Long Island nglccNY membership is growing. Prior to the pandemic, more and more individuals and business owners attended the Chamber’s special M3’s in the area to build connections and bolster economic opportunities.
One of those businesses is Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP, a multi-practice law firm located in Nassau County, with additional offices in Manhattan and New Jersey. The firm has been in operation for 51 years.
nglccNY Media & Communications Chair Cindi Creager spoke with the firm’s managing partner Joseph Milizio to learn more about the business and its involvement with nglccNY. Read the Q & A below:
Cindi: Tell me about your firm.
Joseph: We are a full-service firm with a number of different departments. Our major area involves estate and trust work. That includes estate and trust planning, administration, and litigation.
We also have a commercial litigation and employment practice, which includes employment discrimination. We have a transactional business area, which I lead, and that includes business representation from startups through exit planning. We have a real estate area, both commercial and residential. We have a marital and family law area. We have a personal injury area.
Of course, we have a robust LGBTQ representation practice, which I also lead. We provide members of the community with various legal services, from matrimonial & family law to employment discrimination matters to estate planning documents like wills, powers of attorney, and health care proxies.
We’ve also recently launched a surrogacy, adoption, and assisted reproduction practice.
Cindi: Why do you think it's so important that nglccNY has a presence on Long Island?
Joseph: As we all know, Long Island is a suburb of New York City and New York City has a vibrant membership and participation in the Chamber. It's a little bit more difficult for Long Islanders to make it to meetings in Manhattan on a frequent basis. There is a large LGBTQ community involved in business in one aspect or another on Long Island. It gives people on the Island the ability to act as a group and work with each other and network without having to go into Manhattan for all meetings.
Cindi: How has this engagement been going, both pre-COVID when you could meet in person, and now?
Joseph: It was going very well when we were having in-person meetings. People had a significant interest in participating and joining. We had a lot of people that were willing to volunteer, and that sort of fell by the wayside since COVID. We certainly anticipate that we will get back to that as soon as we possibly can. For now, we are working to stay involved virtually.
Cindi: Your firm has a very vibrant LGBTQ representation group. Tell me more about that.
Joseph: About 20 years ago my partners and I said, ‘there is no law firm on Long Island working with the LGBT community. We need representation for estate planning, litigation, business operations, real estate and employment discrimination, and most importantly, family law, including adoptions and agreements between partners,’ because it was pre-marriage equality.
Prior to that all these areas did not really serve the LGBTQ community and its needs. Now, not only are we doing the maximum that we can for the community, people also feel very comfortable knowing that we are an accepting firm. That's been a real accomplishment for me, to know that I started that. And that it's been a very vibrant part of our firm.
Cindi: It sounds very rewarding and it relates to my next question. When it comes to your work, what gets you up in the morning?
Joseph: Knowing that I'm going to have something to do throughout the day that is going to benefit a client in one way or another. I look forward to helping people and making their lives more positive every day. It gives me a very great sense of accomplishment to know that, as a firm, we act as a cohesive family and we respect each other as family members do. That's another reason why it's very good to get up in the morning and get to work.
Cindi: You're also very active in the community. You're on the HRC Board of Governors and you're obviously very involved with nglccNY. Why is it so important to you to be that involved in the community?
Joseph: When I first came out, there was a real dearth of people that I could communicate with on a professional basis. I really didn't know where to turn when I needed legal representation. It makes me feel very good knowing that I serve a particular purpose for the community and that they can feel comfortable and secure knowing that they can come to my firm.
Cindi: That's wonderful, Joseph. Is there anything else you'd like to share with me about your firm or your involvement in nglccNY?
Joseph: With respect to the Chamber, I would like to say that it gives all members and guests the opportunity to network with each other in a positive environment and to do good for the community. That's a very special thing.
Cindi: Thank you so much, Joseph.