Stephen W. Schlissel


Steve Schlissel is a matrimonial and family law attorney who is highly regarded throughout the country. He has been recognized for his legal expertise as well as his philanthropic efforts. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Steve was admitted to practice in 1962. He is a founding and past-managing member of Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos, PLLC a matrimonial boutique of Garden City, New York. Steve has been the lead attorney in a number of cases changing the landscape of the law in New York. In one of his cases, New York’s highest court set the standards for determining the validity of Separation Agreements. Steve was one of the first lawyers anywhere to successfully limit the right of a parent to smoke in the presence of the children. He has established law in cases protecting the rights of the non-monied spouse to effective legal counseling and in other cases regarding the propriety of interim counsel fee awards. He has consistently challenged the law when necessary to effectively represent his client. One Judge referred to Steve as an “outstanding trial lawyer” in a written decision and another as the “Dean” of the matrimonial bar. Steve’s prior experience as the head of the litigation group of a large law firm has put him in a position to understand the nuances of complicated litigation.

His Wharton School background makes him an effective representative of his client’s financial issues. Steve is a co-founder of Parents Education And Custody Effectively (P.E.A.C.E.), one of the first education programs for divorcing and separating parents in New York. He was the Chair of a Joint Task Force of the ABA’s Family Law Section and the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts focused on parent education programs. Steve was the first male Co-Chair of the Nassau County Judicial Women in the Courts Committee. Steve also was a Co-Founder of the Nassau County Interdisciplinary Forum, the first local group bringing together judges, lawyers and mental health professionals working for children and families. In 2010, Steve was chosen as one of the top 100 Super Lawyers, out of 64,000, in the New York City Metropolitan area, and the only attorney chosen whose office was not located in Manhattan. He has been chosen for every edition of Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. In 2013 he received the highest honor the Nassau County Bar Association (“NCBA”) gives – its Gold Medallion – awarded to one person each year “for service which has enhanced the reputation and dignity of the legal profession”. Past recipients include Presidents Eisenhower and Hoover, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, 3 other U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 4 New York U.S. Senators and 3 New York Governors. He has lectured throughout the country and has authored and co-authored numerous articles. He served for seven years as a member of the Grievance Committee for the 10th Judicial District and served four years on the Committee on Character and Fitness. He presently serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the New York State Attorney Client Fee Dispute Resolution Board, on the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Review Committee for Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and on the Judicial Hearing Officer Approval Committee for the same counties. Steve taught as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School for thirty-four years and at Hofstra Law School for twenty years.

An active member of the NCBA, Steve has given a remarkable amount of time and effort to many NCBA committees. He has been a member of its Board of Directors, the Judiciary Committee, the Grievance Committee, the Ethic Committee and the Matrimonial and Family Law Committee. In addition, he has worked diligently to ensure the success of the WE CARE Fund, the charitable arm of the NCBA. He has been honored by having the NCBA’s WE CARE annual outing renamed the WE CARE Stephen W. Schlissel Golf and Tennis Classic. He has also been honored by the Nassau County Coalition against Domestic Violence, as well as numerous other organizations. Steve authored the first edition, and co-authored the second edition, of a two volume work entitled “Separation Agreements and Marital Contracts”. Steve is married to his wife Joan. They have three daughters, three sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.

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