Practice Areas

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Litigation can be costly, time-consuming, and unpredictable. Depending on your circumstances, alternative dispute resolution may be an advisable alternative to litigation. Arbitration and mediation allow parties to keep costs at a minimum, and they often allow parties to have their disputes resolved more quickly than typical litigation.

Appeals and Motions

The Sugarman Law Firm’s litigation and transactional practices are supported by the Appeals and Motions Practice Group. The Appeals and Motions Practice Group focuses on appellate practice and complex motion practice, and its attorneys specialize in legal research, legal writing, and oral advocacy.

Architects, Engineers, and Surveyors

The Sugarman Law Firm has the industry-specific knowledge, experience, and expertise that design professionals can trust to handle all their legal needs. We understand the unique risks design professionals face, and we can help minimize and manage them.

Business Planning and Litigation

With a diversity of experience representing business clients within both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, our attorneys provide a full range of legal services for our clients’ corporate and business needs.

Criminal Defense

Sugarman Law Firm is well positioned to serve individuals facing violation, misdemeanor, or felony criminal charges. Our criminal law department is made up of former prosecutors who have a critical understanding of how the district attorney's office operates and how criminal cases are put together by the police and the prosecution.

Family Law and Divorce

Our attorneys handle separation, divorce, custody and support issues, adoption and related family law matters. We start by listening to be sure we fully understand your particular circumstances so that we can develop a plan of action that best fits your needs.

General and Auto Liability Defense

For more than a century, Sugarman Law Firm has represented literally thousands of insureds and remains one of the oldest and largest insurance defense practices in Central New York.

Insurance Coverage Disputes and Litigation

The attorneys at the Sugarman Law Firm have represented both insurers and insureds in insurance coverage disputes and litigation. We provide coverage opinion letters to insurers, and prosecute and defend declaratory judgment actions.

Labor and Employment Law

The attorneys in the Sugarman Law Firm’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group represent both small and large employers with a wide variety of employment related issues. We handle all types of employment litigation, as well as employment negotiations.

Medical Professional Liability Defense

At the Sugarman Law Firm, we value our relationships with the physicians, nurses, chiropractors, and hospital administrators in Central New York. Because we value those relationships, we do not sue any treatment provider for medical malpractice, and we focus exclusively on defending physicians, hospitals, medical groups, and nursing homes.

Municipal and Governmental Defense

Because of their years of experience, the attorneys at the Sugarman Law Firm are familiar with the particular legal principles and procedural rules that apply to municipal subdivisions and authorities.

Personal Injury Claims

When someone is harmed, injured, or killed through the negligence of another, the Sugarman Law Firm offers aggressive and personal representation, regardless of the size of the claim.

Products Liability Claims

Our attorneys have the experience necessary to handle the complex issues that arise when accidents involving claims of defective design or manufacture of a product are made. The Sugarman Law Firm is read to provide representation at all stages of the process including initial analysis and investigation, identification of experts, discovery, negotiation and, when necessary, trial.

Professional Liability Defense

We have extensive experience defending malpractice claims. Our attorneys have the specific knowledge and experience necessary to handle the issues professionals face. We understand your practice and can help you recognize and manage the risks it presents. We represent architects and engineers, physicians, nurses and hospitals, as well as attorneys, accountants, insurance professionals and real estate professionals.

Real Estate Transactions and Litigation

Whether you are buying your first home or developing a multi-million dollar real estate project, the Sugarman Law Firm’s attorneys cans provide the legal representation you need. We represent real estate developers, buyers and sellers of homes, landlords and tenants, and homeowner’s associations, condominiums, and co-ops in a variety of situations.

Toxic Tort Claims

The Sugarman Law Firm has successfully defended a wide array of toxic tort claims involving lead-based paint, asbestos products, mold, toxic spills and leakages, and industrial chemicals and solvents, including benzene.

Trusts, Estates, and Elder Law

A primary focus of the Sugarman Law Firm’s Trusts and Estates Practice Group is to help our clients achieve their estate planning goals and prepare the legal documents required to implement their objectives. We prepare wills, medical advance directives such as health care proxies and living wills, powers of attorney, shareholder agreements, prenuptial agreements, and both testamentary and living trusts.

Municipal and Governmental Defense


Municipal subdivisions and authorities on all levels face difficult legal issues in every service they provide to their communities.  Paul Mullin and Dan Cavarello regularly represent counties, towns, villages, and agencies facing a broad range of legal challenges.

Over the years, the Sugarman Law Firm has handled legal disputes in tax assessment cases, property and casualty losses, police and sheriff liability cases, and zoning litigation. We have also defended municipalities against employment discrimination and wage and hour claims. We regularly defend municipalities and school districts against negligence claims, including highway and road design defect claims, and negligent supervision claims.

Because of their years of experience, the attorneys at the Sugarman Law Firm are familiar with the particular legal principles and procedural rules that apply to municipal subdivisions and authorities.






Civil Rights Litigation

Claims asserting a federal constitutional right or state constitutional right require careful analysis by our attorneys. The actions of governmental entities often raise claims in the sphere of police and fire officials in protecting the public. We also see a rise of claims being asserted in response to municipal officials enforcing state and local laws. All these claims raise numerous issues and defenses that are often unique to each case, and call on solid municipal backgrounds. The firm has handled claims of excessive force, false arrests, improper denial of medical care, improper taking of property, and unequal enforcement of laws. The clients include elected officials, mayors, city and town counselors, town supervisors, town boards, civil servants at state and local levels, sheriff’s departments, town police officials, and zoning officers.

School Claims

The educational system continues to be an area of extensive legal scrutiny. The Sugarman Law Firm has advised school boards on the legal programs prior to litigation and after litigation has been commenced.

Unfortunately, schools face constant challenges to the services that they provide. The Sugarman Law Firm has handled claims arising from the time a child boards the school bus until long after the child returns home. The claims are often based upon issues of planning, supervision, instruction, or unfortunate circumstances which arise during the day causing injury. Often, the mere fact someone suffered an unfortunate injury does not mean the municipal school board is liable. Our work in this field includes an investigation as to how and why an accident occurs, and whether the school board and its officials are potentially liable. The defenses are numerous and experience in the field brings an ability for our firm to evaluate and defend school board, administration officials, and teachers.

The claims we handle range from accidents in the classroom, gym class or field trips. These claims often allege negligent supervision or improper practices. The firm has successfully defended defendant school officials across the state both at the trial level and appellate courts.

Zoning and Land Use

The municipal government in the State of New York play a significant role in the use of municipal property.  Often, decisions by a zoning officer of a town or city board impact upon municipal property owners.  The impacted party often raises claims of improper treatment, claiming of the taking of their property, or preventing the proper use of their property. Unfortunately, these matters often end up in court.  The firm has handled claims that municipal officials were impermissibly interpreting laws, enforcing laws unevenly, or simply did not apply the correct law.  These cases require an analysis of the particular facts of each matter. The experienced staff at the Sugarman Law Firm has handled matters in town courts, New York State Supreme Court, and federal courts dealing with land usage.  Often, these matters are brought about by what is called an “Article 78” proceeding seeking to compel a state official to act.  The firm has handled numerous cases in this matter with results that protect the rights of all municipal entities in this community.  The claims have included compelling an official to issue a building permit, to enforce a zoning or use regulation, and to address zoning board actions.  The matters often require a determination that officials did properly consider state and local laws.