Stephen W. Schlissel
Stephen W. Schlissel has been considered one of the leading matrimonial attorneys on Long Island – and, indeed, among top lawyers nationally – for nearly four decades. Tough, creative and with a wry, sharp wit, Schlissel is known also for his business leadership, having built one of the largest matrimonial practices on Long Island. None of this is terribly surprising, considering his roots: Schlissel, the son of a judge, went to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business as an undergraduate, and later to Harvard Law School, from which he graduated cum laude.
Early on Steve joined now Federal Judge Jack Weinstein, who was the Nassau County Attorney; Schlissel also worked for Bernard Meyer, another legend of the New York bench. It was such mentors that groomed Schlissel for professional leadership early on, and, with new divorce statutes in the mid 1960s, the bright young attorney was able to grow with the law itself. Indeed, Schlissel was the attorney for the successful party in a number of ground breaking cases, including the important Christian case having to do with protecting the integrity of property settlement agreements, and more recently, the Frankel case, which helped assure the rights of non-wealthy spouses to quality legal representation by affirming the rights of their attorneys to collect legal fees from their wealthier spouses.
In the 1980s Schlissel, recognizing the devastating emotional impact of divorce on parents and children, co-founded Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness (PEACE), the first of its kind in New York State, which continues to educate divorcing parents. Six years ago, long time friend and one-time rival Michael Ostrow joined Schlissel and his partner Elena Karabatos, to form a firm now composed of eight attorneys which handles mostly complex and challenging cases.
Steve taught as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School for over thirty-two years, specializing recently in a Domestic Relations Seminar on Separation Agreements. He was an adjunct professor at Hofstra Law School from 1979 until 1999. He also presented Law School courses on Commercial Paper, Administrative Law, Conflicts of Law, and Professional Responsibility (Ethics).
Steve has lectured throughout the country and authored and co-authored many articles, including "Child Custody Following Divorce: How Grasp the Nettle", co-authored with Honorable Bernard S. Meyer of the New York State Court of Appeals, published in the New York State Bar Journal. He is the original author of a two-volume work entitled Separation Agreements and Marital Contracts, the first edition of which was referred to by one reviewer as a "gourmet treat" and the "meat and potatoes" for the matrimonial attorney, and the second edition of which was referred to by a reviewer as her "new best friend".
Steve has been chosen as one of the top attorneys in the country in all editions of "The Best Lawyers in America" [Woodward/White]. He was selected as one of New York's top matrimonial attorneys by The New York Law Journal in 1983 and was the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers" National Fellow of the Year in 1993. He served for more than eight years, by appointment of the Justices of the Appellate Division, Second Department, as a member of the Grievance Committee for Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The same Court also appointed him to its Committee on Character and Fitness, which reviews the qualifications of all candidates seeking admission to the Bar. He is also a member, by appointment of then Presiding Justice Bracken of the Appellate Division, Second Department and re-appointment by now presiding Justice Prudenti, of the Board of Governors of the New York State Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Resolution Program. He is a member of the joint First and Second Department Mental Health Professional Review Committee, and is the Financial Chair of the Nassau County Bar Association's We Care Fund. He is also a co-chair of the Nassau County Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts, having been appointed by the Honorable Anthony F. Marano, Administrative Judge of the Nassau County Courts.
Steve's professional associations include being a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers ("AAML") and the American, New York State and Nassau County Bar Associations, as well as the New York State Family Law Section. He is also a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, membership in which is limited to only 100 attorneys across America. He served three (3) terms as Continuing Legal Education Chairman of the National Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, was a member of the Arbitration Committee, and one of only 700 attorneys certified as matrimonial arbitrators by the AAML. Steve has been elected a Fellow of the prestigious American Bar Association Foundation and SCRIBES.
A Nassau County native, Schlissel is a resident of Long Beach, New York. He is married to his wife Joan for 48 years, has 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, 4 grandsons and 3 granddaughters.