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Michael Bersani

Michael Bersani

Michaels & Smolak
  • Personal Injury, Legal Malpractice, Medical Malpractice...
  • New York, Pennsylvania
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Summary

Mike Bersani is a very experienced and respected New York State trial lawyer concentrating his practice almost entirely on personal injury claims. He is a widely published author on personal injury law. He has published numerous articles on the subject, and wrote and published the book "Understanding Your New York Personal Injury Claim", which can be ordered on his website.

Mike Bersani graduated Magna Cum Laude (top 5% of his class) from Syracuse University College of Law in 1993. He went on to do a two-year clerkship with an appellate court in Rochester, NY. Since then he has devoted his practice to helping injured people recover compensation from those responsible for their injuries.

Mike has the highest lawyer ranking ("AV") in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell directory. This "AV" rating means that judges and other lawyers have rated him, compared to other lawyers, "very high to preeminent in legal ability, expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence." Mike is also listed in "Best Lawyers in America".

Mike is a community activist. He has served for nearly two decades on the board of directors of the Worker Justice Center of New York (formerly the Farm Workers' Legal Services of New York), which provides free legal service to undeserved agricultural workers. He has served as the chair of the Geneva Human Rights Commission, and has served as chair of the board of directors of the Auburn, NY YMCA, as well as the chair of the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, New York. He also volunteered for many years for the Boys & Girls Club by taking the Club members for weekly swims at the YMCA in Geneva. Because of his commitment to helping others less fortunate than himself, Mike was named 2009 Citizen of Year by his hometown Geneva, New York Chamber of Commerce.

Practice Areas
  • Personal Injury
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Products Liability
Additional Practice Areas
  • Car Accidents
  • General Negligence
  • Premises Liability
  • Wrongful Death
Fees
  • Free Consultation
  • Contingent Fees
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    generally 1/3 contingency fee
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New York
Pennsylvania
2nd Circuit
Federal Circuit
Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • French: Spoken, Written
  • Spanish: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Current
Law Clerk
New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division Fourth Department
-
Researched and wrote reports, with recommendations, for the appellate justices regarding the appeals to be decided
Education
Middlebury College
M.A. | Spanish
Syracuse University College of Law
J.D. (1993)
-
Graduated in top 5% of class.
Honors: Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, Justinian Society, Scribes Award for outstanding legal writing, Law Review
Activities: Associate Editor for Law Review.
Awards
Citizen of the Year
Geneva Area Chambre of Commerce
Was honored as Citizen of the Year in the City of Geneva, New York (place of residence) for years of service on several not-for-profit boards and for providing regular free legal assistance in Spanish to Hispanic farm workers and for volunteer work with the children of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva.
Received an “AV” rating
Martindale–Hubbell Law Directory
Super Lawyer
Law & Politics Magazine
The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
Professional Associations
Elite personal injury Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Member
Current
Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, NY
President
- Current
Activities: Has served on this Board since 2006, has served as vice-president and president, and as a regular volunteer to take the children skating, swimming, and to other after school activities.
New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
Member
- Current
YMCA of Auburn, NY
President
- Current
Activities: Has served on this Board since 1998, and is currently its president.
Farmworkers' Legal Services of NY
Board Member and Secretary
- Current
Activities: Has served on the board of this not-for-profit since 1998 -- provides free legal services to disadvantaged farm workers, who are mostly Hispanic immigrants.
Ontario County Bar Association
Member
- Current
Onondaga County Bar Association
Member
- Current
Cayuga County Bar Association
Member
- Current
American Institute for Justice
Member
- Current
New York State Trial Lawyers Association
Member
- Current
New York State Bar # 2578953
Member
- Current
Human Rights Commission of Geneva, NY
Chair
-
Activities: Served on this Commission for 3 years and as its Chair for 2 years - the Commission provides free legal help to victims of discrimination, and provides education about discrimination, in Geneva, New York.
Speaking Engagements
New York Municipal Liability Annual Update, precedents & Statutes, Syracuse, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, NY
New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
I write and then deliver this annual update on New York municipal liability cases across New York State every Fall.
New York Municipal Liability Annual Update, precedents & Statutes, Syracuse, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, NY
New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
I write and then deliver this annual update on New York municipal liability cases across New York State every Fall.
New York Municipal Liability Annual Update, precedents & Statutes, Syracuse, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, NY
New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
I write and then deliver this annual update on New York municipal liability cases across New York State every Fall.
New York Municipal Liability Annual Update, precedents & Statutes, Syracuse, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, NY
New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
I write and then deliver this annual update on New York municipal liability cases across New York State every Fall.
Certifications
Multi-Million Dollar Advocate
The Top Trial Lawyers in America
Best Lawyers in America Certification
Best Lawyers in America
Legal Answers
6 Questions Answered

Q. When filing a suit against a person/business, is it better to select a firm who already won a case against the business?
A: Generally, yes. They will have a head start. They will already have "discovery items" (documents they got in the first lawsuit) about the company. They will have likely already deposed the company's main players. They will likely have deposition transcripts they can use.
Q. I think my attorney's paralegal drafted my will - is that okay?
A: Yes, as long as the lawyer reviewed and approved it.
Q. Is 40% reasonable for medical device lawsuit claim
A: If you are in New York, the maximum that can be charged is 1/3, and 40% is not allowed (if your case is about a personal injury).
Q. Is it allowed under New York bar rules to date the attorney representing you in a personal injury lawsuit?
A: Yes, it is allowable, but not advisable. However, it is not allowed at all if the lawyer is representing the client in a domestic relations matter. Rule 8(j)(1). And it is never permissible to make sexual relations a condition for representation.
Q. Do I need to be 18 to create my own affidavit?
A: You can "create an affidavit" when you are under 18, but you can't be a party to a lawsuit, or settle your own claim, unless you are 18. If you are under 18, you will need a parent or guardian to be the party for you (for your benefit) and your parent or guardian will have to apply, with the help of a lawyer, to Surogate's Court for permission to settle your case.
Q. should i sign off on a settlement claim for $1100.00 . they want me to sign off on all claims?
A: You should NOT settle without first checking with a competent New York personal injury lawyer. It may be that your case is too small for any New York personal injury lawyer to want to take, in which case your options are, as a practical matter, limited. Nevertheless, you should at least try to get a NY personal injury lawyer to talk to you briefly about your injuries, the facts of the case, etc., before "signing on the dotted line".
Click here to see all answers
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Contact & Map
Michaels & Smolak
Auburn Office
17 E Genesee St
#401
Auburn, NY 13021
USA
Telephone: (315) 253-3293
Fax: (315) 252-6970
Michaels & Smolak
Liverpool Office
245 Commerce Blvd
Liverpool, NY 13088
USA
Telephone: (315) 253-3293
Fax: (315) 252-6970
Michaels & Smolak
Syracuse Office - By appointment only
224 Harrison St
#308
Syracuse, NY 13202
USA
Telephone: (315) 253-3293
Fax: (315) 252-6970
Michaels & Smolak
Geneva Office - By appointment only
20 Maxwell Ave
Geneva, NY 14456
USA
Telephone: (315) 253-3293
Fax: (315) 252-6970