John: Once again I am here with Model Citizen, Judge, and Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, Alan Schwartz. How are you, Alan?
Alan: Great, thank you John, and you?
John: I am doing well thank you. It has been a beautiful holiday season despite Covid. You and I took some terrific fashion shots this month for the January fashion issue. I dragged you out of your office and into a custom clothier on the North Shore to work with a couple of experts who really know how to style men with the right clothing. What was it like for you to do a fashion shoot?
Alan: It was fabulous, and I had an absolute blast with you, and Rob Bartol and Mark Macaluso, the owners of B2Bespoke Custom Clothier up in Glen Head. And speaking of Harley Davidson enthusiasts, Mark is also one, and we are planning on riding together with our wives this spring, so that was really networking at its finest, not to mention that I now have a new custom clothier to work with.
John: I am here with Alan Schwartz who is a Model Citizen from the September issue and is now a contributing columnist for Model Citizen Magazine. How are you, my friend?
Alan: I’m good, how are you John?
John: I’m great, thank you. So today I’d like to ask you about Halloween. This year I think everybody knows that Halloween is going to be much different than ever before. I think also that there are some things that our readers and your fans should know about Halloween to do with some legalities. Would you share with our audience please what they should be doing or not doing?
Alan: As you are aware, I’m a long-time criminal defense attorney as well as a Village Judge and, as such, we spend a lot of time dealing with criminal offenses and quasi-criminal offenses. We are continuing to be concerned about the uptick of inappropriate behavior in the community. This could be partially fueled by the pandemic, and partially by the fact that people, in general, at this point, just seem to be very angry, whether it’s about the election results, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, or a variety of different things like the protests and so forth. What really concerns us is that people are getting even angrier when they can’t do the things they always look forward to doing. As an example, our domestic violence practice is going through the roof, because a lot of people seem to have discovered that, as much as they love their spouses and children, they can’t stand being locked up in the house with them for lengthy periods of time.
I think this is going to be a big issue come Halloween when the kids really can’t safely go trick-or-treating. It would be nice to think that may change since Halloween is still a few weeks away, but I don’t think so, certainly not to the point where it’s going to be safe to have children going door to door, touching things and not wearing appropriate masks, just decorative masks. We are particularly concerned about young people, not so much the small children, but the teenagers who, shall we say, like to be mischievous, to begin with, and get themselves into trouble. I think it is a good idea for us to go over some of the conduct that could put these kids in a situation where they would need a criminal defense attorney, such as myself. Perhaps by being educated, they will be smart, make good decisions, and not do some of the things that may get them into trouble with the law. As you know, our mantra is that we represent good kids, from good families, who do something stupid. Unfortunately, we expect to see a lot of this come Halloween this year
It would be my pleasure. All I ever wanted to do was have my own practice. This probably goes back to when I was two years old. We always had attorneys in the family, most of them work for big law. I knew I wanted to practice law, but that is not the kind of law I wanted to practice. I grew up on watching Perry Mason, so I knew I wanted to be a trial lawyer.
I was fortunate that I got my first choice of job with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in 1980. I got that job primarily because I wanted to develop my skills as a trial attorney. My game plan was to stay there for four or five years and then open my own practice. After four and a half, I went into practice with another friend who is also in the DA’s office. I did all the trial work and he did the paperwork and we successfully practiced together for seven to eight years at which point he decided that smaller was better and I thought bigger was better. We had started as two lawyers with no staff and grew to three or four lawyers with a support staff of five or six. In 1992, I took over the practice and continued to expand it and moved from Mineola to Garden City. Now I have practiced for forty years, thirty-five since I left the DA’s office. Two years ago I was selected to become a village judge in Center Island, where I have the privilege of overseeing the lifestyle of the rich and Famous, like Billy Joel and Sean Hannity. Just to summarize my forty years, I have had a unique opportunity to look at criminal matters from not one, or two, but three different perspectives. That of a prosecutor, that of a defense attorney and now that is a judge. However, when I left the DA’s office in 1985, it was apparent to me that if all we did was criminal work, I’d be out of business in a relatively short period of time because I prosecuted the criminals, I didn’t necessarily defend them. We ended up developing a reputation for representing good kids from good families who did something stupid. Now we include their parents as well, especially in the middle of a pandemic, the practice grew into a litigation practice. Even as far back as 1985, where I would go into court for anything, whether be a criminal matter, matrimonial or personal injury because my feeling was once you tried a felony cases In front of 14 person juries everything else is just a matter of money.
We got to the point where we were busy enough and could take on other lawyers who were comfortable handling cases in their areas. I was in criminal. So, now we have a total of twelve lawyers and each of them has a different area of concentration. So, the sweet spots of the practice still remain as criminal defense and range from traffic violations through homicide at the local, state, and federal level. I’ve taught for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy at St. John’s, as well as Hofstra University. I also judge national mock trial competitions with some regularity. All of which has led me to the conclusion that I may never retire because I enjoy what I do too much.