Hello there blog readers! This is Dave Kalabanka, Mike Bersani’s partner. I’ve hijacked his blog for today to interview him about an important award he just got: Mike has been selected as the “Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” for the Syracuse metropolitan area. A publication called “Best Lawyers in America” bestows this honor on the lawyer with the highest overall positive peer-feedback (judges and other lawyers rate him higher than any other lawyer) for a specific practice area and geographic region. Yes, Mike was the highest ranking attorney in the field of representing injured folks in personal injury litigation for the entire Syracuse Metropolitan area. Given this tremendous honor, I decided to take some time from Mike’s busy schedule to interview him about it:
DAVE: Mike, first, congratulations! That’s quite an honor, and well deserved. Did you know this was coming?
MIKE: Thanks Dave, and no, it caught me by surprise. There are many outstanding personal injury lawyers in the Syracuse area, including right here at Michaels & Smolak. I had no idea I would be selected.
DAVE: The award is based on “peer review”, meaning other lawyers and judges rated you higher than another other lawyer in your field for the Syracuse area. Any idea who these “fans” are who praised you so highly?
MIKE: Honestly, I have no clue, except they have to be lawyers and judges who know my work. That would mean defense attorneys who have gone up against me, and judges who have seen me in action.
DAVE: Well, I’ve seen your work, too. And it’s outstanding. Especially your legal writing – your briefs, your motions, your legal analysis. As you know, we consider you the “brains” of the office.
MIKE: Dave, as you know, we work as a team here. I may be better at certain things, but each one of us has something special they contribute to our team effort. For example, you are the office “strategizer” and deep thinker, Lee has the most experience, and Jan is extremely dynamic in the courtroom.
DAVE: Mike, this is not your first “best of the year” type award. I remember about a decade ago in Geneva where you live the Geneva Chamber of Commerce named you “Citizen of the Year”. That was for the outstanding volunteer work you do for immigrants and for children at the Boys & Girls Club there.
MIKE: Right. Helping immigrants is “right up my alley” because I married a Guatemalan and speak fluent Spanish. And helping under-privileged kids just seems natural – I have five children of my own. All “privileged” of course. Just seems natural to want to help kids who aren’t.
DAVE: So, which honor means more to you? “Lawyer of the Year” or “Citizen of the Year”?
MIKE: Citizen of the year, hands down. But honestly the awards themselves mean nothing. I have never sought them out. It’s the “doing” that counts: Doing your best at whatever you do, and doing some good for others when you can. Don’t get me wrong: It’s great when people notice. But even if they don’t, who cares? The simple, quiet internal rewards from doing your best are – well – the best!
DAVE: Well, congratulations again Mike. It’s a privilege to be your partner and friend.
MIKE: You too Dave. We’ve had many good years together with our team. Looking forward to many more.
Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.