Steven R. Sugarman
Like most lawyers, I entered my profession filled with idealism. I was ready to use the law to help others. After graduating from SUNY at Buffalo Law School and being admitted to practice law in 1985, I was not sure how I could best achieve this broad goal. I dabbled in several areas of law until I felt that I found my initial calling - helping people get through the divorce and separation process. During this deeply painful time, people are scared, distrustful and overwhelmed. I found that providing a listening ear and helping to craft a sound legal strategy to resolve issues calmed people and gave them confidence in the future.
Feeling limited by the tools that litigation gives a lawyer to help his or her client, I eventually became trained as a mediator. Acting as a neutral mediator between two disputing parties gave me the opportunity to help people negotiate a settlement without having a war. It was more personally satisfying to me to help two people in a dispute talk it out and come up with a solution that both parties could live with.
Since 1995, I have obtained extensive training in mediation and have built a large mediation practice. I have conducted thousands of hours of mediations, which resulted in satisfying outcomes for the parties.
Taking what I have learned in mediating hundreds of emotionally charged divorces, I expanded my mediation services into areas where the emotions surrounding the dispute can be just as high and just as much an impediment to settlement—that is, disputes involving businesses, estates (such inheritance disputes), workplace issues (such as allegations of wrongful discharge) and organizations (such as infighting leading to dysfunction). I have also built a "collaborative law" practice, which is still further alternative way of helping individuals going through a divorce, business or other dispute.
When people in a legal dispute come to our firm, we offer them a menu of legal services from which to choose. We help clients select the approach that they will most benefit from-whether that is litigation, mediation or collaborative law. I am proud to be a part of a law firm that provides clients with these choices.
- BV® Distinguished™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Selected repeatedly for inclusion in national publication Best Lawyers in America (including in 21st edition in 2014 and as the only lawyer in Western New York to receive such honor in “Mediation” in that edition;
- Selected repeatedly by peers for inclusion in Buffalo Business First 's “Top Lawyers in Western New York” (now called “Legal Elite of WNY”) (2008-2013)
- Selected in 2015 as an Upstate New York Superlawyer
- Selected in 2013 and repeatedly in prior years as an Upstate New York Superlawyer
- Achieved “Advanced Practitioner” member credential in Association for Conflict Resolution;
- Adjunct Professor at SUNY at Buffalo Law School —each semester teach basic and advanced mediation and mediation lawyer advocacy courses and Director of Mediation Clinic;
- Selected to be on Federal, State and Community mediation panels in Western New York;
- Best Lawyers' 2016 Mediation "Lawyer of the Year" for Buffalo
- Have served as mediation skills trainer for NYS Judicial Institute, Bar Association of Erie County, Catholic Charities, Center for Resolution and Justice, Cornell School for Labor and Industrial Relations, and a certain labor union;
- Chair of Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Bar Association of Erie County 2011-2013
- Member, New York State Council on Divorce Mediation
- Erie County Bar, Volunteer Arbitrator, Attorney Fee Dispute Panel (1997-present)
- Volunteer attorney for indigent litigants, Volunteer Lawyer's Project (1989-present)