trust for so many years. I am also proud of my commitment to the WCBA as board member (in two different decades), vice president and president. I am also proud of my work as president of the Westchester County Bar Foundation.
If I were not practicing law, I would be:
Teaching American or English history at a college or high school.
People may be surprised to learn:
I have always liked to perform on stage. From summer camp through the Bar Frolics. That interest, although my thespian talents were limited, got me to chair the Bar Frolics from 1978 through the 1980’s. We played to sold out crowds for years although any success we had back then was attributable to the cast and writers — not me.
What I splurge on:
Broadway theater. I saw the original production of “My Fair Lady” on a Saturday matinee as a ten year old and have been hooked ever since. I have seen hundreds of Broadway shows.
The best hour of my day is:
Any hour of the early evening. After many years of practicing law, I have learned to unwind at that time and put the day’s worries to rest.
Many, but would have to start with Godfather I and II, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai. Recently, I really enjoyed Boyhood for its ambition (filmed over 12 years) and its honesty.
Anything by the Eagles.
My favorite vacation spot:
My favorite vacation spot has to be Zihuatenejo, Mexico, where we’ve vacationed for two weeks every winter for the past four years and plan to continue—and yes to the doubters, it is a perfectly safe fishing village with fine resorts! Quick trivia bit—at the end of Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne goes to Zihuatenejo, Mexico.
Three things I can’t live without:
My wife, Linda, my children and my grandchildren. I have to give honorable mention to the New York Giants.
One of my favorite things to do in Westchester:
Attending concerts at the Tarrytown Music Hall. We moved to Tarrytown over a year ago and the Music Hall is a treasure.
Best advice I ever got:
After my first year of law school, I was reclassified as 1-A and was called into military service. I was sitting on my helmet as a reservist while at the rifle range during basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in 1969. It was mail call. I got a letter, nicely embossed with the Fordham logo, from Dean Mulligan saying I could start my second year if I got back by October 1st. Unfortunately I wasn’t going to be released until October 18th. I was beside myself. Home for a weekend to see my sick mother, I went to see Professor Manning. He said just register and show up. Nobody will say anything. It worked and I saved a year of missed opportunity and did fine academically. Practical solutions sometimes work best.
My advice to new lawyers:
Get involved in the community and bar activities, that’s how you meet clients. Sometimes other lawyers are your best source of new business. Do not be afraid to ask advice from experienced lawyers. You’d be surprised at how readily available practical advice is. You may have to listen to more than a few “war stories” but it will be worth the wait.
One of my future ambitions is to:
Learn how to play the guitar.
My favorite part of being involved with the WCBA:
I love the camaraderie with so many members. I particularly enjoy the Wednesday breakfasts at City Limits with former presidents of the association.