Merlino & Gonzalez July 2017

JULY 2017




16 Years Is Just the Start HERE TO STAY

I think what separates Merlino & Gonzalez from other law firms is that we seek to establish a continuing relationship with our clients. If you go to the average attorney, once they resolve your issue and you pay the bill, your interaction is over. They’ve done their job, and the case is closed. That might suit some firms just fine, but our perspective is different. For us, one-and-done service takes a back seat to developing meaningful bonds over many years. I like to think of our work as being legal guides for our clients whenever they need it. The best part of my job is being able to help people. The work I do here is never adversarial. Instead, I help people deal with issues to give them peace of mind. Whether you’re buying your first house or getting ready to set up an estate for future generations, I’m here. I think our goal of building long-term relationships with our clients comes naturally because we serve the people of our community. Ever since my great-grandfather arrived in Staten Island, my family has made this place our home. I grew up with a small-business mentality — my dad owns an insurance agency, and many of my relatives are entrepreneurs — and I always knew I would work at a small firm. Even though we are here in Staten Island, our connection to our clients doesn’t end if they move to another borough or even to New Jersey. We go with them wherever life takes them. The nature of the relationships we build means it’s hard not to take our work home with us. There are nights when I’ll wake up at 1 a.m. thinking about a client. They’re putting their trust in me, and I cannot help but care. When I do get away from my work, I’m always happy to spend time with my beautiful wife, Nicole, and our five wonderful children.

There’s a lot of running from event to event trying to keep up with them — from track and baseball to cheerleading and flag football. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the one gunning for a track scholarship. I also have a passion for gardening. I recently planted 100 begonias in my perennial garden. Leading a busy work and family life can get hectic, and my time in the soil is, to borrow a phrase from

“Seinfeld,” where I get my “serenity now.” I get the same feeling from some of my nerdier passions, “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones.” In April, I attended the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando with my family, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I won’t soon forget. It’s hard to believe our firm is 16 years old now, because the time has passed so quickly. Ken and I are still young guys (at least I like to think so), and we hope to be an integral part of our clients’ lives for decades to come. We’re here to stay and grow alongside our clients and their families.



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