I’m a native New Yorker. I always aspired to be a lawyer because of my father Charles. He was an attorney who represented everyday people with everyday problems in the South Bronx from the 1940's through the 1970's and thereafter practiced in Mount Vernon, until his retirement for a legal career spanning over fifty (50) years. Because of him, I learned at an early age that it’s the duty of those more fortunate to help those who are less fortunate. He learned that from my grandfather (and namesake) Joseph Schmelkin. He was a poor Russian immigrant who arrived at Ellis Island in 1904. Later, he achieved the American Dream.
For nearly 30 years, my focus has been representing those who have been pushed aside after being injured when their rights were violated. I’ve worked in the areas of vehicle, building and construction accidents, product liability, police liability, discrimination – and many others.
Our key to successful representation is simply to devote all time it takes for your case to come to fruition – even if that means working on weekends, working before sunrise, or working after sunset. That is what a client can expect from our firm.
After full preparation, evaluation and review, I never recommend an out-of-court settlement to a client when I believe that his or her case should be tried. And I never recommend a trial when I believe that the case should be settled.
I never gamble with a client's money by trying a case when he or she wants to settle, just to boost my batting average. But I’m never “gun shy” either. I never avoid a trial if my client refuses to settle. My client's wishes always come first.
Over the years I’ve participated in many community programs concerning civil and legal rights. I've provided pro bono services, lectures and legal rights seminars to many religious institutions, social clubs, unions, tenants associations, civil rights groups, etc... I’ve received recognition for these services from members of the Manhattan Borough President's Office, the New York City Council and the New York State Assembly, as well as the United States Congress.
I’m married to the former Judy Charchat. We have three children, Marc, Adam and Seth – and each of them is interested in a law career! When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, as well as hiking, skiing, old time blues and classic rock and roll - and rooting for the New York Yankees!
Bachelor of Arts received from City College of New York
Juris Doctor received from New York Law School
New York State
United States District Court - Southern District of New York
United States District Court - Eastern District of New York
United States District Court - Northern District of New York
United States District Court - Western District of New York
United States Supreme Court - Washington, D.C.
Professional Associations and Memberships:
New York State Trial Lawyers Association
Academy of Trial Lawyers of the State of New York
American Association for Justice
New York State Bar Association
New York County Lawyers Association