“I believe that your specialization as a lawyer is defined by your clients.”
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Founding Partner, Kirschenbaum and Kirschenbaum P.C.Favorite Professors: Professor Iverson, who served as my mentor; Professor Goldberg who helped me find a position at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
Advice to students: “Take advantage of the broad, solid foundation of the liberal arts education, it really helped me pursuing law.”
Chose a career in law because: “My father was a role model and a career model for me”
Sign of Consistency: His firm has had the same telephone number for 30 years!
A Legal Tradition
Does your firm, Kirschenbaum and Kirschenbaum, have a legal specialty?
I believe that your specialization as a lawyer is defined by your clients. We have 10 lawyers and 10 staff members, and we deal with cases in all areas. Personally my work mainly consists of administering chapter 7 bankruptcy cases assigned to me by the Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee, and as counsel for the burglar and fire alarm industry. We have become nationally known for our legal work in the burglar and fire alarm industry.
What kinds of cases does the burglar and fire alarm industry deal with?
We see cases that deal with system problems and malfunctions resulting in property loss and personal injury. We also work with many cases where people react in really unpredictable or irrational ways to an alarm, and want to hold the company responsible. New technology and changes in the way our society thinks about security mean constant change for the industry.
Many years ago, just after starting my own firm, we were moving offices, and as I was walking through the door the phone rang. It was an insurance company asking me to represent them in a burglar alarm case. Since then, I have handled hundreds of cases in New York and supervised cases throughout the country. I also draft alarm contracts that are used in all 50 states. A significant part of my practice comes from my work representing the alarm industry.
To what do you attribute your nationwide success?
I think I have been somewhat fortunate to have grown professionally along with the alarm industry. Here in New York the alarm associations were organized around the same time that my practice was developing growing.
How did you become an expert in bankruptcy proceedings?
My first job was with a two-man firm that was involved in the bankruptcy of Bohack Supermarkets. Since 1978, I have been a United States Bankruptcy Panel Trustee for New York’s Eastern District. Trustees are appointed by the United States Justice Department to oversee bankruptcy proceedings of all types. I also served as the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee in the Eastern District in Brooklyn in the early 1980s while continuing to serve as a chapter 7 Trustee.
At Adelphi you studied psychology. How did you become a lawyer?
I think Adelphi provided a solid educational foundation that was helpful in pursuing a law degree. Most of all, I learned how to persevere and succeed, necessary skills when you start your own firm. Like most things, studying law will give you what you put into it.
I followed my father into law, and like him I attended Brooklyn Law School. Now we have a three-generation legacy there; my daughter Jennifer also graduated from Brooklyn. I’d like to think I was a part of her inspiration.
Do you have a favorite memory of Adelphi?
As an independent study, I worked at Herricks High School, my alma mater, on a group dynamics program. It was incredible, and was often like group therapy for the kids. After graduation, I taught emotionally disturbed students at the Maimonides Institute in Far Rockaway for one year as I attended a graduate program for a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology at St. Johns University. After one year there I decided to apply to law school.
Mr. Kirschenbaum and his wife Lois live in Old Westbury, New York. He has two grown children, is a former board member at his temple and director of Old Westbury Horseman’s Foundation. Once an avid rider, today he prefers to help promote the sport for the benefit of others while pursuing golf.
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