SYRACUSE, NY – Stephen T. Helmer has been appointed the law firm’s managing partner and Anne B. Ruffer has been elected as a member of the firm’s executive committee. Helmer, in his eighth year on the firm executive committee, will serve as chair of the committee and succeeds Arthur W. Wentlandt, who served in this role since 2003. Wentlandt will continue to sit on the executive committee. Wentlandt’s tenure as chair of the executive committee was a period of growth for Mackenzie Hughes with the expansion of the firm’s labor law, immigration, securities, environmental and grant writing practices.
The past five years also included the addition of Mackenzie Hughes and Hartnett Investment Advisors LLC, a registered investment advisory firm, and the opening of an office in Florida. “Art has done a tremendous job expanding our firm and I plan to continue that legacy,” said Helmer. “We will continue to raise our profile in the Upstate region and to broaden our client base in Central New York. Our commitment to this community and its businesses, individuals, and institutions will also continue to grow.” Ruffer’s election to the executive committee is her first management position with the firm.
Ruffer will join David Garber, Al Popkess, Wentlandt and Helmer on the committee. “I’m honored that the partnership voted for me and I’m grateful for their confidence in me,” Ruffer said. “I’ll do the best I can to help expand the firm’s strengths, move forward with our initiatives, and meet the needs of the firm.
Helmer, who is also the chair of the litigation department, brings 26 years of business and litigation expertise to the firm. Helmer counsels various clients on education, general business, commercial and management issues, and he has tried and argued cases at every state and federal court level in New York State, including the Court of Appeals—New York’s highest court. Helmer’s litigation practice areas include commercial disputes, personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice and insurance coverage. Helmer graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from LeMoyne College and a juris doctor degree from Albany Law School of Union University.
Ruffer joined Mackenzie Hughes in 1987 and focuses her practice on estate and trust administration, estate litigation, estate planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare proxies, living wills), guardianships, elder law, and long-term care planning. She has also been recognized for her pro-bono work in the community by receiving the Onondaga County Bar Association’s Distinguished Pro Bono Award and the New York State Bar Association’s President’s Pro Bono Service Attorney Award. Ruffer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a juris doctor from Syracuse University College of Law.
Wentlandt is a trial lawyer who helps Mackenzie Hughes’ clients make better business decisions through his expertise in all aspects of personal injury and property damage litigation, including employment-related claims. He served as chair of Mackenzie Hughes’ executive committee from 2003 through 2007 and in the position of administrative partner from 2001 through 2003. Wentlandt holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and juris doctor from the Syracuse University College of Law.
The Mackenzie Hughes firm traces its roots back to 1884, and over the years, its client roster has read like a veritable “Who’s Who” of Central New York businesses, including the original New Process Gear, Smith Corona Typewriter and Standard Oil companies. Today, the firm’s client list includes successful local companies and municipalities including the City of Syracuse, M & T Bank, the Oneida Indian Nation/Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Key Bank, RBS Citizens Bank, Alliance Bank, Adirondack Bank, CENTRO, Pyramid Companies, O’Brien & Gere Engineers, C&S Engineers, Stearns & Wheler, Cazenovia College, Crouse Hospital, Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company, Tully Hill Rehabilitation, RobsonWoese, Empower Federal Credit Union, SeaComm Federal Credit Union,, Pinnacle Investments LLC, Unity Mutual Life Insurance, OP-TECH Environmental Services, Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District, the Village of Manlius, the Village of Cleveland and the Town of Van Buren.
One of the firm’s namesakes, William A. Mackenzie practiced law in Syracuse for 49 years. The other, Senator John H. Hughes, was a dominant figure in Central New York civic and political affairs. Eight of the firm’s lawyers have been elected or appointed to judgeships. As one of the state’s most respected and influential business law firms, Mackenzie Hughes’ reputation is based on its exceptional expertise in business and corporate law, including labor, finance, immigration, health care, real estate, land use, environmental and municipal services law. Its Internet address is www.mackenziehughes.com.