Stephen W. Schlissel
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Steve Schlissel is an honors graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He was a founding member of Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos, PLLC. His areas of expertise include matrimonial and family law, and appellate work.
Steve has spent a considerable amount of time on projects the goal of which was to help others, both in the judicial system and in the community at large. In 1995, Steve was invited to join the We Care Advisory Board, and served numerous terms as Chair of Co-Chair of the Advisory Board. He founded, and for the first 15 years chaired or co-chaired, the annual We Care Golf and Tennis Classic (the "Classic"), which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Classic has raised over $4,000,000 net of Classic-related expenses in its first 24 years, all of which monies were used via grants for those most in need in Nassau County, as the Nassau County Bar Association ("NCBA") pays all of the administrative expenses for We Care.
In initiating the Classic, Steve reached out to lawyers and business people providing services to lawyers to create a broad effort at fundraising for the Classic. Many of those volunteers stayed involved throughout most of the 24 years of the Classic and some of the non-lawyers have become significant NCBA Partners.
Steve has been chosen to every edition of Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers and was a Diplomat of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, whose country-wide membership is limited to 100. In 2010, Steve was chosen as one of the top 100 Super Lawyers, out of 64,000 lawyers in the New York metropolitan area, and was the only attorney in the top 100 whose office was not located in Manhattan. He was also a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and a Master of the New York Family Law Inns of Court.
Steve was a co-founder of Parents Education and Custody Effectiveness (P.E.A.C.E.), one of the first education programs for divorcing and separating parents in New York dedicated to reducing the emotional impact of divorce on children. P.E.A.C.E. won two national awards. He was the first Chair of the initial group bringing together New York's then existing parent education programs to create standards and guidelines for such programs. He was also a co-founder of the Nassau County Interdisciplinary Forum, bringing together judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals working for children and families. Steve was the first male Co-Chair of the Nassau County Judicial Women in the Courts.
Steve taught as an adjunct professor for 57 semesters total of Hofstra, Brooklyn, and Touro Law Schools. He has lectured throughout the country and has authored the first edition and co-authored the second edition with his partners Elena Karabatos and Ron Poepplein, of a two-volume work on matrimonial law. He was also a lead attorney on his firms' success for establishment of new law in several significant cases, two of which were assuring the less monied spouse has sufficient counsel fee awards to "level the playing field".
Steve served as a member of the Grievance Committee for the 10th Judicial District for over seven years and also served on its Committee on Character and Fitness for that District. Steve was an original appointee for, and served 20 years on, the New York State Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Resolution Program. He also served on the Second Department's Judicial Hearing Officer Review Committee for Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Over the years Steve served on various NCBA committees, included the Judiciary, Ethics, Grievance, and Matrimonial Law Committees, and served three terms as an NCBA Director. He has helped raise monies for repair and improvements to "Domus", the home of the NCBA.
In 2013 Steve received the NCBA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medallion, which is awarded to one individual each year for service that has enhanced the reputation and dignity of the legal profession.
Steve's other charitable activities have included helping United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau County, assistance to the Safe Center (formerly the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence), and to the Nassau County Bar Association's Lawyer Assistance Program. Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos has also devoted, pro bono, many hours of legal work for those who could not afford legal representation, and the firm has continuously contributed to the success of We Care and the Classic.
Steve has been married to his wife and best friend Joan since he started his second year of law school. He knows he could not have accomplished anything without her strength and support, love, and dedication. Joan and Steve have three amazing daughters, each of whom is married to an amazing son-in-law. Debby is married to Larry, Marni is married to David, and Amy is married to Howard. They are the proud grandparents of, in age order: Sarah Vieux, Zoe, Scott, Ethan, Harrison, Maddie, and Jackson.