Michaels & Smolak
Mike Bersani joined the personal injury firm of Michaels & Smolak in 1995, coming from the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, where he had clerked for 2 years after graduating Magna Cum Laude (top 5% of his class) from Syracuse University College of Law in 1993. He was a law review editor at the College of Law, and was inducted, for his outstanding legal scholarship, into the Order of the Coif and the Justinian Society, and was honored with the "Scribe Award" for outstanding legal writing.
Mike was recently named “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of personal injury for the Syracuse Metropolitan area by the publication Best Lawyers in America. For a lawyer, being listed in Best Lawyers is something like getting a 10 in America's Got Talent. Those who determine who gets listed in Best Lawyers are judges and fellow lawyers who have seen the lawyer at work, watched him in court, or have reviewed his work. Only a few lawyers in each geographical area are elected to this prestigious attorney listing. But Mike’s recognition went even further than a mere “listing” in the publication: He was named “the Lawyer of the Year” in the field of personal injury litigation because other lawyers and judges gave him higher grades than any other personal injury lawyer in the Syracuse Metropolitan area.
Mike has the highest ranking ("AV") in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell directory. This "AV" rating means that judges and other lawyers have rated him, compared to other lawyers, "very high to preeminent in legal ability, expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence."
Mike has consistently been selected as Super lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine since the honor was first established. The title Super Lawyer is given only to those attorneys who are considered to be among the top 5% of all lawyers in the State of New York.
Mike is also listed in The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, which includes only those select lawyers who have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field.
Mike is also a member of the elite personal injury Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum. The Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Less than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
Mike also serves as a Board Director of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers (a group of New York State trial lawyers and judges working to protect, preserve and enhance the civil justice system).Mike is a highly respected legal writer and lecturer among personal injury lawyers in New York State. Every year he travels all across New York State to lecture to his fellow lawyers on aspects of personal injury law and how to successfully bring such claims against governmental entities including New York State and its counties, cities, towns and school districts. His annual "Update on Municipal Liability Law" is delivered across New York State under the auspices of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Mike is also a widely published author on personal injury law. He has published numerous articles in the New York State Bar Association Journal, the New York State Trial Lawyers "Bill of Particulars", and the Syracuse Law Review, to name a few. He is the Author of the chapter on Municipal Liability in the New York Bar Association Personal Injury Treatise (The Plaintiffs Personal Injury Action in New York State) which is a premier treatise providing guidance to personal injury lawyers across New York State). He has also recently written and published a book, "Understanding Your New York Personal Injury Claim", to guide New York personal injury claimants through the claims process. (The book can be ordered free by clicking the link).
Before becoming a lawyer, Mike lived in Spain and France for 7 years, where he mastered both the Spanish and French languages, received a Master's degree in Spanish from Middlebury College in Vermont, and spent several years teaching and translating English, Spanish and French. He also speaks basic Italian. He has many Spanish speaking personal injury clients.
Mike Bersani is also a community activist. He has served for more than two decades on the board of directors of the Worker Justice Center of New York (formerly the Farm Workers' Legal Services of New York), which provides free legal service to underserved agricultural workers. He has served as the chair of the Geneva Human Rights Commission, chair of the board of directors of the Auburn YMCA, chair of the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, New York and presently serves on the board of the Geneva NY YMCA. He volunteered for many years for the Boys & Girls Club by taking the Club members for weekly swims at the YMCA in Geneva. He often provides free legal services to Spanish-speaking migrant farm workers who could otherwise not afford legal representation.
Because of his commitment to helping others less fortunate than him, Mike Bersani was named 2009 Citizen of Year by Geneva, New York Chamber of Commerce.
Mike has five grown children. He lives with his wife, Alejandra Molina, in Geneva, New York. He enjoys bicycling, running, skiing, reading and especially traveling. Mike is also a personal injury and professional malpractice "blogger".