FOR THIS SOUTH SHORE ATTORNEY, A RICH LIFE IS ABOUT FAMILY, COMMUNITY, AND DOING THE RIGHT THING
BY JENNIFER VIKSE • PHOTOS BY AMESSÉ PHOTOGRAPH
For attorney Philip Mancuso, the day starts the way a lot of people’s days start. He wakes up at 5 a.m. to get in some time on the elliptical, then has breakfast with his family, drops his kids at school, and heads to work. For Mancuso, that would be Mancuso & Associates Law PLLC, on Arthur Kill Road, where he is the CEO.
The firm, which offers an array of services, including estate planning, will preparation, Medicaid planning, residential and commercial real estate services, and helping restaurants and lounges obtain liquor licenses, opened in 2005. Its leader, a native Staten Islander, credits his father with giving him the tools and resources that have made him the success he is today.
My parents shaped my life,” Mancuso said. “My father made me the man, the father, the husband I am. They raised my brother and me the right way. I would not be where I am without my father the foundation that he made, the virtue. I can’t say enough about him.” Mancuso’s voice cracks as he talks about his dad, who died unexpectedly several months ago.
His father, an electrician and salesman, and his mother, a homemaker, sacrificed for the family putting Mancuso and his brother, Joe (who is an accountant and insurance agent), through school. While doing so, his father, who also sold dental equipment and fixed dental chairs as a side business while working as a member of Local 3, took on a renovation job for a dentist. That project changed the trajectory of his career. He became a general contractor and builder, and actually built the office building Mancuso now works in.
Growing up in Staten Island’s Huguenot neighborhood, Mancuso attended Our Lady Star of the Sea elementary school and graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School, where he played football and lacrosse. When it was time for college, he was offered a generous scholarship to attend Niagara University, so he headed upstate, to the Buffalo area, to study psychology.
“I wanted to be a psychiatrist,” said Mancuso. There was one minor problem. “I hated psychology,” he said with a laugh. So he switched gears and began taking courses in criminal justice and criminology. “I took a criminal justice class and fell in love with the law. It just engrossed me.” He went on to the New England School of Law in Boston, and enjoyed both the city and the work he did at a local law firm there. When he returned to Staten Island in 2003, degree in hand, Mancuso began his law career. Before long, he had opened his own firm.
Working with clients is the part of the job that Mancuso enjoys most. While his firm provides a wide range of legal services, it focuses on producing and administering estate plans based on clients’ financial and personal needs, and helping them acquire property in New York and New Jersey. The Staten Island real estate market is booming, and so clients are increasingly seeking advice on handling their Staten Island and Brooklyn properties. Looking at assets, discussing plans, and offering advice are what he does best. “If you sell a piece of property [here], what are you going into it’s a lateral move. I’m very cautious. I put myself in the client’s position; I really try to counsel,” he explained.
Sometimes it’s not the best financial move for my business, but I can put my head on the pillow at night. I’m telling the client what I would tell my own parents.”
With property values in his hometown soaring, Mancuso is busy. “Staten Island is the biggest little town in America. There’s such a sense of community, such a sense of neighborhood you don’t have that in Brooklyn anymore. It’s its own dynamic. You could live in the Urby section or in a 10,000 square foot home,” he noted. “You can get anything. You can get authentic Asian cuisine it’s such a cultural change. And you have that suburban feel.”
Mancuso’s love for all things Staten Island is evident in the philanthropic endeavors he spends time on. He has been serving as chairman of the board for the Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH)/North well Health Foundation since 2016, a position he said is at once an honor and a humbling experience.
A few years ago, after being introduced to Lou Tobacco, senior director of external affairs at SIUH, Mancuso began discussing the possibility of getting involved at the hospital as a way to give back to the community. He started off slowly, helping out with the organization’s annual Golf, Tennis & Bocce Outing.
“From there, the hospital asked my wife, Miranda, and me to co-chair the gala,” he said.
So why the hospital?
“I’m a frequent flyer there, having three kids. Everyone has had an experience there. I’ve had a tragic one, like losing my grandfather there,” he said. “I had my three kids there three of the best experiences of my life,” adding that he’d rather put philanthropic energies into his own community than into a large organization that may not have such strong ties to the borough. “Everybody wants to give to great, large organizations, but you have people who need help in your backyard. I’d rather help my community.”
After serving on the board for eight or nine months, Mancuso was approached about chairing it.
“It’s overwhelming…it’s a thousand different emotions, it’s humbling, it’s flattering,” he said, but also admitted that at first, he was concerned that his lack of experience might be a concern for others. It hasn’t turned out that way.
“Everything we do is based on the board we have we have a total team approach,” he said. “They are amazing. The vibrancy and the collectivity, the family mentality we have is absolutely amazing. People actually look forward to going to these committee meetings. They are fun there’s levity. Everybody knows what they have to bring to the table.”
With this team in place thanks to the efforts of Tobacco, John Demoleas, and Donna Proske at the hospital the board is currently fund raising for three capital projects: the Women and Newborn Center, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Hybrid Operating Room Project.
In addition to his role as board chair, Mancuso is a trustee of the Staten Island University Hospital Regional Counsel. He has also been a member and director of the North Central Kiwanis Club since 2013 and a director of the Emergency Children’s Help Organization (ECHO), which provides financial assistance to children facing medical challenges, as well as their families.
“I’m really impressed with ECHO, because they are so hands on, they step up to the plate when, in some cases, no one else will. And you actually see who you help. They’re community people, and sometimes they’re your neighbors,” Mancuso said. “It’s truly humbling work, because you help people at the worst point in their life. It’s very refreshing. You really feel accomplished. You get emotional.”
When he’s not working or running a meeting, Mancuso is apt to be found at home in Prince’s Bay, at the soccer field, the T-ball field, the shore, or upstate hunting (or maybe golfing). He and Miranda are the proud parents of Lola, 8, Ava, 7, and Philip, 5.
“My life revolves around my kids and my wife we do date nights every two weeks,” said Mancuso. “My daughters play soccer; my son is into T-ball. It’s all about going to the ball field and hanging out with them when I’m not working.”
Mancuso and Associates Law PLLC
4864 Arthur Kill Road, Suite 300
718.966.2200 / mancusoandassociateslaw.com