2021 Honored Guests

Howard Fensterman Headshot.jpg
Elena Karabatos Headshot.jpg
Steve Schlissel Headshot.jpg

Howard Fensterman

Honoree

Elena Karabatos

Honoree

Stephen W. Schlissel

Lifetime Achievement

Award Recipient

Barbara Gervase Headshot.jpg
Martha  Haesloop Headshot.jpg

Barbara Gervase

Gassman Award Recipient

Martha Haesloop

Gassman Award Recipient

Please see below for Honoree bios.

Howard Fensterman Headshot.jpg

Howard Fensterman
Honoree

An experienced and accomplished litigator, as well as a successful businessman, Howard Fensterman is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP. Mr. Fensterman has overseen and guided every aspect of the firm's expansion since its inception with 13 attorneys in 2000. The firm currently includes over 110 attorneys and 225 employees overall in five offices throughout New York state. His vision turned Abrams Fensterman into one of the largest full-service law firms on Long Island and the largest in Brooklyn.

Mr. Fensterman was appointed by Governor Paterson to serve on the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council in 2008 until his term ended in 2014. He formerly served on the Public Health and Planning Council's Establishment and Project Review Committee. He was also a Chairman of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency from 2004 until 2009. Mr. Fensterman is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America - Long Island Chapter.

Since 2019, Mr. Fensterman has been named to City & State Magazine's Long Island Power 100 List, recognizing the 100 most powerful people on Long Island. Mr. Fensterman and his son Jordan were honored in 2016 with the Dor L' Dor - Generation to Generation Award from the Chabad of Port Washington. In 2016, Mr. Fensterman was also recognized by Schneps Media as a King of Long Island. Long Island Business News honored Mr. Fensterman in 2014 at their Leadership in Law Awards ceremony, which recognized those that demonstrate a standard of leadership in the legal profession and the community that has a positive impact on Long Island.

Mr. Fensterman received his J.D. from Georgetown Law Center. He is admitted to practice in the states of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

Elena Karabatos Headshot.jpg

Elena Karabatos
Honoree

Elena Karabatos, Esq. is a partner in the matrimonial practice of Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos, PLLC. Ms. Karabatos is a Past President of the Nassau County Bar Association (NCBA). She is a Past President of the New York Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She is a Fellow of the American College of Family Trial Attorneys. She serves as a member of the Attorney for the Children Advisory Committee for the Tenth Judicial District and she is a member of the Matrimonial Practice Advisory and Rules Committee for the New York State Office of Court Administration. Elena is also a member of the ADR Advisory Committee for the Office of Court Administration as well as a member of the New York State CLE Board. She served as Chair of the Matrimonial Law Committee of the NCBA (2009-2011). She is the co-author of the second edition of Separation Agreements and Marital Contacts (Michie 1997). Ms. Karabatos was a member of the Nassau County Bar Association Delegation for the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates (2009-2012) and she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Family Law section of the New York State Bar Association. In addition, she is certified in advanced mediation by the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution and by the New York City Bar Association in mediating custody and visitation matters. Ms. Karabatos taught a course on negotiation at Hofstra Law School for over fifteen years. For many years, she served as the course chairperson for the continuing legal education program on Matrimonial Litigation and Equitable Distribution at Fordham University School of Law, where she lectured on various topics such as negotiating separation agreements and litigating matrimonial trials.

Elena is regularly selected for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America" and "New York Super Lawyers" in the area of Family Law. In 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 she was also listed as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the New York Metro Super Lawyers. She has been recognized by "Ten Leaders" in the field of Matrimonial and Divorce Law, Long Island, and she has also been recognized in the "Who's Who in Women in Professional Services" for the Long Island Business News. In 2017, she was voted as one of Long Island's Ten Top Legal Eagles by Pulse Magazine. Elena was also named one of Long Island's Power Women in Business by Long Island Press. Ms. Karabatos received her B.A. from Tufts University and her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

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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.

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Barbara Gervase
Gassman Award Recipient

Barbara has been in the private practice of law since 1985. She is currently the principal attorney at Barbara Gervase, P.C. Barbara has devoted her practice to the areas of matrimonial, family, mediation and real estate law. Barbara is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, Matrimonial, Real Estate, Family Law and Procedure and Adoption Committees. She is currently the chairperson of the Adoption Law Committee and is a past chair of the Women in the Law Committee. She also serves on the Fee Dispute Panel. A long time member of the WE CARE Advisory Board of Directors, Barbara has proudly co-chaired the Dressed to a Tea Committee for over 12 years. Barbara is passionate about raising funds for those less fortunate; a trait she inherited from her mother who taught her from a very early age the importance of giving back to the community. A proud of member of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association (NCWBA) , Barbara presided as president for the 2010 - 2011 term. She also served on the Board of Directors of the NCWBA for several years, and co-chaired the Women’s Bar Golf Committee for seven years where she helped raise funds for the Nassau County Women’s Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the NCWBA. Barbara also served as the past president for two terms of the Long Island Chapter of the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women.

Barbara graduated from Southwestern University School of Law and Central Connecticut State University.
She is married to Jack Bills, and enjoys spending time with her family, summer days on the their boat and time with friends.

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Martha Haesloop
Gassman Award Recipient

Martha V. Haesloop, Esq. has been a Principal Law Secretary/Principal Court Attorney for Judges in the Nassau County Supreme Court Matrimonial Center, Nassau County and Queens County Supreme Court, County Court of Nassau County, and the Nassau County Family Court for over 34 years. Martha began her career as an Assistant District Attorney of Nassau County and was also in private practice. She is a former member for the Nassau County Board of Directors, former Chair and Vice Chair of the Women in the Law Committee, member of the Matrimonial Law Committee, and the Family Law and Procedure Committee.

Martha is a long time member of the WE CARE Board of Directors. She has been a Cho-Chair and member of the Dressed to a Tea Committee and fund raising event for 15 years. This event features court personnel and members of the Bar Association as models in a themed fashion show and clothing drive. This much loved and successful event has raised much needed funds for WE CARE charities including Momma's House, Bethany House, Farm Workers of Eastern Long Island, Prom Boutique, and many more. Martha is also a long time member of the WE CARE Golf Outing Committee, and the Children's Festival, Scholarship, and Grant committees.

Currently a member of the Nassau County Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York Nominations Committee, Martha is a Past President of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association, and a past Co-Chair and member of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association Golf Outing Committee. Over the years, Martha has been previously involved in the Irish Americans in Government, Nassau County Courthouse Kiwanis, and the Catholic Daughters. 

A graduate of St. John's University School of Law with a JD Degree, Martha is admitted to practice in New York State, the U.S. District Courts, Southern and Eastern Districts, and the United States Supreme Court. 

Martha wishes to express her gratitude to the dedicated members of the WE CARE Board/Committees, the Staff of the Bar Association, and members of the Bar Association who have provided her with the assistance and opportunities over the years. Special thanks to her friends and family, especially, her daughter Kate, and her son Robert, for their love, understanding, and support./Principal Court Attorney for Judges in the Nassau County Supreme Court Matrimonial Center, Nassau County and Queens County Supreme Court, County Court of Nassau County, and the Nassau County Family Court for over 34 years. Martha began her career as an Assistant District Attorney of Nassau County and was also in private practice. She is a former member for the Nassau County Board of Directors, former Chair and Vice Chair of the Women in the Law Committee, member of the Matrimonial Law Committee, and the Family Law and Procedure Committee.