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2010 Lawyers of the Year Spotlight

Best Lawyers has named individuals as Lawyers of the Year in the New York area, based on their particularly high level of peer recognition.

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Michael P. Koskoff, Thomas A. Moore, Frank J. Vecchione  

Michael P. Koskoff
Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAW

Michael P. Koskoff, 67, believes that the law can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives. Born into a legal family, Koskoff is the son of Theodore I. Koskoff, founder of Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, PC, and former president of American Association for Justice.

“My first motivation to become an attorney was definitely my father,” Koskoff says. “The second motivation was the belief that using the law could affect social change.”

Today, Koskoff’s son, Joshua, practices law with him at the firm. Koskoff earned a JD at the University of Connecticut, and has been practicing law for more than 43 years. Originally, Koskoff studied acting at the American Shakespeare Academy.

“My acting experience has made a difference in my work as a trial lawyer where you have to relate to a wide range of people at a gut level,” he says.

Koskoff says that working with his father on the New Haven Black Panther trials in the 1970’s made him the lawyer that he is today. Another memorable case involved a Yale University intern who contracted HIV during her training.

“The jury found the Yale medical school responsible,” Koskoff says. “The decision made me feel that a life was being protected. I knew that changes would be made to protect other people.”

In 2009, Koskoff was elected vice president of the Inner Circle of Advocates. He is the only member of the organization from Connecticut.

“One key to my success is the team at my firm. I would be nothing without my secretary,” Koskoff says. “Lawyers who try to take center stage all the time are misleading everyone.”


Thomas A. Moore
Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAW

Thomas A. Moore, 67, says he works best when he has a cause. Early in his career, the cause was a zeal for souls as Moore studied to become a Catholic missionary priest. When he was almost 26, Moore decided to not take the final step. Instead, he applied to law school. Moore worked during the day and attended night classes at Fordham University School of Law.

“My cause is to champion for those who are most in need, and for those who most need me now,” Moore says.

Since earning a JD in 1972, Moore has won hundreds of verdicts and settlements for multiple millions of dollars each. A member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, Moore has also received The National Law Journal’s Lawyer of the Year honor twice. His achievements in the courtroom have earned Moore a stellar reputation as a trial lawyer.

“I totally enjoy going to court, but never stand in the way of a fair settlement,” Moore says. “You get a fair and just settlement for your clients if you are ready to go to trial and the other side knows it by your reputation.”

Moore and wife, Judith A. Livingston, work together as senior partners of the firm.

“Being married to a lawyer who does that same thing either works famously or goes totally up in flames,” he says. “The interaction is so intense that there has to be love as the foundation, otherwise it can’t survive.”

His experiences have afforded Moore wisdom to pass on to up-and-coming attorneys.

“No matter how adversarial or contentious the proceedings are, never, ever compromise your word,” he says. “Always guard it jealously.”


Frank J. Vecchione
Gibbons
BANKRUPTCY AND CREDITOR-DEBTOR RIGHTS LAW

Frank J. Vecchione, 74, doesn’t remember exactly why he became an attorney. Initially, he considered studying journalism before switching majors. Vecchione’s decision led to a highly successful legal career spanning more than 44 years. During that time, he developed a positive reputation for his work representing creditors, debtors and fiduciaries in Chapter 11 cases.

When he started practicing law in 1965, bankruptcy was a small practice.

“One of the judges in the bankruptcy court started to appoint me as a receiver, and I also became the attorney for such receivers,” he said. “It increased my workload, and I found that I liked it.”

Vecchione earned his JD from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1964. He received the Christopher Columbus Italian Heritage Award from the Italian Tribune. In 1968, a professor at Seton Hall asked Vecchione if he would be interested in teaching a debtor-creditor relations class. Vecchione taught at Seton Hall as an adjunct professor for 22 years until 1990.

He served as counsel for Bloomfield College in 1976 when the school became the first four-year college to successfully reorganize under the Bankruptcy Act. Vecchione also worked on the Chapter 11 case of Marvel Enterprises.

“John Gibbons was appointed as the trustee, and our firm as counsel for the trustee. I was lead attorney,” Vecchione says. “Working with the comic book publisher that invented Spiderman made this a fun case. There were a lot of interesting issues including intellectual property.”


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