Law Firm History
Founded in 1957, our firm first opened its doors for business in a small two-room office on Jericho Turnpike in Commack. Brothers Floyd and Budd Sarisohn were at the forefront of a wave of new, young homeowners who helped convert Commack from a sleepy agricultural community, to the busy and desirable suburban destination that it is today. With only a few other law firms in the area, the Sarisohn brothers helped many families move into the neighborhood and establish new businesses. They became known for being accessible, involved in the community and assisting clients in all areas of the law.
Floyd quickly established a reputation for successfully defending the accused. In 1959, the people of Smithtown acknowledged his considerable skills, and elected him as Justice of the Peace. In 1963 he was elected as one of the first District Court Judges of Suffolk County. Meanwhile, Budd developed a reputation of his own, with his easy going manner and extensive knowledge of real estate law. For many years, if you met someone from Commack, it seemed as though either they were represented by Budd Sarisohn at a closing, or knew of someone who was.
As the reputations of Floyd and Budd Sarisohn grew in the community, so did their practice. Over the years, they relocated to larger offices within Commack, and invited partners to join them. In 1969 Walter G. Steindler, a former Town Attorney for the Town of Babylon, joined the firm. Known as a fierce, no-nonsense litigator, Walter brought legal muscle to the firm’s growing litigation practice. The early to mid 1970s brought an increasing awareness of women’s rights to the legal community. In Susan LeBow, the firm found a partner who not only was willing to fight for the rights of others, but stood on the front line of that battle herself. Active in the National Organization for Women, and a co-founder of an advocacy group for abused women (VIBS), Susan became one of the earliest women to become a partner in a major law firm, when she took on the task of anchoring her firm’s matrimonial practice. Today, male and female clients alike seek Susan’s wisdom and skill when they need a tough negotiator to protect them during a divorce.
From the beginning, we have helped clients receive compensation for injury negligently caused by others. Continuing our trend of expanding the firm and developing specialized practice areas, Ronald Carner joined us in 1974 to lead the firm’s personal injury practice. A testament to Ron’s skill and his reputation for success occurred in 1975 when nationally renowned personal injury attorney, Melvin Belli, decided to expand his San Francisco-based practice and establish a New York presence. He sought out Ron Carner and our firm to be partners with him. Since then, we have advocated and recovered many millions in compensation for those injured from car, truck and motorcycle accidents, fall injuries, malpractice, defective and dangerous products, construction accidents, dog bites, and other injuries or accidents. Today, having learned personal injury law at the side of his uncle, Ron’s nephew, Michael Carner, continues his uncle’s legacy of aggressive and successful representation of the injured. Michael is a graduate with honors of Cornell University and a graduate of Fordham Law School, where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review. Since joining the firm in 1992, he has won many large personal injury verdicts on behalf of the firm’s personal injury and medical malpractice clients and has dedicated hundreds of hours of free legal work to two Long Island families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. In 2004, working on a strictly volunteer basis, Mr. Carner secured verdicts on behalf of those two families exceeding $5,000,000. Also helping protect the rights of clients injured in accidents, we have Gerard “Jerry” DeVita, who joined the firm in 1986. Since then, he has helped guide many clients through the often complicated and daunting process of their injury claims. During his time here, our clients have come to rely on him, as well as the whole team in our Personal Injury and Negligence Department, to assure that fair compensation is recovered for their losses. Jerry has successfully fought for and recoverd millions for those injured by car accidents, faulty machinery, falls, work site accidents and medical malpractice. As the personal injury litigation team, Michael and Jerry have carried on a decades long tradition of pursuing claims and recovering for the injured.
In 1984, a second generation Sarisohn joined the firm bridging the practice areas of both his Father, Budd and Uncle, Floyd. Using his background as a former prosecutor, Stephen Sarisohn continues the tradition of a Sarisohn representing those accused of a crime. Inheriting his Father’s legendary patience and easygoing manner, Steven Sarisohn helps clients create families by way of adoption and has established the firm as one of the leading adoption firms in Suffolk County.
The 1960s and 1970s were a period of sustained growth on Long Island, and, as our firm has done from the beginning, it grew alongside the communities we serve. The population of Long Island has undergone a change in recent years, as many of those who moved to Long Island then are now growing older. In recognition of this trend, and to better meet the needs of an aging population, Christine Shiebler became a member of our firm in 1995, and immediately devoted her complete energies to creating a practice area in the firm devoted to the preparation of Wills, Trusts and the administration of estates. With precision and compassion, Christine has made sure that our clients have properly planned for the future of their children, minimized the impact of estate taxes and that our firm is available to assist families carry out their loved ones final wishes.
We are proud of the fact that several generations of our clients’ families have turned to us for advice. The suffocating costs of medical care, and in particular the threat of having to lose a home or life savings to pay for a loved one’s nursing home or assisted living has caused many of our clients’ families to call for our help. We responded to this need in 2005 when Janna Visconti become a partner and member of our team. Janna has combined her financial and legal skills from working at a nationally known major New York City law firm and as the wife of a Minister with knowing the variety and complexity of problems people face. She has attained the proper blend of experience to meet with multiple members of a families hoping to develop a plan for a loved one to live a financially secure life in later years. Our clients have responded to the services we provide by making elder law and medicaid planning the fastest growing component of our practice.
When brothers Floyd and Budd Sarisohn started our firm, it originated as a family practice dedicated to helping the families of those they served. When our clients bought a house, started a business or fulfilled a dream by adopting a child, Floyd and Budd were available for advice and to offer their good wishes. When an arrest, accident, personal injuryies, divorce or death made life difficult, they were there to help and provide support as well. Commack and Long Island have evolved throughout the years as has our firm. When the needs of our clients and their families grew and changed, we expanded our areas of practice to meet those needs. We are no longer a law firm of just family members. We have changed names and partners and even moved our office several times. However, the one constant that our clients have always been able to count on are the lessons taught by our founding partners and refined by those that followed. Sarisohn Law Partners, LLP still remains a law firm whose partners are always accessible and dedicated to helping clients and their families with all of their legal needs.
Throughout the years of our firm’s existence, we have followed the lead of our founding partners by becoming involved in service to our community. Our partners have served as advisors and leaders in government, leaders in their religious congregations and in numerous other school and civic groups. Our partners and attorneys associated with our firm have gone on to become Judges in most of the Courts of our county.