Meet the Team at Buckley, Mendleson, Criscione and Quinn.
The roots of the Buckley, Mendleson, Criscione and Quinn law firm go back to 1925. The firm has a long history of serving the Albany, New York, area and protecting the rights of working people. BMCQ is a leading workers’ compensation law firm in eastern New York, with a proven 40-year track record of experience in workers’ compensation cases. The BMCQ legal team has more than 150 years of combined experience in workers’ comp cases, with principals Jim Buckley and Brendan Quinn practicing almost exclusively in that area. One of our principals, Ira Mendleson, works solely on Social Security Disability cases, and another, John Criscione, focuses on personal injury/third-party litigation. Our associates practice in these and other areas including securities brokerage customer claims cases.
When you need legal help in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, personal injury litigation, wrongful death, product liability or securities brokerage customer claims cases, look to BMCQ — we work hard for working people.
Jim Buckley — Partner
Jim Buckley is a lifelong resident of the Capital District and attended Colgate University, where he graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1966.
“I became interested in the law when I was in college and working construction in the summers as a laborer with Local 190 here in Albany. Seeing workers getting hurt on the sites where I worked, I got a firsthand look at the importance of getting quality legal representation. With my political science major and those work experiences, it was natural that I gravitated to studying the law and practicing in workers’ compensation.”
Jim graduated from Albany Law School cum laude in 1969, where he was the lead articles editor for Albany Law Review, 1968-1969; author of “Recent Decisions,” Albany Law Review, 1968-1969; and a member of the Justinian Law Society. Jim was admitted to the New York Bar, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, in 1969. Jim is a member of the Albany County, New York State and American Bar Associations, the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association, New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and Injured Workers’ Bar Association (president, 1997-1999). Jim has been with BMCQ since 1970, and his practice area is workers’ compensation. “My view is that people who work for a living have a right to the same high-quality representation as insurance companies and employers. We put a lot of effort into giving our clients that high-level quality representation to which they are entitled.”
Ira Mendleson — Partner
Ira Mendleson was born in Albany and attended Siena College, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1966. While in college Ira became interested in law and joined Siena’s pre-law Barrister’s Club. He graduated from Albany Law School in 1969, and was admitted to the New York Bar that same year. Ira was assistant district attorney in Albany County from 1970-1975 and in Rensselaer County from 1975-1978.
Ira has been with BMCQ for over 30 years, and for the past 12 years has practiced exclusively in the area of Social Security. Ira is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives; Albany County, Rensselaer County, and New York State (member, Criminal Section, since 1975) Bar Associations; and the Injured Workers’ Bar Association. He is an avid golfer and hones his fly fishing skills on trips to Montana. “People ask me whether they should have an attorney in a Social Security case, and my answer is yes, because those who represent themselves at the hearing level, which is the critical stage of a case, win about 40% of the time, while those who have a representative win about 60% of the time. These figures are consistent year-to-year throughout the country. With a 50% better chance of winning with an attorney, it makes sense to have legal representation in Social Security cases.”
John Criscione — Partner
John Criscione was born and raised in Albany. In high school he became interested in the law after joining the Law Club, led by a social studies teacher who was influential in instructing John about the importance of the courts, constitutional law, and people having their rights properly represented.
“Coming from a middle-class background where not many people I knew had legal issues, it was an eye-opener to learn about the law and how it affected average people. Pursuing a law career seemed like the best way to use my skills to help others and fulfill my potential.” John graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in 1977 and from Western New England College School of Law with a J.D. in 1981. He was admitted to the New York Bar, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York in 1982. John has been with BMCQ since 1985 and focuses on the practice area of personal injury litigation. John is a member of the Albany County and New York State Bar Associations, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association. He has been on the board of directors of Albany since 1986 and was president from 1995-1997. John also served as plan attorney for CSEA Legal Services in 2002. “To determine if there is a third-party liability case arising from a workers’ compensation claim, BMCQ reviews every workers’ compensation case we are working on to find out as much information as possible about how the client was injured or how they attained their illness on the job. This review helps us to ensure that clients get everything they are entitled to through the legal process.”
Brendan G. Quinn — Partner
Brendan Quinn was born on Long Island and attended The State University of New York at Buffalo, where he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in English in 1980. His father, who spent his life in public service, and local government and politics influenced Brendan’s interest in law.
“My father’s example gave me a strong sense of the value of the rule of law and public service that I have carried into my professional life.”
Brendan graduated from St. John’s University School of Law with a J.D. in 1986 and was admitted to the New York Bar, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York in 1987. He is a member of the Saratoga County and New York State Bar Associations and the Injured Workers’ Bar Association. Brendan has been with BMCQ for nearly 22 years and practices in the areas of workers’ compensation, longshoreman litigation, and no-fault litigation. When it comes to workers’ compensation cases, Brendan is acutely aware of the consequences of any given case to the individual client, whose future and livelihood may depend on the outcome. “For me, the most important case is the one I am working on right now, regardless of the value or the money at stake. I devote my utmost attention to every case, because I know for that particular client there is nothing more important.”
Wayne L. Burton — Attorney Of Counsel
Wayne was born in Camden, New Jersey, and is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany where he earned a B.A. in 1969. He attended Albany Law School. Where he was a member of the Justinian Society and the Albany Law School Law Review from 1972-1973; he graduated with a J.D., cum laude, in 1973. After being admitted to the New York Bar in 1974, he served as Deputy Chief Clerk, Albany County Surrogate’s Court, 1974-1975. In 1980 Wayne earned an L.L.M. at New York University Graduate Law School.
Wayne has practiced with BMCQ for 25 years in the following areas of law: General Civil Practice and Litigation, Business and Commercial, Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Professional Practices, Partnerships, Commercial and Residential Real Estate, Contract, Taxation, Probate, Wills, Trusts and Estates, and Representation of Fire Districts.
Wayne is a member of the Albany County and New York State Bar Associations and a lecturer at various seminars and colleges courses
Jillian Gordon — Attorney
Jillian Gordon was raised in San Antonio, TX and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA where she earned a B.A. in 2006. Before studying law, Jillian lived and worked in Spain where she taught English as a second language to Spanish students. Jillian graduated from Albany Law School in 2010 and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2011. She lived and worked in Washington D.C. before returning to Albany where she began practicing in the area of Workers’ Compensation. She currently focuses on Workers’ Compensation Law and Social Security Disability Law. Jillian belongs to the Albany County Bar Association, Injured Workers’ Bar Association and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
Rebeccah Kane — Attorney
Rebeccah Kane was raised in Washingtonville, New York. She graduated from the State University of New York College at Geneseo in 2006 with a B.A. in Anthropology. She had always had an interest in pursuing a legal career and after an internship with Teamsters Local 237 Legal Services Plan she attended and graduated Villanova University School of Law J.D. in 2010. While attending law school, Rebeccah was an active member of the Pro Bono Society and was awarded the Dorothy Day Award in recognition of her pro bono service.
“I knew that I wanted to be in a profession where I could use my knowledge and skills to assist individuals in need. Pursuing a legal career seemed like a natural fit for me and I am glad to have found myself in a career where my time and energy are spent helping others.”
Rebeccah was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2012. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Injured Worker’s Bar Association, the Albany County Bar Association and the Capital District Women’s Bar Association. She started with BMCQ in 2012 and practices in the area of Workers’ Compensation.
“The Workers’ Compensation claims process can be intimidating to an injured worker, inexperienced in complex procedures and medical terminology. The opportunity to help hardworking people who have been injured on the job with this process is what gets me out of bed every morning.”
Timothy J. O’Connor — Attorney Of Counsel
Tim O’Connor was born in Albany, New York, and graduated from Middlebury College with an A.B. in economics in 1980.
“My interest in financial markets led me to the practice of law in the financial regulatory system; there I could find exciting challenges helping people victimized by greed and fraud.”
He graduated from the University of Denver College of Law with a J.D. in 1984. Tim was admitted to the New York Bar in 1985; Florida Bar and U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York in 1986; and U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York and U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit in 1997.
Tim has been affiliated with BMCQ since 2005, and practices in arbitration, securities brokerage customer claims, financial torts, fiduciary abuses, personal injury, corporate and private company shareholder disputes, and trusts and estates. He is a member of the Albany County Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Florida Bar, and the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association.
Tim has been a pro bono panel member/public officer for the New York State Commission on Quality Care for the Mentally Disabled, Surrogate Decision-Making Committee since 1986. He has served as a securities arbitrator — American Arbitration Association, National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD), and Financial Institution Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He was appointed founding visiting clinical instructor, Investor Rights Project, and Securities Arbitration Clinic, Albany Law School of Union University, 2004-2005.
Tim has been handling securities brokerage customer claims since 1985. He utilizes the resources of nationally recognized expert witnesses and professionals to analyze and calculate trading losses and monetary damages in the implementation of legal, professional, and industry standards regarding investment professionals’ wrongdoing.
“Because every client’s case is unique, my approach to representation is ‘one on one’ rather than ‘class action’ to better serve the interests of victimized investors. Clients who have suffered devastating financial losses or personal injury need caring, devoted counsel, unafraid of facing large corporations.”
Aurora Heller — Attorney
Aurora has varied legal experience, including time with the New York State Office of the Attorney General and litigation experience at Bingham McCutchen. She’s a member of the New York Bar and the New Hampshire Bar and has received numerous accolades for her pro bono work (which ranges from Criminal Law to Immigration Law). She is a member of numerous bar associations. Previously, she was a Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Iowa. Her writing has been featured in multiple publications.
Lucinda H. Buckley — Attorney
Attorney Lucinda Hillerman Buckley is representing claimants in applications for Social Security disability benefits. A native of the Finger Lakes region and graduate of the University at Albany and Albany Law School, Mrs. Buckley has been associated with the firm since 1997. She returned to practice last year, having been away since 2004. In that earlier period with the firm, she was an associate attorney.
Previously, she was a sole practitioner in her own practice, focusing on real estate transactions, and matrimonial and family law. During that period she maintained an “of counsel” relationship with the firm. Prior to that, she served as an associate attorney with D’Agostino, Hoblock, Greisler & Siegal, PC, and, before that, with Shanley, Sweeney and Reilly, PC.
Mrs. Buckley is admitted to practice in courts in New York and Massachusetts, and before federal courts in the Northern District New York and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. She enjoys horseback riding, skiing, and genealogical research.
Lisa-Michelle P. Houck — Social Security Disability Claimant Representative
Lisa-Michelle P. Houck is Social Security claimant representative for clients in disability hearings, applications, and appeals. Lisa became eligible in 2016 to represent clients in disability matters before the Social Security Administration. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from The State University of New York at Geneseo.
“My interest in disability advocacy enables me to use my research, writing, and technology skills to help disabled individuals obtain much-needed income. Applying and appealing for disability benefits can be intimidating and overwhelming, particularly when a person is already struggling with medical problems.”
Lisa is spearheading the firm’s conversion of its Social Security disability records to paperless files. Previously, Lisa was Social Security disability claims coordinator at Martin Harding & Mazzotti, LLP, of Schenectady, and, prior to that, Social Security disability intake coordinator and paralegal at The Law Firm of Alex Dell, PLLC, of Albany and Plattsburgh. She is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives.
Stephen J. Mastaitis — Attorney
Stephen Mastaitis attended Union College in Schenectady, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science. He earned his J.D. degree from Western New England University’s School of Law in Springfield, Mass.
He was the principal at Stephen J. Mastaitis, P.C., a solo law practice (1996-2017) in Saratoga Springs, concentrating on workers’ compensation and Social Security Administration (SSA) claimants’ representation, including hearings and appeals. He was a partner and managing partner at Maynard, O’Connor & Smith LLP (1988-96) in Albany.
He is a lead attorney representing clients before SSA, and continues representing clients from his former law practice. “I’m anxious to carry on a tradition and reputation of legal excellence and success representing disabled individuals before the Workers’ Compensation Board and the Social Security Administration.”
Admitted to the federal bar, he is a member of the New York State, Albany County, and Saratoga County Bar Associations. He has been a member of NOSSCR (National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives) for 38 years. He is a former instructor at the Albany Center for Real Estate Education and a former NBI workers’ compensation lecturer.
An athlete who loves golf and hiking, particularly in the high peaks of the national parks, he has competed in triathlons at all distances and is a four-time Ironman finisher. Stephen also is a member of the Vincentian Institute Sports Hall of Fame.