Michael P. Stafford focuses his practice on trusts and estates, commercial real estate and estate planning and administration both in New York and Florida. A frequent lecturer at continuing legal education (CLE) programs in both states, Mike’s extensive Florida practice and his involvement in Florida Bar activities make him unique among New York State lawyers.
How do you build successful client relationships?
You build brick by brick . . . establishing trust one relationship at a time. If you’re entrusted with a matter, you do the very best you can, being sensitive to what the client really wants, and you give independent advice. If you keep doing that, your practice will grow.
“Success is simply the realization that I have helped a client reach a valid business or personal goal by providing independent legal advice and direction along the way. Success is even sweeter if I know that the client has truly understood and appreciated the role I played.”
What was a defining moment in your career?
A defining moment for me was when I decided to practice law, since I was in three prior professional arenas before that. I had been a sportswriter, political reporter and editor for UPI; an executive assistant to a state senator and the director of communications for New York State Chief Judge Charles Breitel and then for Governor Malcolm Wilson; and a corporate public relations executive. The fact that I’ve landed with a great firm like Farrell Fritz after so many years as a sole practitioner has been a terrific opportunity for me. I enjoy working with the great lawyers here and with a firm that stresses pro bono work and charitable involvement.
What makes Farrell Fritz stand out from other practices?
From an internal standpoint, it’s the camaraderie – the ability to pull together and help one another – which is very unusual in a law firm. When I first started here, I was astounded how friendly the culture was. I think that’s what makes us a great firm. Clients see that and like that about us. They know that when they call me for a particular problem that touches on corporate law or other areas, I can reach out to get help resolving the problem from somebody else in the firm. Also, I don’t know of any other firm with a bigger commitment to enhancing the professionalism and careers of young lawyers and to supporting the community through organizations and charities.