Law firm Kaufman Dolowich Voluck LLP has locations in major cities across the country, and its newest one is right here in Westchester.
The office at 1025 Westchester Ave. in White Plains is Kaufman Dolowich Voluck’s fourth in the Northeast. The others are in New York City’s Financial District, Long Island and New Jersey.
Michael L. Zigelman and Mary Jo Barry, who are co-managing partners of the New York City office, will also co-manage the White Plains office.
The office will bring lawyers closer to an existing client base in Westchester and Fairfield counties, and make Kaufman Dolowich Voluck’s attorneys more accessible to prospective clients in the area, the firm said.
Although specific practices vary within the firm by location, in general, it offers services to businesses and corporations large and small, in a variety of industries including insurance, real estate, education and hospitality, among others.
“With all the talk of reducing office space for a post-pandemic hybrid workforce, while this may seem counterintuitive, we believe the pandemic has demonstrated the need to be closer to where our clients and attorneys reside,” Zigelman said.
“An office in Westchester allows us to better serve our clients who live and work in Westchester County and Connecticut who are more comfortable with shorter commuting times. The office also gives us a better opportunity to expand key practices such as insurance coverage, employment practices liability, commercial litigation and private client business in this growing community.”
John Mancebo, partner at the Westchester and New York City locations, said that his practice is concerned with representing management from various companies.
“It’s all about the companies and management,” Mancebo said. “My practice is encompassed with representing management companies, in regards to employment issues, which is pretty broad, whether it’s litigation, matters that are administrative charges that are brought with the New York State Division of Human Rights, various state and federal actions, wage and hour (laws), and also compliance issues, internal counseling and internal investigations of complaints. So it runs the gamut in regards to any employee or employment issues that we come across.”
Mancebo explained that while other attorneys at the location have different focus areas, they all have the same type of client base.
“We do have other attorneys that handle insurance issues or coverage issues, data breaches and data privacy issues,” he said.
Although the need for the new location had been growing for some time, the pandemic contributed to getting the idea off the ground.
“The need arose after Covid, for the firm as a whole to get better and to give our attorneys more flexibility as to what they would or where they would be able to go to the office,” Mancebo said. “There are a lot of New York City attorneys that reside in Westchester that may find it difficult to go back into the city or public transportation to go back to the city, so this allows them to work out of an office that’s closer to where they live.”
As a Westchester native himself, Mancebo acknowledged that there are certain needs that differentiate the Westchester business landscape from that of the city or the other northeastern locations that the firm operates in, and that the firm takes this into consideration when representing local clients.
“I have a good understanding as to what the specific needs are and the different level of exposure that businesses and companies have in Westchester County,” he said.
“It’s slightly different at times from what those needs are for companies in New York City. So for me, it was that I wanted to have a presence in Westchester that’s above and beyond what we currently have in our city, so that we would be able to meet the needs of the Westchester business community. And so far, it’s been a good start. Where other firms are contracting in size, we are growing, and by not only let’s say the attorneys firm-wide, but also in a specific way here in Westchester.”
The office is growing and preparing for new clients on top of being able to better serve its existing ones here in Westchester; Mancebo mentioned that the Westchester team is gaining two lawyers who will begin within the next couple of months.
Although the firm was busy last year with navigating unprecedented employment and workforce issues and guidelines in the mass layoffs that came with the pandemic and shutdowns, they also saw a slump when courts were still transitioning to virtual settings and individuals may have held off on litigations. Mancebo reported that the practices are starting to see an increase in activity once again.
“Where individuals may have held off on filing complaints because of the pandemic, they are now able to do so, or feel more comfortable doing so,” he said. “We’re seeing a very significant rise on both ends, which has ultimately led to an even bigger motivation for us to open the Westchester office because there was this greater need across the board.”