Sahn Ward Coschignano's new office in Hauppauge
The Firm has opened a new office in Suffolk County, located at 1300 Veterans Highway in Hauppauge. The new location is reflective of the Firm’s growing number of matters being handled in the County.
Firm Partner John Farrell will supervise the office. Mr. Farrell concentrates his practice in the areas of zoning and land use, real estate transactions, environmental law, litigation and appeals and municipal law and legislative practice. He represents developers, property owners and franchisees in land use approval cases, municipal litigation and real estate transactions.
What are your responsibilities in leading the Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice?
My primary responsibility is making sure that the Firm has a unified approach in how it represents businesses. It’s important to not only understand the specific matter on which a particular business needs legal representation, but to make sure that we all understand the exact nature of each client’s business. Understanding how a client operates its business enables us to not only anticipate the client’s needs, but also grants us the opportunity to refer business to our clients
What does your practice entail?
On a day-to-day basis, I see to it that my clients are all utilizing up-to-date contracts with their customers, vendors and partners that not only comport with applicable law, but provide exacting clarity as to any questions that may arise. On a more global scale, I serve as each client’s primary point person on any question that arises with respect to their business, be it related to their corporate legal needs, intellectual property issues, real estate questions, possible litigation and other disputes and general tax-related advice.
What attracted you to Corporate and Securities law?
Perhaps the single greatest attraction to Corporate and Securities law was the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of clients. If you’re a litigator or an estate planning attorney, you tend to stay within just those areas of law. When you work in my area, not only do you deal with legal issues spanning any number of disciplines, but you get to witness first-hand the inner workings of how businesses in numerous industries operate. Just in the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with software developers, architects, restaurants, food manufacturing and distribution companies.
How much of an impact does the new tax law have on corporations?
The new tax law will have a large impact on this country as a whole, not just corporations. That said, it’s tough to predict exactly how the new law will end up impacting corporations and other entities, for better or for worse. The best advice anyone can give is that, before making any assumptions as to what the new law means for you or your business, please consult with your attorneys and accountants, not to mention waiting for the IRS to start issuing regulations concerning the new laws.
What trends are you currently seeing in the Corporate and Securities Practice Area?
A strong mix of excitement and apprehension. With the economy continuing its strong momentum, people are able to grow their businesses; however, with the volatile political climate and uncertainty of the new tax laws, business owners are hesitant to re-invest capital into their businesses for fear of an economic recession.
The Honorable Edward McCabe, Senior Counsel with the Firm, will be honored by the Nassau County Bar Association at the group's 119th Annual Dinner Dance on May 12 at the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale. Judge McCabe will be recognized for his 60 years as a practitioner of law. Prior to joining the Firm, he served as a Nassau County Administrative Law Judge and a New York State Supreme Court Justice.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the April 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Jon Ward, a Partner with the Firm, is representing Suffolk County in litigation brought by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) challenging the county's enforcement of tax liens on all of its properties.
Firm Associate Joshua D. Brookstein and Touro Law Center Dean Harry Ballan.
Joshua D. Brookstein, an Associate with the Firm, was honored by Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center with the Public Interest/Pro-Bono Attorney of the Year Award at a ceremony that took place on March 26 as part of the law school’s Goods and Services Auction. Mr. Brookstein was recognized for his work as a coach and mentor of The Crescent School mock trial team. Last year, the team finished as one of the top 10 teams in Nassau County.
He also serves as a mentor to area students in order to become a positive presence in their lives. Last year, he mentored at Woodland Middle School and, this year, lent his time and talents to Barack Obama Elementary School.
The Public Interest/Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award is given to an attorney who devotes their time to those in need through their pro-bono efforts.
The Firm was also a sponsor of the Goods and Services Auction, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Public Interest Law Fellowship Program, which was established in the mid-1990s by Touro Law Center to encourage and facilitate the placement of students in public interest legal work.
Mr. Brookstein was also recently appointed as the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Young Lawyers Section Liaison to the NYSBA Local and State Government Law Section.
The Firm was a sponsor at New York University School of Law's Public Service Benefit, which took place on February 28th. Proceeds from the event went to benefit the law school's Public Interest Law Center, which supports students who work in summer public interest legal positions. Firm Member and Partner Dan Braff is an active alumni at the law school. He is a Weinfeld Associate and is also on the planning committee for his class' 15th reunion this spring.
Photo Courtesy of the New York State Bar Association/Photo by Jacques Cornell
John Christopher (right), a Partner with the Firm and Chair of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Young Lawyers Section (YLS), presented Lanessa Chaplin (center) of the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County with the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2018 at the NYSBA's Annual Meeting on January 25 in New York City. They were joined by NYSBA President Sharon Stern Gerstman (left).
Adam H. Koblenz, a Partner with the Firm, published an article for the latest issue of the Journal of Business & Technology Law, a publication of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. The article discusses the controversy regarding college student-athletes and whether they should be paid. Mr. Koblenz points out that, with collegiate sporting events receiving greater exposure on TV and radio, and millions of dollars being made through endorsements, ticket sales and broadcast TV contracts, colleges and universities are reaping the rewards; however, student-athletes do not see any money for their performances.
“By examining the disparate proportion of income generated by college athletes in comparison to the compensation received by the student-athlete in the form of athletic scholarships, this Article demonstrates that student-athletes do not receive the compensation they deserve for a myriad of reasons,” Mr. Koblenz wrote. “While colleges may not have a ‘legal’ fiduciary duty to ensure the academic success of both its current four-year varsity scholarship athletes and former scholarship players, colleges do have a reasonable duty to provide appropriate resources and/or support necessary for student-athletes to achieve a certain modicum of academic success and post-graduation career enhancement.”
Kyle Lawrence was named as one of the "Ones to Watch" in Law by Long Island Business News for joining the Firm as Counsel. "Ones to Watch" is featured each week in LIBN, highlighting six people who stand out in their respective fields.
Christian Browne and Joseph Bjarnson, Partners with the Firm, successfully represented a defendant-respondent in an Article 78 proceeding challenging a decision of the Nassau County Planning Commission. The Planning Commission granted the client’s minor subdivision application, but two neighbors filed a challenge to the Planning Commission’s action and sought to annul the subdivision approval. It is exceedingly rare for the court to hear a challenge to a minor subdivision approval.
The firm filed a motion to dismiss the Article 78 proceeding as time-barred, arguing that the applicable four-month statute of limitations began to run from the date on which the Planning Commission voted to approve the subdivision application at a public hearing. The challenging neighbors argued that the clock did not begin to run against them until they received a formal, written certification of the approval decision.Justice Jeffrey Brown ruled in favor of the firm’s client, holding that the statutory clock was triggered by the vote, not by a later “certification.” Because the challenging neighbors failed to file their action within four months of the Planning Commission’s vote, the Court dismissed the case as untimely. The Firm believes this is the first time a court has ever ruled on the application of the statute of limitations in a proceeding involving the Planning Commission.
Will Lead the Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice
Kyle Lawrence has joined the Firm as Counsel. He concentrates his practice in corporate and securities law, as well as real estate law and transactions. He will take a leading role in the Firm’s growing Corporate and Securities Practice.
As an experienced corporate and business law attorney, Mr. Lawrence advises clients on all types of corporate transactions, including private placements, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance, business planning and strategies, licensing, manufacturing, supply and distribution arrangements. He serves as lead counsel to a wide range of longstanding business ventures and entities, as well as numerous entrepreneurial endeavors. He also serves as outside general counsel to various privately owned companies, for whom he provides advice and guidance on all aspects of day-to-day corporate and business matters.
Mr. Lawrence represents clients in a wide range of industries, including food and nutraceutical manufacturing and distribution, restaurants, emerging technologies, retail, light manufacturing, lending, architecture and software development. He also advises private issuers and principals with respect to fund formation, operations, and compliance matters in his active private equity practice.
The Firm’s Corporate and Securities Practice represents established, privately held businesses, as well as newly formed and emerging early- and growth-stage companies. The Firm’s corporate law clients include regional and national businesses, real estate ventures, manufacturing companies, professional services firms, software development and emerging technology companies, franchises, and charitable and not-for-profit entities.
Mr. Lawrence is admitted to practice in the State of New York and before the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department. He is also a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Nassau County Bar Association. In addition, he is a Founding Member of the Hydra Collective, a professional networking organization created by and for the next generation of leaders in their respective fields. He also volunteers his time with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Maurer Foundation.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tulane University in 2001 and a Juris Doctor from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law from Hofstra University in 2006.
Michael Sahn with Kyle Lawrence
“I am excited to join the Firm and become a part of this growing practice,” Mr. Lawrence said. “I am looking forward to working with the Firm’s growing roster of clients and providing them with the necessary guidance in complex corporate transactions.”“We welcome Kyle to the Firm,” said Michael Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Partner. “His knowledge and experience in corporate and securities law will be a tremendous resource to the Firm’s clients.”
Elaine Colavito, a Partner with the Firm, will be honored by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University as one of its Outstanding Women in Law. A special ceremony will take place on April 24 at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, starting at 6 p.m.
Outstanding Women in Law celebrates women who have made a meaningful and inspiring contribution to the legal community.
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, received the 40 Under 40 award from Long Island Business News at a special ceremony that was held on February 8 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
The 40 Under 40 Awards celebrates the future leaders of Long Island who have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector.
Long Island Business News Editor Joe Dowd and John Christopher.
SWC was a sponsor of "Tax Reform's Impact on the Real Estate Market," a presentation which was held on January 24 at Fordham Law School and presented by the Fordham Real Estate Institute and Real Estate Services Alliance (RESA). Daniel H. Braff, a Partner with the Firm, is a member of RESA, an exclusive, member-based organization that brings together the best specialists in the real estate business in New York City who can provide assistance in all stages of a transaction.
Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC co-sponsored the presentation from the Fordham Real Estate Institute and the
Real Estate Services Alliance titled “Tax Reform’s Impact on the Real Estate Market.”
Daniel H. Braff, a Partner with the Firm, and Firm Associate Joshua D. Brookstein wrote an article for the January 9-22, 2018 issue of The New York Real Estate Journal titled "Get Back to the Gym: Zoning for Fitness is Heavy Lifting," which discusses the process to obtain a special permit from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals for fitness uses.
“The process of opening a PCE in New York City is extensive and complicated,” Mr. Braff and Mr. Brookstein wrote. “It can take several months, possibly more than a year on a difficult case, but it is not, however, impossible. Understanding the requirements and the path to obtaining a PCE special permit are an essential first step for anyone interested in opening a PCE, or who is working with an individual or corporation who is looking to open and operate a PCE in New York City.”
Christian Browne, a Partner with the Firm, served as lead counsel representing a group of Long Beach residents who sought to have certain variances granted in favor of a major construction project on the City’s boardwalk declared expired.
The Long Beach Board of Zoning Appeals granted variances to a developer in February 2014 to permit the construction of two 15-story apartment towers along the City’s boardwalk. Because the developer failed to move forward with the project under the timeframe set by the zoning board, the firm’s clients asked the Nassau County Supreme Court to declare the 2014 variances expired and of no further force or effect.
Both the developer and the zoning board made motions to dismiss the case. The Court denied the motions to dismiss and ordered the zoning board to hold a public hearing in order to determine whether, in fact, the 2014 variances are null and void due to the developer’s four-year-long failure to move the project forward and obtain the building permits necessary to construct the apartment towers.
This was reported in Newsday.
Matthew E. Rappaport, counsel with the Firm, was interviewed by Newsday for an article on the benefits of preparing early for tax season. He suggested that taxpayers consider making a last-minute contribution to a retirement plan or a health savings account.
“Evaluate whether a retirement plan or health savings account contribution, either of which might count for the 2017 tax year in certain situations, might make sense,” Mr. Rappaport said. “If you’re a business owner, you may also be able to create a retirement plan, contributions to which might count retroactively as well.”
The Firm has promoted Elaine M. Colavito to Partner. Ms. Colavito concentrates her practice in matrimonial and family law, civil litigation and commercial transactions.
Ms. Colavito is President-elect of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. She joined the organization in 2012 as a Member of its Board of Directors and also served as its Treasurer and Vice President. In 2013, she received the group’s Bessie Ray Geffner, Esq. Memorial Award for her demonstrated interest in improving the justice system, professionalism of the bar and service to the community at large.
From 2014 to 2017, she was named to Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars” list in the area of Family Law, and was among the 2015 Super Lawyers “Top Women Lawyers in New York.” In 2017, she was named a Trailblazer in Divorce and Trusts and Estates by The National Law Journal and received the Top 50 Women in Business and Leadership in Law awards from Long Island Business News.
She currently writes a monthly column for The Suffolk Lawyer, a publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association, titled “Bench Briefs.” She is also the author of an article entitled “Social Networking Sites and the Right to Privacy: Kathleen Romano v. Steelcase and Educational Institutional Cooperative Services, Inc., Index No. 2233/06” that appeared in the Winter 2011 edition of the Medicine and Law Committee Newsletter, a publication of the American Bar Association. She has also lectured before the NYSBA Young Lawyers section.
Ms. Colavito is admitted to practice in the state of New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to serving with the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association, she is a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association, the Nassau County Bar Association and the Nassau County Columbian Lawyers. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and magna cum laude from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.
Ms. Colavito is a resident of Brentwood.
“I am pleased to be named Partner with the Firm,” Ms. Colavito said. “It has been a great experience for me to be a part of a Firm that fosters the professional growth of its attorneys.”
“We congratulate Ms. Colavito and recognize her leadership, expertise and service to our clients, the Bar and the community,” said Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Partner. “She is an important part of our Firm’s ability to serve our clients.”
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, attended the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) “Bridging the Gap” program, which took place on December 12-13, 2017 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, New York, to speak with the attendees about the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of the NYSBA.
Mr. Christopher is Chair of the NYSBA YLS and the YLS Liaison to the Real Property Law Section
Firm Partner John Christopher addresses those in attendance at the New York State Bar Association’s “Bridging the Gap” program.
Thomas McKevitt, Counsel with the Firm, obtained approval from the Hempstead Town Board to rezone a parcel of land in Wantagh from Residential to Business for construction of a two-story day care center located on Wantagh Avenue. The Firm also obtained a special use permit from the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals for the project.
The Firm previously represented the client in 2012 in obtaining approvals for a day care center on Center Lane in Levittown, which is currently in operation. There is a great demand for day care centers in the Levittown area, but few available properties to build these facilities, which led the client to explore this opportunity.
John Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, will receive the 40 Under 40 award from Long Island Business News at a special ceremony on February 8, 2018 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. The 40 Under 40 Awards celebrates future leaders of Long Island who have already begun to distinguish themselves in business, government, education and the not-for-profit sector.
Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the January 2018 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.
Christian Browne, a Partner with the Firm, recently successfully represented an electrical inspection company, which sought — and was granted — injunctive relief and attorney’s fees against a rival inspection business that had posted false statements on websites, claiming the plaintiff was out of business.
The defendant, New York State Electrical Inspections, Inc. (NYSEII), used several websites under its control to promote the claim that the firm’s client, the New York Board of Fire Underwriters (NYBFU), was no longer performing electrical inspection services. While NYBFU had been dissolved around 2009, it was reconstituted in 2013 and resumed work as an electrical inspection company.
NYBFU, therefore, sued NYSEII under New York General Business Law §349, a section that prevents a business from disseminating false or misleading information that is likely to confuse or misdirect consumers.
On December 7, 2017, Justice Sharon Gianelli of the Nassau County Supreme Court ruled that, as a matter of law, the information on the NYSEII websites was untrue and could serve to mislead consumers in the market for electrical inspection services. The Court enjoined NYSEII from continuing to display false information about NYBFU on its websites and also awarded NYBFU attorney’s fees as authorized under the General Business Law.
Ralph Branciforte, a Partner with the Firm, and Associate Joshua D. Brookstein assisted Mr. Browne on the case.
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