McConville, Considine, Cooman & Morin, P.C. is proud to celebrate the law firm’s 40th anniversary. Looking back, soon after the law firm’s inception, two of its partners, Mike McConville and Kevin Cooman, met with a new client – an elderly widow – at her home to discuss her estate plan and need for a new will. They spent an hour or so getting to know one another over coffee at her kitchen table, with legal advice woven into the conversation. At the end of the conference, the woman expressed how pleased she was with “her lawyers.” “Why,” she said, “You’re almost like real people.”
That philosophy – that its attorneys are “real people” able to communicate and empathize while identifying clients’ legal needs and solving their problems – has been a touchstone of McConville, Considine, Cooman and Morin, P.C. for forty years, and contributed immeasurably to the firm’s success across a broad range of practice areas.
The expertise of the firm’s attorneys includes business transactions and compliance counseling across industries and professions ranging from manufacturing to health care. MCCM’s municipal work involves the representation of local towns and fire districts. The firm’s litigation attorneys handle civil disputes in New York’s state, federal and bankruptcy courts, including contract and commercial claims of all types, and serious personal injury matters. A mainstay of the firm’s practice remains estate and elder care planning, and estate administration.
When founded in July 1979, the firm had four attorneys and two staff members, and shared space with a solo practitioner in the Executive Office Building on West Main Street. Within a year, the founders identified and added McConville and Cooman as name partners – the first of several name changes for the firm from its original incorporation as “Greisberger, Zicari & Hale, P.C.” In the summer of 1980, the firm moved its offices into the Historic Talman Building at 25 East Main Street (once the office of Frederick Douglass from which he published his abolitionist journal, the “North Star”), occupying a suite on the fifth floor. The firm gradually took over all of the fourth and fifth floors, where it still maintains its downtown Rochester office today. Convenience for clients has led to the opening of satellite conference offices in Fairport, Greece and Penfield.
Over the past forty years, the firm has added associate attorneys, additional partners and more staff when additional expertise and capacity was needed to meet the needs of existing or new clients. “Our goal has never been to deliberately become a “bigger firm,”” said partner Kevin Cooman. “Rather, we have worked to identify great lawyers and great staff members who are also “good people,” with the ability to work together in a collegial environment, and put their self-interests behind the collective needs of the firm and our clients. Preserving the culture of the firm has been of vital importance to us. We never want to dread coming to work in the morning because of “difficult” colleagues.”
Even as MCCM has added new attorneys over its history, the firm has also taken pride in the accomplishments of its attorneys who departed to pursue career paths in the public sector. These distinguished firm alumni include a United States District Court Judge, a New York Court of Claims Judge, a Monroe County Court Judge, and two Assistant United States Attorneys. Others left to pursue responsible in-house counsel positions with major Western New York businesses and universities.
The firm has consistently handled major litigation cases and business transactions with the same expertise found at larger law firms because it embraced, rather than resisted, the changes in technology that have transformed the practice of law over the past four decades. It invested in a costly stand alone word processor in 1979 when most small firms still had all their staff members typing (and retyping!) briefs, wills and contracts on individual typewriters. MCCM moved to computer networking and online research when those tools became available. In the mid-nineties, the expertise of a computer-whiz son of one of the partners allowed MCCM to create and implement a Windows-based case management program from scratch before any such commercial products were even available.
The firm’s commitment to up-to-date technology has led to humorous moments. “I remember the week that one of our senior counsel joined the firm, after having practiced on this own for most of his career,” recalls managing partner Peter Weishaar. “He gave each of us a cartridge pen and a box of ink cartridges. In turn, we had to show him how to turn on this PC, use a mouse, and read his email.”
Peter Weishaar, who became the firm’s managing partner in June 2016, has devoted his efforts toward developing and implementing a strategic plan for the firm’s future. “Effective communications with existing clients, and marketing efforts to attract new clients in a social media driven world and highly competitive legal marketplace, while we maintain and build attorney expertise and preserve firm culture is now a primary challenge,” he said. “As the profession and client needs continue to evolve, how can we deliver the best possible legal services while operating efficiently, and with our characteristic personal service?”
Today, as at its founding, MCCM attorneys are equally comfortable meeting their clients to give legal advice and analysis in the board room, a local diner, or over the kitchen or coffee table at home. “This is simply who we are,” says Mike McConville. “We are almost like real people.”
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McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.
We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England. They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts. For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.