Growing up with an attorney as a father is only part of what prompted Anthony Forzano to become a lawyer himself. While he certainly saw his father, Michael, handle tough cases after establishing Forzano Law Firm in 1977, it was seeing how much he helped their Brooklyn and Staten Island community that really inspired Forzano to want to carry on his legacy.
“He was always in the community. He was a guy from Brooklyn who drove a cab, he sold insurance and then became a lawyer later in life. He said, ‘This is something I want to do.’ So many people would just come to him with questions, and he would just answer them all, he wouldn’t charge,” said Forzano. “Old ladies would come bring food and say, ‘Could you help me read this will for lasagna?’ Yes, he would do wills for lasagna.”
At first, his father, who passed away in 2018, took any kind of case he could, including a criminal trial early in his career.
“He had no experience whatsoever, but he won. He got the person acquitted of a crime he didn’t commit – a tough case,” said Forzano. “That’s what he instilled in me, that being a trial lawyer, no matter what area it’s in, is a high bar to have and the greatest accomplishment you can do in the profession. He embraced it.”
While his father handled different types of law, his dedication to helping the community is one reason Forzano expanded the practice and started solely specializing in personal injury law.
“It was about helping,” said Forzano. “Criminal law could be dicey. But in Personal Injury cases there’s nothing dicey about it, you’re helping people. You’re helping people who are hurt or are grieving. When you’re helping criminal clients they have a right to representation, they have a right to get help, but sometimes they committed a crime. Sometimes, they are wrong, but with personal injury cases, every person who comes in, you’re helping people who did nothing wrong.”
The firm helps victims of many types of accidents including auto, motorcycle and truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, and housing and construction injury claims, in addition to nursing home abuse cases. It’s all part of continuing that legacy, but also building it further.
“I decided to expand. When you are second generation you do one of two things, you either tank it and it crumbles, or you make it better and more successful. But you never stay the same,” said Forzano. “Even from an early point I looked at it and said, ‘I want to take this to the next level. I want to expand the number of clients, the types of cases and the impact of this firm in the courts.’”
But expanding the number of clients does not mean becoming a big corporation with impersonal treatment, said Forzano.
“One of the things I pride myself on is having the big firm results with the personal touch of a smaller firm,” said Forzano. “And it’s the truth. You hear about accidents that are so devastating and horrific with somebody losing a limb or dies, and liability is cut and dry. Well, any decent lawyer could win that case, right? The big firms, of course, they’re going to gobble that up. The truth is, on those types of cases there is nothing they do differently than any skilled trial attorney would.
But what about the guy who got hurt and his case might not be worth millions, but it’s worth maybe hundreds of thousands — or what about the case that’s not worth eight figures, that may be worth seven figures, six figures? They need help, too. They deserve someone who treats their case just like the massive case.”
Forzano said he created his “24-hour rule” to help his clients know that he’s there for them. He also has highly trained staff members who he considers an extension of himself.
“If you call me, there’s never a time when more than 24 hours will go by before I call you back. Unless I’m in trial, I’ll call you back,” said Forzano. “I expanded the staff. My father did it small with one or two support staff. I have seven. I’ve built on the staff but never lose the foundation and the family principle that we’re here for the person – for the client.”
To that end, when Forzano hired another attorney to the firm, he hired a friend he went to law school with.
“I wanted someone who had my mentality. Who valued not just winning but being personally vested and involved with the clients. It’s not like these other law firms where someone else signs the client up and they never talk to the lawyer until they go to court. You meet me or one of the other attorneys I have hired. When you want to talk to me, I get on the phone.” When you want to talk to a lawyer, you get a lawyer.
That accessibility is important when helping people who are often at their most vulnerable, including those who may be victims of nursing home abuse.
“The nursing home neglect cases I take very personally because 9 times out of 10, it’s not someone just slipping, caused by an accident with water. It’s because they were neglected. It’s because the administrators don’t hire enough people, they don’t set enough bars, they don’t vet properly or implement systems,” said Forzano. “I take that personally because what you’re doing is taking somebody in the most vulnerable part of their life, and you’re throwing them to the wolves without proper protection. Their goal is to protect, and they do the opposite, so I take those cases very personally and I’ve had great success with many of them.”
That success includes a recent case in which an elderly woman was turned down by six attorneys before finding Forzano. “I went to her house and I had a feeling about it. My father had been diagnosed with cancer, and her husband had the same cancer that he had. I did what you’re not supposed to do and made it an emotional fight but it was a hell of a case and, in the end, we took it to trial, won tremendously and that was the most satisfying case probably I’ve ever had.”
In another recent accident case, Forzano said he and his team were able to help the victim get a new start in life.
“A client came to him and fell in a subway platform. Suffered serious injury to his wrist, underwent 5 surgeries. As a result, he could never work as a Plumber again. The client battled depression and pain killer addiction due to the accident. I fought tooth and nail with MTA, battled them motion after motion, and eventually was able to procure him a significant settlement. The client moved out of state and opened a hardware store. He is clean, thriving and happier than he has been in a long time. Knowing that winning the case also changed his life for the better was extremely rewarding.”
Forzano said that the impact of his father’s work in the community is evident everywhere he goes and he’s grateful to carry on that legacy and make an impact, too.
“When he coached my baseball league, every year there was someone who eventually became a client. And every year there were people who were truly thankful. Now I hear, ‘My God, how your father helped me.’ He helped so many people and I see that every single year. There was never any time that it was more evident than when he passed away. The amount of people that came out of the woodwork, who would just call and say, ‘Your father was this to me, your father did that for me.’ The people did not just come to a wake or send flowers, people who haven’t seen him in 15 years were crying at my doorstep.”
And just like his dad, Forzano, himself the father of two, is in the community, even staying open during COVID-19 when other firms closed, taking precautions as needed, but actually visiting people in their homes when they were stuck inside.
“There are lots of good lawyers out there but no one’s going to work harder, no one’s going to care more,” said Forzano. “And I’m going to get the results you need.”
To learn more about Forzano Law Firm and how its experts can help you with your personal injury car accident or nursing home case visit forzanolawfirm.com or call 718-372-1397.