Matthew C. Van Vessem

Matthew C. Van Vessem: Attorney with Goldberg Segalla LLP


Matthew Van Vessem is a partner in the firm's Employment and Labor Practice Group. He concentrates his practice in the areas of labor and employment litigation, wage and hour litigation, employee discipline, collective bargaining, New York State Education Law, and municipal law.

Matt represents private and public sector clients - including many of the largest employers in Western New York - in administrative and legal proceedings, including labor arbitrations, agency hearings, and state and federal court litigation. These clients include numerous cities, towns, and other municipalities; school districts and boards of education; and police and fire departments, hospitals, and transit authorities.

Matt litigates and counsels clients through matters involving discipline, termination, health insurance, overtime, alleged discrimination, and grievances of all varieties. He has litigated matters involving the New York State Civil Service Law and New York State General Municipal Law Section 207-c, as well as collective actions under the Federal Labor Standards Act ranging from four to 200 employee-plaintiffs. Matt regularly resolves matters before the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR), and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He is also known for his adept handling of the arbitration of collective bargaining disputes and other sensitive employment and labor, education, and municipal matters - as, for example, disputes involving Education Law 3020-a, the statutory proceeding by which a school district disciplines a tenured teacher or administrator. Several times Matt has successfully litigated unsettled matters of employment and labor, civil rights, and municipal law, attaining outcomes and establishing case law favorable to his clients. Matt also has extensive appellate court experience, including Article 78 appeals, and has represented municipalities before the New York State Court of Appeals.

While providing clients with trial and appellate representation for both standard disputes and unusual, unexpected situations, Matt dedicates at least 50 percent of his practice to offering daily advice and counsel to clients on a wide range of employment and labor, civil rights, and municipal law and liability matters. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling employers with regard to challenged associated with unions and employees who work as uniformed personnel, particularly police and fire. He has also lectured and written on a number of topics of particular interest to municipalities, including the employee disciple and discharge application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to municipal employers and the special rules applicable to public sector police and fire employees.

Before entering private practice, Matt was assistant corporation counsel for the City of Buffalo.


Best Lawyers in America
•Employment Law - Management, 2017-19
•Labor Law - Management, 2017-19
•Upstate New York Super Lawyers, 2012-18
Business First's Who's Who in Law (Labor and Employment)


•Sixty-One Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Featured in 2018 Upstate New York Super Lawyers
August 13, 2018
•The Best Lawyers in America 2019 Names Thomas F. Segalla, Albert J. D'Aquino, John P. Freedenberg Lawyers of the Year, Lists Thirty-four Goldberg Segalla Attorneys
August 15, 2018
•Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Named 2016 Upstate New York Super Lawyers
August 15, 2016
•Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Listed in 2015 Upstate New York Super Lawyers
August 21, 2015
•Thirty-Nine Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Listed in 2014 Upstate New York Super Lawyers
August 11, 2014


•The Best Lawyers in America 2018 names Neil A. Goldberg, Thomas P. Bernier, Albert J. D'Aquino, and David L. Brown Lawyers of the Year, Lists Thirty-two Goldberg Segalla Attorneys
August 17, 2017
•Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Listed in 2017 Upstate New York Super Lawyers
August 2017
•Prominent Labor and Employment Attorneys Join Goldberg Segalla
August 1, 2010


•Goldberg Segalla's Matthew Van Vessem Wins in Appeal Decision Affirming Termination of Williamsville School Administrator
September 20, 2017
•Goldberg Segalla Helps City of Buffalo Return Police Officer to Work
November, 10, 2012
•Goldberg Segalla Helps City of Buffalo Achieve Reversal of Arbitration Award in Firefighters’ Retroactive Pay Raise Case
January 12, 2012
•Partners are 4-0 at the Court of Appeals
•Matthew C. Van Vessem Successfully Represents the City of Buffalo Before the NY Court of Appeals on the Issue of Back Pay for Police and Firefighters Following the End of the Wage Freeze
March 29, 2011


• Employee Discipline - From Investigation to Penalty - Tips, Strategies, and Lessons Learned, NYSPERLA Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, July 20, 2018
• Investigations, Discipline, and Discharge, Organization of Public Employee Negotiators Workshop, Buffalo, NY, October 20, 2017
• Hot Topics in Labor and Employment Law, NYSPERLA Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, July 22, 2016
• Tips from the Trenches for Municipalities and Update on FLSA, O.P.E.N. Current Public Employment Issues Workshop, Buffalo, NY, October 16, 2015
•New York State Public Employment Labor Relations Association Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY, July 17, 2013
•New York State Public Employer Relations Association, July 2009


•Quoted in “ Seeking a Quality Free Appropriate Public Education for All, ” Buffalo Law Journal, October 20, 2014
•Quoted in “Law Limits Right of Unpaid Interns to Sue,” Buffalo Law Journal, October 28, 2013
•Quoted in “Judge Reverses Award for City Firefighters’ Raises,” Buffalo News, January 13, 2012
•Quoted in “Buffalo Teachers, Workers Lose Bid for Pay Step Hikes During Wage Freeze,” Buffalo News, March 30, 2011

Areas of Practice (5)

  • Constitutional Law and Civil Rights Claims
  • Employment and Labor
  • Municipalities and Public Entities
  • Corporate Services and Commercial Litigation
  • Higher Education

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
716.566.5476  Phone
716.566.5401  Fax
University Attended:
State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., magna cum laude, 1992
Law School Attended:
State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D., 1997
Year of First Admission:
U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; 1998, New York

Professional Affiliations

•New York State Management Attorneys Conference
•Organization of Public Employer Negotiators
•National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA)
•New York State Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NYSPERLA) Board of Directors
•Erie County Association of School Boards

Birth Information:
Reported Cases:
Representative Matters: Succeeded in an appeal to vacate an arbitration award that disallowed a police commissioner's authority to make employment decisions under Civil Service Law; Negotiated and implemented a procedure with a law enforcement officers' union to monitor and manage officers injured at work, and obtaining numerous favorable determinations for with regard to police officers on General Municipal Law Section 207-c status; Represented a large regional transportation authority for over a decade in complex, high-value labor and employment proceedings; assisted in bargaining and mediation with the authority's largest union, securing important concessions on health insurance, and settling a long-expired collective bargaining agreement; defended the authority in various employment litigation matters, including three FLSA collective actions filed against the authority; represented the authority in grievance proceedings and other administrative matters, including proceedings before the Public Employment Relations Board; Successfully represented a large municipal hospital created under New York Public Authorities Law in multiple petitions to stay arbitration pursuant to New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules Article 75, resulting in the withdrawal of numerous grievances filed by the New York State Nurses' Association and the Civil Service Employees Association; also successfully defended the hospital in an Article 78 proceeding in New York State Supreme Court in which multiple unions challenged the hospital's power and authority to implement and administer an internal civil service system
Payment Information:
  • Fixed Hourly Rates
  • Fixed Fees Available

Peer Reviews

  • 4.9/5.0 (6 reviews)
  • Peer Reviewed
  • Legal Knowledge

  • Analytical Capability

  • Judgment

  • Communication

  • Legal Experience


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*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Documents (10)

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