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Stephen T. Helmer

Stephen T. Helmer

Stephen T. Helmer joined Mackenzie Hughes in 1982 and has been a partner since 1989. Stephen was the Chair of the Firm’s Executive Committee for twelve years, and was the Chair of the Litigation Department for twenty-five years. Stephen has extensive trial experience in State and Federal Courts. Stephen has litigated and argued appeals at every level, including in New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Stephen also counsels various clients on education, general business, commercial and management issues. Stephen’s practice concentrates in civil litigation including commercial disputes, personal injury defense, product liability, medical malpractice, and insurance coverage.

In more than two hundred and fifty instances, Stephen has been employed by members of the Bar as an arbitrator or as a mediator to resolve complex and difficult matters through alternative dispute resolution.  Widely regarded as one of the most respected and versatile arbitrators and mediators in New York State, Stephen’s ADR matters have included commercial disputes, Civil Rights violations, personal injury, wrongful death, shareholder disputes, estate and trust litigation, medical malpractice, insurance coverage, products liability, property damage, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, and boundary and real estate disputes.

Stephen graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Moyne College in 1979 and he received his Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School of Union University in 1982. While a student, Stephen was a member of Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit College Honor Society) and Pi Gamma Mu (Social Sciences Honor Society.) Stephen was admitted to the New York State Courts and U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York in 1983. In 1996, Stephen was admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and in 2003 he was admitted to the United States Supreme Court.

Stephen is a member of the Onondaga County, New York State, and American Bar Associations. Stephen is a member of the prestigious International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute. Stephen has been listed in “Best Lawyers in America” for Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury, Insurance Law and Product Liability Litigation for the past 15 years. Stephen was named Best Lawyers 2016 Product Liability Litigation – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” for Syracuse. Since 2007 Stephen has been listed as one of the 94 Best Lawyers in Central New York and one of the New York Area’s Best Lawyers. Stephen has also been listed as one of New York’s “Super Lawyers” for many years, and has been named one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Upstate New York.

In 2010, Stephen was appointed by New York State Bar Association President Stephen Younger to his Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession.

Stephen is a Trustee of the Immaculate Conception Church. Stephen’s past and present board memberships include the Le Moyne College Board of Trustees, the Le Moyne College Board of Regents, the Le Moyne College Board of Governors, the Town of Manlius Republican Party Committee, the YMCA of Greater Syracuse, Eastern Branch, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Center State CEO, the Rosewood Nursing Home, the Fayetteville-Manlius Little League, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District Facilities Committee, the Fayetteville-Manlius Community Sports Facility Association, the Immaculate Conception Facilities Expansion Committee and Parish Council, and he is the President of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame. Stephen is counsel for the Immaculate Conception Church and School in Fayetteville, New York.

Stephen is a member of the Le Moyne College Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements in NCAA Division II baseball. During his four years on the varsity team, he was named to several state and regional all-star teams and twice played in the College World Series.

Stephen is often called on by the New York State Bar Association and professional groups to lecture on such topics as “Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Cases”, “Expert Witnesses”, “Direct and Cross Examination”, “Municipal Liability”, “Trial Practice”, “Update on the Law”, and “Summations.” He authored the “New York Supplement” to Basic Civil Litigation by Herbert Feuerhake and served on the Editorial Advisory Board of New York Motor Vehicle Accidents by Gary B. Pillersdorf, John F. Scarzafave and J. Michael Hayes.

During six of Stephen’s years with Mackenzie Hughes, he was an instructor at University College of Syracuse University, where he taught Civil Practice to paralegal students.

Stephen surgically donated bone marrow through The American Red Cross to a family member with Leukemia. In 2005, Stephen and his wife Susan received Catholic Charities President’s Medallion for charitable work in the Central New York community. Stephen and his family participated in the annual Fresh Air Fund program by providing in-home summer vacations for inner-city youths. Stephen also enjoys coaching and supporting various youth sports programs such as baseball, basketball, soccer, women’s lacrosse and Pop Warner football. Stephen is also an avid reader of political biographies and historical works, as well as a sports and movie trivia fan.

Practice Areas

Professional and Community Activities

Current:

  • New York Bar Association
  • Onondaga County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Trustee of Immaculate Conception Church
  • Immaculate Conception Facilities Expansion Committee and Parish Counsel
  • Member of International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute
  • Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame (President)

 

Prior:

  • Center State CEO Board
  • Le Moyne College Board of Trustees
  • Le Moyne College Board of Regents
  • Le Moyne College Board of Governors
  • Board of Manlius Republican Party Committee
  • YMCA of Greater Syracuse, Eastern Branch
  • Salvation Army Advisory Board
  • Rosewood Nursing Home
  • Fayetteville-Manlius Little League
  • Fayetteville-Manlius School District Facilities Committee
  • Fayetteville-Manlius Community Sports Facility Association
  • Appointed to Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession by New York State Bar, 2010
  • Instructor at University College at Syracuse University, Civil Practice to Paralegal Students

Education

  • Le Moyne College, BA 1979, Cum Laude
  • Albany Law School of Union University, JD 1982

Admissions

  • New York State Courts
  • United States District Court, Northern District of New York
  • United States District Court, Western District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court

Experience

  • Practice concentrates in civil litigation including commercial disputes, personal injury defense, product liability, medical malpractice, and insurance coverage.
  • Extensive trial experience in State and Federal Courts.
  • Litigated and argued appeals at every level, including in New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
  • Counsels various clients on education, general business, commercial and management issues.
  • Arbitrator or Mediator frequently employed by members of the Bar to resolve complex and difficult matters.
  • Lectured on such topics as “Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Cases”, “Expert Witnesses”, “Direct and Cross Examination”, “Municipal Liability”, “Trial Practice”, “Update on the Law”, and “Summations” through the New York State Bar Association and professional groups.

News

Nine Mackenzie Hughes Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers

Nine attorneys from Mackenzie Hughes LLP were recognized in the 2023 edition of Super Lawyers. Those recognized as “Super Lawyers” include: Clayton H. Hale, Jr., tax; Stephen T. Helmer, business litigation, personal injury – medical malpractice, civil litigation; Ami S. Longstreet, elder law, estate planning & probate; Jillian L. McGuire, family law; Edward J. Moses, […]

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Four Mackenzie Hughes attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers

Four attorneys from Mackenzie Hughes LLP were recognized in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Included are Stephen T. Helmer in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants; Ami S. Longstreet in Elder Law; Edward J. Moses in Corporate Law; and Gay […]

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Coronavirus Causes Governor to Toll the Statute of Limitations in New York

Coronavirus Causes Governor to Toll the Statute of Limitations in New York The Coronavirus is impacting all aspects of our lives, and after an Order issued by Governor Cuomo on March 20, 2020, this includes temporary limitations on which lawsuits can be filed and when.  By way of background, on March 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo […]

Read More about Stephen T. Helmer

Blog

Coronavirus Causes Governor to Toll the Statute of Limitations in New York

Coronavirus Causes Governor to Toll the Statute of Limitations in New York The Coronavirus is impacting all aspects of our lives, and after an Order issued by Governor Cuomo on March 20, 2020, this includes temporary limitations on which lawsuits can be filed and when.  By way of background, on March 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo […]

Read More about Stephen T. Helmer

What is Mediation, and Why Does it Work?

In recent years, I have developed a busy practice as a mediator, while also continuing to pursue my very active litigation practice.  What is mediation?  It is a voluntary settlement conference, in which the parties to a dispute try to negotiate an agreement resolving their differences, with the assistance of a neutral third-party facilitator, called […]

Read More about Stephen T. Helmer