Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC has played a prominent role in providing expert and diverse legal services to Syracuse and the wider community for more than 120 years.
Headquartered in downtown Syracuse, the practice was first established in 1896 by David F. Costello, a distinguished attorney and community leader. Costello was soon joined by other eminent attorneys who comprised the original group of partners: J. Henry Walters, Charles E. Cooney, Sr., and Oliver D. Burden. By 1918, George R. Fearon became a partner succeeding J. Henry Walters, and the firm assumed its present name.
The firm boasts a legacy of distinguished and active involvement in civic and community affairs by its members. Oliver D. Burden became U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York while J. Henry Walters became a New York State assemblyman and senator. Mr. Walters was also instrumental in creating legislation to fund the opening of the State University of New York College of Forestry and Environmental Science in Syracuse, and he served on its board of directors. He eventually left the firm to serve as chief counsel to the RKO Theater Group in New York City. Charles Cooney, Sr., was an incorporator of Crouse Irving Hospital in Syracuse, and for many years, he was president of the E.W. Edwards & Sons chain of department stores. George Fearon also served a term in the New York State Assembly and was elected to the State Senate in 1920, serving for 16 years, including a tenure as majority leader. Mr. Fearon later became president of the Onondaga County Bar Association, which honored him as its Distinguished Lawyer of the Year in 1970. Continuing the great tradition of Senator Fearon, Vincent A. O’Neil, who practiced with the firm for over 50 years, was named Onondaga County’s Distinguished Lawyer of the Year in 1998.
Costello, Cooney & Fearon continues its legacy of impeccable law practice and civic leadership with its current attorneys, all of whom hold distinguished credentials and are active in their communities.
While steeped in tradition, the firm succeeds by practicing law in a progressive and creative manner. Able to handle virtually any legal matter, the firm’s attorneys deal in major practice areas that include litigation, labor and employment, healthcare, municipal, business/corporate, environmental, estate planning, banking/commercial and real estate. Its diversified clientele includes major corporations, a host of small businesses, insurance companies, banks and other financial institutions, municipalities and a variety of organizations in the healthcare field. Along with institutional clients, the firm handles all types of civil litigation as well as individuals seeking personalized, dependable legal services.
While the firm’s founders practiced at the turn of the 20th century in an era of limited governmental regulation and oversight, the firm’s current attorneys practice in a complex and highly regulated marketplace. The firm’s members have answered the challenges of the 21st century by leading seminars on a variety of legal issues and by entering the arena and engaging in some of the day’s most complicated legal issues.
By broadening its practice areas to meet client needs, Costello, Cooney & Fearon has realized a high rate of growth in recent years, with the firm having more attorneys now than at any other time in its history. In 1999, the firm opened a second office in Albany, enabling it to provide efficient service to clients across upstate New York.
The firm operates under a philosophy of efficiency, cost consciousness and personalized client service. Its current attorneys, along with a staff of paralegals and administrative personnel, effectively serve the firm’s broad spectrum of clients. The moderate size of the firm allows its members to have daily contact with each other and to work closely together. The firm also embraces modern management techniques which encourage all the lawyers to contribute to the operation of the firm, take part in business decisions and gain experience in diversified areas.
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