Labor and Employment
The Labor and Employment Group has years of service and breadth of experience that are unparalleled in the State of New York. Jim Roemer, the Firm’s Senior Partner, began his labor practice only two years after the Taylor Law was enacted and his intellect, involvement and influence have shaped and continue to influence public sector labor law in the State. Bill Wallens, Elayne Gold and the other labor attorneys have been involved in numerous groundbreaking cases and developments for more than forty years. The Firm’s municipal clients rely on and appreciate the availability, the responsiveness and the depth of the collective knowledge of the Group members who provide them with outstanding representation. The Firm’s annual retainer concept provides its municipal clients with an economical and efficient way to provide effective employment relations.
Finance and Real Estate
The Group focuses primarily on the representation of lenders and is nationally recognized for its representation in complex real estate financings, lines of credit, letters of credit, low-income housing tax credit transactions and mortgage-backed bond credit enhancement transactions. The Firm is a nationally recognized in the representation of lenders providing conventional financing and letter of credit enhanced financing for low- and moderate-income housing and related community development transactions going back to its involvement in one of the first LIHTC transaction following the 1986 Tax Reform Act. The Firm’s long-standing relationships with New York State and local housing agencies enable the Firm to effectively represent its clients in a wide variety of transactions.
The Finance and Real Estate Group attorneys have an appreciation for the differing interests of all parties to a transaction and the ability to negotiate resolution of issues which might otherwise impede or prevent a closing.
The Firm serves as “Red Book” bond counsel to a number of municipal entities in New York, providing analysis, responsive service and documents that enable municipal bond issuers to economically address their financing needs. The Firm has also served as counsel to letter of credit banks, underwriters and bond trustees in various transactions involving general obligation bonds, revenue bonds and bonds of municipal issuers. The Finance and Real Estate Group offers beneficial fee arrangements significantly lower than those of larger, metropolitan firms without compromising the level of representation.
Corporate Governance and Conveyances
The Finance and Real Estate Group has served as counsel to many clients in connection with the creation of limited liability companies, corporations and partnerships. The Group has also represented clients in the acquisition or sale of such entities through asset or stock/membership interest transactions, working with clients’ accounting and other professionals to structure optimal entry and exit strategies.
The Insurance Defense Group represents a number of major/national insurance carriers on a variety of matters in all Federal and State courts in New York. That representation includes defense of specialty insurance risks including ski areas, race tracks, and athletic and recreational organizations. The Group also represents individuals and corporations for premises liability and vehicular accidents, including commercial vehicles and tractor trailers, as well as manufacturers and distributors in products liability actions and employers in civil rights and employment claims. Litigation Group members belong to the Defense Research Institute of Northeastern New York, the Albany Claims Association, the New York Bar Association Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section.
While primarily serving as labor counsel and bond counsel, the Firm has also served as general counsel and special counsel to New York municipalities in connection with all municipal matters including, but not limited to, payments-in-lieu of tax agreements, inter-municipal cooperation agreements, creation of municipal water and sewer districts and defense of Article 78 proceedings arising generally.
The Litigation Group representation begins with a prompt and thorough investigation and continues through trial and post-judgment proceedings. The Litigation Group attorneys work with clients and experts to gather evidence, identify witnesses, research all relevant legal issues and other information and use all available technology needed to prosecute a case. The Group’s extensive trial experience facilitates excellent results in even the most complex cases, either by negotiation of favorable settlements or by trial verdict. After securing the best possible result, the Group assists clients in enforcing their results and, where appropriate, seeks ways to shift the costs to more responsible parties.
NYS Retirement Matters
The Group also has a long and extensive history of interaction with the New York State and Local Retirement System, as well as the New York State Policeman and Fireman’s Retirement System. The Firm represents and/or assists municipalities in their applications for accidental and/or performance-of-duty disability retirements typically for public safety personnel, either police officers or firefighters. Navigating the requirements of the disability retirement laws, as well as the rules and regulations enacted in furtherance of those laws, is never easy but the Group’s experience over the past several decades uniquely positions it to advise clients how best to prepare their applications and present their cases so they have the best possible chance of achieving a successful outcome, i.e., the awarding of a disability retirement. Additionally, the Firm has successfully represented individuals seeking to have the provisions of the Retirement and Social Security Law apply to them as was intended by various sections of that statute which provide benefits to members of the Retirement System. Most recently, the Firm has successfully represented numerous individuals whose membership and service credit in the Retirement System was improperly terminated by the New York State Comptroller and the Retirement System itself. The Labor Group has successfully represented individuals in administrative hearings to have their membership status and credits restored after they were improperly taken or to prevent membership status and credits from being taken.