Excellence, Integrity and Creativity in Family Law
At one of the most difficult times in a person's life - separation or divorce - the boutique matrimonial and family law firm of Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos, PLLC (SOK) provides clients with extraordinarily skilled and nationally recognized attorneys to help them navigate through their troubling issues.
"The firm takes pride in bringing the highest degree of excellence, integrity and creativity to the practice of matrimonial law," says Stephen W. Schlissel, founding and managing partner. By applying the benefits of its collective experience, its analytical and practical approach, and its "thinking outside the box," SOK has continuously been able to effectively represent clients in high-end and complex financial, valuation and property distribution matters, as well as custody and support issues.
"Remarkably," says co-founder and partner Elena Karabatos, "Steve and I have been practicing together since the mid-eighties, Mike Ostrow (who Steve knows since 1967) joined in 2000, and three of the other partners have been with the firm since before their admission to the Bar." These long-term relationships create an extraordinary ability to effectively provide a full team approach to client issues.
Schlissel, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business as well as Harvard Law School (cum laude), brings a unique business perspective to the practice of law. Consider the recent divorce between a personal injury lawyer and his wife, in which SOK represented the wife. "Through expert testimony, including the use of the husband's life insurance benefits from the firm, we convinced the Court to value the husband's share of his firm at nearly 15 times what the so-called neutral court-appointed evaluator said it was worth," he recalls. "It was really a fantastic result for the client." In another recent case, SOK successfully negotiated a settlement in which the client's shares of his company were valued at roughly one-seventh the value assigned to them by the wife's expert. In yet another case, SOK attorneys were the first lawyers to successfully obtain a restraining order preventing a parent from smoking in the presence of the children.
Although the firm's lawyers have years of trial experience, SOK makes every effort to address client issues by the use of all methods of dispute resolution, including collaborative law, mediation and negotiation. Karabatos, in addition to being a litigator, is trained in collaborative law and mediation, and Schlissel is a trained mediator and arbitrator of domestic relations matters. Karabatos' philosophy is that "lawyers should be trained in all methods of conflict resolution and be flexible to select the correct approach for each specific case and client." This tailored approach to handling cases is ascribed to by all members of the firm.
For all their business savvy, the attorneys of SOK are also highly sensitive to the emotional well-being of clients and their children. Thus, SOK attorneys helped found the interdisciplinary Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness program, known as PEACE, the first program of its kind in New York State. PEACE continues to provide education at no cost to divorcing parents.