Mike is married and resides in Penfield with his wife, Jennifer, and their two kids (son, age 8 and daughter, age 6). Mike’s wife is a Penfield native, a Penfield High School graduate and a near life-long resident of Penfield (she owned a home for a few years just over the Perinton border in Penfield Heights). Jennifer’s family settled in the Village Green neighborhood and were local business owners, operating for many years the Mobil station at the corner of Atlantic and Blossom. Mike and Jennifer were married at St. Joseph’s Church and settled in Penfield to raise their family and have lived here for over ten years. Their kids attended preschool at St. Joseph’s.
Mike grew up in rural Niagara County in a town not unlike Penfield, except smaller – the Town of Newfane, about 60 miles due west. Growing up, he learned and embraced traditional values that he continues to live by– including the importance of strong family bonds, commitment to community and the value of hard work. Mike also appreciate the benefits and opportunities that come with education and doing well in school and graduated Valedictorian of his high school class. Beginning when he was five, Mike was also actively involved with scouting all the way through school, including Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, ultimately achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He enjoyed all that scouting had to offer, including camping, leadership opportunities and a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch with a hike up to the peak of Mount Baldy.
For college, Mike attended the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. He achieved a number of academic honors, including Dean’s List and Golden Key National Honor Society, received the Irving M. Ives Award and was named a Merrill Presidential Scholar. He graduated with honors and at the top of his class. He also served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Economic and Social Statistics. He was the first in his extended family to achieve a four-year degree.
After college, Mike attended Harvard Law School and obtained a law degree. While there, he worked on the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, was a member of the mock trial team and worked as an admissions office assistant. He also continued with his interest in teaching by serving as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard College in the Department of Statistics for three semesters, including one semester as Head Teaching Fellow. He graduated from law school in 2000 and thereafter was admitted to the New York bar.
Mike’s Legal Experience
Mike started his career living in New York City, working at the multinational law firm of Shearman & Sterling. He thoroughly enjoyed his job there – but perhaps that most defining moment of that time in his life was being in New York when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. Living and working in midtown Manhattan on that day will be something he will never forget. As the days passed, he witnessed firsthand a city under fire rise up in defiance of the attempt to strike fear and destroy our way of life. It Mike took away many lessons from that day and the weeks thereafter, but they certainly include love conquering hate, homeland protection consistent with our values and unity arising out of destruction.
Ultimately, Mike did not expect to live in New York City forever, and he jumped at the chance to return upstate to work at a small firm that focuses on employment litigation. That means the vast majority of his legal career – the past sixteen years plus—have been spent working on cases that are in court and before judges. Most all of his work relates to cases in court – including writing briefs and regularly appearing in court to argue motions along with some trials. Mike has been in courts and appeared before judges across the country. His work mostly includes representing employees in disputes in the workplace, helping protect the rights people have at work. He has worked on cases involving one individual and class actions involving thousands of workers.
Why Mike is the Right Choice for Penfield Town Justice
Mike has the right educational background for the job and the right experience to be Penfield’s next Town Justice.
Mike regularly appears in court and has the legal skill to be a judge. He knows the court system; he knows how to assess the facts; he knows how to apply the law. Mike believes our justice system requires and is built on an impartial hearing on the facts, and accountability and consequences when the law has been broken while making sure those consequences are fair and just. Mike knows he can apply the law in that way.
Mike also understands how the law affects real people on a daily basis. Given that town court is often the front line of our judicial system, having that understanding will help guide him to decisions that best result in fair and just outcomes in cases.
Mike also appreciates and respects due process and the rule of law. And having observed many judges over his career, he knows what makes for a good judge. Judges should be respectful to lawyers and individuals appearing before them. They should have to be open-minded and willing to listen. They should be decisive and above all fair. Mike can be that judge and that’s why he’s the right choice for Penfield Town Justice.