Honors and Awards

U.S. News Best Law Firms 2017

Michaels & Smolak has been bestowed with “first tier ranking” in U.S. News’ “Best Lawyers in America” listing for personal injury litigation in the Syracuse, New York metropolitan area. Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review (they ask other lawyers and judges about us). Other lawyers are asked this question, “If you could not handle a case yourself, to whom would you refer it?” Lawyers are asked to give nominees 5-1 numerical grades – 5 for a lawyer the voter would certainly refer a case to, 4 for a lawyer the voter would probably refer a case to, etc. Those with only the very highest “grades” make it to the list of “Best Lawyers in America”. Michaels & Smolak is one of only a handful of personal injury law firms in Central New York who made the “first tier” ranking.

Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rated
Michaels & Smolak has the highest ranking, “AV Preeminent”, in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell directory. This rating has two components. The first letter, “A”, attests to the level of excellence of the lawyer. The law firm or lawyer can be rated “A” (highest level of excellence), “B” (excellent), or “C” (above-average). The “A” means that judges and other lawyers have rated the lawyer, compared to other lawyers, “at the highest level of professional excellence.” The second component, the “V”, confirms that the lawyer meets general ethical standards, which is the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell rating for ethics.
Super Lawyers
All Michaels & Smolak members have consistently been selected as “Super lawyers” by Super Lawyers Magazine in the personal injury or medical malpractice field since the honor was first established. The title “Super Lawyer” is given only to those attorneys who are considered to be among the top 5% of all lawyers in the State of New York.
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
All members of the firm are members of the elite personal injury “Million Dollar Advocates Forum”. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4,000 members throughout the country. Less than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
The Best Lawyers in America
All four Michaels & Smolak lawyers are listed in Best Trial Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession. Best Lawyers compiles lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current edition of The Best Lawyers in America is based on more than two million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.
Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak has been honored for more than a decade in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Only the most distinguished law firms appear in the Bar Register – those that have achieved the top “AV” rating from the prestigious Martindale Hubbell peer review publication. An AV rating signifies a very high to preeminent level of legal ability and very high ethical standards. Only 5% of law U.S. law firms are included in the Register.
Client Reviews
★★★★★
He is one of the top lawyers in central New York & has the accolades to show for this, but in my book he's the top lawyer in the country. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Bersani & to have had him on my team! Matthew
★★★★★
I admire the amount of background work he did which was instrumental in getting me a very good settlement. Also, having never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit, Michael was very patient explaining the legal issues. You're in good hands with Michael Bersani and the firm of Michaels & Smolak. Richard
★★★★★
Dave took over my wrongful death case after it was badly messed up by another lawyer. He was dogged in his pursuit of all the information needed to make a solid case, and he succeeded in bringing it to a very satisfactory settlement. He was honest and straightforward, kind and compassionate through meetings, depositions, court appearances. I highly recommend him. Christine
★★★★★
Dave has handled our legal matters for over 20 years. Always there when we needed him. We were so happy with his professionalism and results that we referred him to several friends. If we ever need this type of service again, Dave will be the first and only call we make. Jackie