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Strategic Growth Spurred By Current Events

Carlino & Cohn, LLP (The Firm) recently acquired the law practice of Ricca & Donnelly, P.C. (R&D), continurng a growth strategy based on the merger of established practices coupled with internal growth. Spearheaded by Managing Partner Jeffrey D. Forchelli, who also runs the firm's real estate and land use practice, this is the fourth expansion undertaken by the firm in five years.

LIBN "The Firm's growth stems from a belief that maintaining a robust firm requires the same level of confidence and investment that stimulates a robust economy," stated Forchelli in announcing the expansion in October of this year. "The acquisition of R&D brings a roster of attorneys with experience, talent and reputation, while broadening the scope and the depth of the representation we offer our clients."

Today, the full-service law firm at 330 Country Road in Mineola, NY, founded by Forchelli in 1976, numbers 36 attorneys. The consolidation of four new attorneys from R&D follows the 1999 merger with Curto, Barton & Alesi P.C., and the addition of William C. Cohn, Esq. in 1998, and Terence Smolev P.C. in 2001. In Spring 2002, Annand D'Amato, Esq., rejoined the firm as Of Counsel.

WORLD EVENTS AND The Firm

Recently, partners Anthony V. Curto, Barbara Shaheen Alesi and Anthony Barton successfully managed the refinancing of Photocircuits Corporation, a manufacturer and seller of circuitry boards based in Glen Cove, NY The $95 million debt reorganization allowed the company to compete more effectively in the global automotive market.

LIBN According to Curto, who also serves on the Council of Economic Advisors for Nassau County, the firm's corporate and commercial practice has been accelerated by trends in the business world. "Recent economic events as well as industry changes from the high-tech plateau and the dot.com fallout, have caused business leaders to re-examine their focus," explained Curto. "FCSMCC is supporting our clients internal business plans, handling mergers and acquisitions, and matters of banking and debt reorganization, financing, and transactional law."

Litigation Partner Donald Jay Schwartz notes that headline news, from business ethics to matters of security since September 11, have impacted the firm's area of practice. "Questions of responsibility and negligence are center stage. Companies are in the middle of crucial debates revolving around issues such as insurance policies against terrorism, the privacy and security of Internet use, possible negligence in the oversight of corporate pension funds, accounting, and more."

Adds Partner Barbara Shaheen Alesi: "In this current climate, it is essential that the firm stay in front of new legislation; for example, The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that mandates SEC governance of accounting practices."

Terence E. Smolev, Partner-in-Charge of the firm's Tax, Trusts and Estates Division reviews all aspects of new Federal and State taxation issues, as well as simple and complex estate planning.

The firm is also invested in matters of regional importance. Partner John V. Terrana heads up the firm's Tax Certiorari department and also chairs the Nassau County Bar Association's Tax Certiorari committee. Earlier this year, Nassau County announced its reassessment of all real property and Terrana has shared his expertise with The Firm clients regarding his expectations about the outcome, explaining how the new estimates may result in more equitable assessments, but may not result in lower taxes.

LIBN Jeffrey D. Forchelli, referred to as the "Norman Schwarzkopf' of strategic real estate matters by an official of the firm's long-time client, Northrop Grumman, works daily with local zoning boards, municipalities and the courts on all matters affecting the development of property.

Partner Brian Sahn, who is an expert source for reporters on a range of environmental topics from super-funds to indoor toxic pollutants, states: "Our clients encounter a variety of issues in real estate transactions. Our task is to identify and solve the problems efficiently and decisively, while maintaining the integrity of the business deal."

THE FUTURE AND The Firm

The Firm Partner Peter Mineo is known for his zoning work, particularly with religious groups seeking to establish houses of worship. Perhaps it's one reason he's a voice for community service and the betterment of the legal profession. Mineo brings this to bear in his participation as a moderator of CLE-credited courses through the New York State Bar Association. "One of the most effective ways to tend to the welfare of our profession and our nation, is to share our experience, our knowledge, and even our doubts with students," states Mineo.

The events of 9-11 led to the firm's creation of a "Family of Faith Fund" reflecting the diversity of the firm, and the intention of working with Jewish, Methodist and Catholic religious organizations to distribute the firm's donations from the Fund to families most immediately in need as a result of the tragic events.

The firm's partners are on Boards, committees, and advisory groups for several not-for-profits and human services associations, including Transplant Recipients International Organization, Inc.; North Shore Animal League America, Huntington Arts Council, and Community Mainstreaming Associates.

With the recent move of R&D, James Ricca and James F. Cantanno became the newest partners at The Firm. "We have retained our clients in the transition and I am certain that many of our long-term clients, including New York Community Bank, Atlantic Bank and Independence Community Bank, will find benefit in the consolidation of services," states Ricca.

Reprinted with permission of Long Island Business News

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