Managing Partner – Rochester Office
Hamberger & Weiss LLP
Years in current role: 30
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’ve taken the most satisfaction from helping Hamberger & Weiss LLP grow from a firm of just eight lawyers to over 40, making us perhaps the largest and one of the most prominent firms in New York specializing exclusively in Workers’ Compensation defense. It has been gratifying over the years to hire and mentor so many new lawyers, many of whom are now partners in the firm. I continue to enjoy the long-term relationships built with clients, many of whom have become friends. I have authored and updated the NY Workers Compensation Handbook through LexisNexis over the last 21 years, and despite, or perhaps because of, the long hours spent researching and writing, I have found this activity to be intellectually rewarding.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
The biggest challenge over this past year has been maintaining the firm’s practice during the pandemic. Because we developed a fairly sophisticated IT network, we were able to move almost all in the firm to remote work at home within one week last March. Our attorneys were able to attend all hearings remotely after the Workers’ Compensation Board mandated virtual appearances only. Fortunately, they adapted to this virtual world fairly quickly. The NY PAUSE led to fewer people being employed and thus fewer claims for on the job injuries for our firm to defend for a while. We were able to keep almost everyone working without layoffs even though we had to make plans for that possibility. It remains a challenge to keep everyone communicating and up to date. We have had to rely ever more on phone calls, emails, texts and Zoom meetings to maintain our bonds and morale.
What are you most looking forward to doing as COVID restrictions ease?
We have outfitted the office with protective shields and many social distancing reminders so we hope to have more personnel return to the office soon. Being able to see each other in person is what I most look forward to upon our sustained return to the office. What I’ve missed the most is just dropping by attorneys’ offices or having them drop by mine to share bits on cases, clients, office practices and legal developments and — of course — funny stories, the kind of conversations that aren’t shared as much while we are all working remotely.