168th Commencement: Watch Live
Matthew Petrosino ’12 calls himself “a Type A, with a dash of even more ‘A.’ ”
“To achieve your client’s goals,” says the associate who practices construction law at the White Plains, N.Y., office of Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, “there’s no other way to be. This is no place for the timid ― you will face dauntless competition. Construction clients don’t believe in obstacles; they achieve their goals no matter what and expect their attorneys to do the same.”
Before joining WBG, he worked at the firm of Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider, PLLC, where he practiced commercial and construction litigation.
A native of Newburgh, N.Y., Petrosino graduated magna cum laude from Marist College in 2007, where he received the Baccalaureate Award for Excellence in Philosophy, and earned an MBA from The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University two years after graduating Albany Law School.
He says he decided to become a lawyer because “I wanted a career that was challenging, exciting and competitive. I enjoy locking horns with an adversary and solving complex problems.”
“Construction clients don’t believe in obstacles; they achieve their goals no matter what and expect their attorneys to do the same.”
During law school, he was senior editor of the
Albany Law Review, a member of the Justinian Society, executive director of the
Center for Judicial Process and executive treasurer for the
Student Bar Association. He was also involved with the pro bono Tax Clinic.
Two Albany Law professors stand out as being powerful influences. “Raymond Brescia is the law professor par excellence and a shining example of the high quality staff at Albany Law School. His integrity and commitment as a public interest attorney are inspiring, and he had a profound impact on my growth as a law student.”
Vincent Bonventre was also a great mentor. “If you want to have any knowledge of the judiciary, he is the go-to professor. He is an excellent professor who teaches you the value of hard work and ‘knowing your judge.’ ”
In addition to individual professors, Petrosino credits the school and its rigorous standards for preparing him well for his future in law. “Albany Law challenges you with a diverse curriculum and difficult problems during your academic career. The ability to solve problems that can dramatically change from case to case is crucial to successful lawyering.”
Petrosino eventually settled on construction law “because it’s downright fun. I chose this area for its intense litigation, demanding clients, unique and technical issues, breadth of legal challenges, and because I truly enjoy the work.”
He is not alone. “WBG is an amazing firm. Our attorneys are dedicated, highly skilled and at the top of the field. Working here is like working with your best friends because the atmosphere is very friendly and collegial. Ultimately, this boils down to value for our clients since our whole firm’s experience is leveraged to solve their problems.”
“Albany Law challenges you. ... The ability to solve problems that can dramatically change from case to case is crucial to successful lawyering.”
He adds, “Construction law is an extremely complex area of law heavily concentrated on contract law, lien law, financing, public and private partnerships, real estate and labor law. These diverse areas all come together when people want to build anything from a small residential house to a giant skyscraper in New York City.
“Everything revolves around the contracts between the owner, general contractor and the trade contractors. These contracts cover almost anything and connect architects, engineers, technical trades, construction managers, general contractors, subcontractors, land owners, government agencies, banking institutions, insurance companies and law firms ― all swirling around with one goal: complete the project on time and on budget. When conflicts arise, litigation is complex, complicated and demanding. It requires attorneys well-versed in all aspects of construction law, from the technical side to the litigation side.”
To Petrosino, the rewards of his work equal or exceed the formidable challenges. “If I’m hired by an owner, the most fulfilling aspect is protecting the owner’s interests and coordinating the relationships. Once all the behind-the-scenes work is done, there’s nothing like watching a project break ground and an owner’s vision come to life. If I represent a contractor, the best part is ensuring they get paid what they deserve for all their risks and hard work.”
Petrosino resides in Danbury, Conn., with his wife Gizem, also an attorney whom he met at Albany Law School. He is an avid golfer and he and Gizem enjoy sailing, though he admits, “We’re quite the novices on the water.”