Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner at Genser, Dubow, Genser & Cona, said the firm is set apart by its holistic approach to law.
“I think it’s being flexible. It’s being able to figure out the person as soon as you sit down, knowing who you’re talking to and what they need,” Wiener, 40, of Smithtown, said. “People feel comfortable here and they are taken care of.”
Cona Elder Law, based in Melville, is a full service law firm that concentrates on elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation and disability planning. It also represents health care facilities.
But, in addition to representing clients, Cona Elder Law also works to educate people across Long Island, Wiener said. The firm’s typical seminars include “Ask the Elder Law Attorney,” through which Cona Elder Law members visit assisted living facilities to set up mini appointments with family members who have questions. Cona Elder Law also has a “Savvy Senior” seminar series, through which they discuss the interrelation between real estate, estate planning and asset protection.
“I love educating people,” Wiener said. “I love making sure that the community knows the rules and what’s right and what’s wrong, regarding asset protection and estate planning, and that they’re not being taken advantage of.”
Cona Elder Law is also active in the local community through its own charitable organization. The signature program under that charitable organization is Senior Dreams Come True.
The idea behind the program, which is in its fifth year, is to grant wishes for low-income seniors who need basic, everyday items they couldn’t otherwise afford. This year’s senior was Denise Marino, a 74-year-old Shirley resident for whom Cona Elder Law granted two wishes, an over $1,800 payment to fix her car, and a new pair of dentures.
The firm was founded in 1968 by David Genser, who specialized in personal injury. He partnered with Howard Debow in 1985 to form a general litigation practice. The additions of Jack Genser and Jennifer Cona came around 1993. It was Cona who brought elder law and estate planning to the firm, Wiener said.
The firm continued to grow and, four years ago, moved to its current location at 225 Broadhollow Road. The 13,000-square-foot suite holds Cona Elder Law’s 40 employees, said Wiener, who joined the firm 15 years ago.
She added that it was “really amazing” to watch the firm grown from when it was “just a handful of people” to what it is today.
Wiener manages the government benefits department while concentrating her practice in the areas of Medicaid eligibility planning, asset protection planning, disability matters, guardianships, estate planning and Veteran benefits.
She said that, on top of knowing the rules and laws, she tries to set herself apart from other elder law and estate-planning attorneys by really listening to and nurturing her clients.
“I think it takes patience and understanding to work with people who are really in crisis,” she said. “There’s a balance, and you want to make sure that they feel comfortable while making sure you’re able to” get the specifics of each case across.