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What does it take to win when the stakes are high? Skill. Strength. Confianza.
What does it take to win when the stakes are high?
Skill. Strength. Confianza.
Complex cases sometimes seem to have insurmountable odds. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez grew up knowing what it means fight and win, in what many would find to be hopeless circumstances. Raised on the Lower East Side of New York, as a child and young man he felt the sting of poverty, prejudice and injustice. He vowed then to devote his life to combating the conditions that choke off equality and opportunity for others. It's why he became a lawyer.
Whereas devastating early life trauma destroys many people, Rafael turned adversity into advantage. The strength, courage and perseverance it took to survive are the same attributes he brings to practicing law. It's also what has enabled him to transform the most challenging cases into astounding courtroom victories. His tireless efforts on behalf of clients have consistently won major, life-changing decisions in their favor.
Rafael handles matrimonial, divorce, family law, criminal, and immigration matters. His approach combines the fervor of a seasoned courtroom litigator with a sage's discipline for thorough preparation. He is a master at weaving together facts and timelines, turning the chronology of a case into a convincing presentation that wins over judges and juries. It's a talent that has served clients well. He has continually prevailed for those who would otherwise be facing serious consequences.
Family law matters are close to Raphael's heart. "Especially in the circumstances in which I grew up, I know how important family is to survival. A New York family lawyer and matrimonial practitioner has a tremendous responsibility to his clients, because it's not easy to survive here. He's got to win if there's a court battle, and keep things as stable and negotiable as he can between the parties, particularly for the children's sake." Almost any experienced family law attorney in New York City would agree.
Recently, in representing two clients involved in a love triangle that turned into a criminal case, Rafael won their freedom after they'd been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. The client couple had reconciled their marriage. However, the husband's former lover made a false allegation to the police, saying they'd come to her home and slashed her with a knife as she answered the door. This resulted in their incarceration.
Gonzalez was able to prove that both the husband and his wife were in different locations on the day of the incident, and that the woman's wound was self-inflicted. The case was dismissed, and the former lover was arrested for lying to the police. "It was one of those unusual cases in which being both a family lawyer and a criminal attorney was critical to getting the clients out of trouble. So often it is today that more than one area of the law comes into play when you're solving a problem," he says.
Born into poverty in rural Puerto Rico before moving to New York when he was seven, Raphael knows what it's like to span the bridge between two cultures. It's an attribute the firm's multi-cultural clients are grateful for, as they face the often intimidating court system. They feel he is their advocate, guide and friend. Gonzalez, who is fluent in Spanish, calls it "confianza," or confidence. It refers to a special kind of rapport, where clients feel comfortable entrusting him with critical life issues and more importantly, their futures.
Raphael feels the master key to representing clients effectively is listening. "I listen carefully to what they want, and where they're coming from. Then, together we talk about how to get it, and what it's possible to achieve," he says.
Clients whose fates are hanging by the thread of a court decision are thankful for his efforts in restoring their lives, peace of mind and optimism. In having achieved the American dream of success himself, Rafael guards their rights to do the same, safely leading them through the complex maze of the law.
Raphael's winning methods are discussed in a Special Report just published by The Law Firm of Steven J. Mandel. The firm's attorneys have a track record of success because they rely on proven strategies to achieve results. Divorce Secrets for Tough Times outlines many of the practical approaches Gonzalez and the firm's other lawyers use to help clients. He recommends that every one of his matrimonial and family law clients read it.
Rafael graduated from Hunter College in New York City, and achieved his law degree on full scholarship from Boston University Law School, one of the country's top ten law programs. He is a highly regarded martial arts practitioner of the ancient Fu Jow Pai "Tiger Claw" style of Kung Fu, having won the Eastern Regional Lightweight Championship. He also enjoys competing in chess tournaments and loves novels by famous Spanish authors. He lives with his wife Farida and his teenage daughter.
When the foundation is solid, so is the case.
When the foundation is solid, so is the case.
When the chips are down and the wolves are closing in, there's no one better to have in your corner than Don Ridley. A brilliant strategist and celebrated appellate lawyer, Don has had extensive experience in successfully arguing many intricate cases at both the state and federal levels.
Don handles divorce, child custody, and family law, as well as legal representation for the firm's business and personal injury clients.
At The Mandel Firm, thorough preparation fuels every case initiative. Methodical and meticulous, Don is the master of the mountain when it comes to building the foundation of each triumphant plan-of-action. He helps develop the potent arguments, integrated with carefully researched legal precedent, that create a fortress of protection around every client. Don's case-winning foresight has shined the light of success on many challenging court battles the firm's attorneys have fought.
Here's a good example. As child custody lawyer in an unusual case, Don won sole custody for a father of his young daughter. The client's estranged wife was a police officer. Upon learning that the father was involved in a new relationship, the wife went to his apartment and threatened him with her service revolver.
A fight ensued with the wife in which he wrestled the weapon away from her, yet when the police arrived, they were reluctant to incriminate a colleague.
Even in confronting the "blue line" of silence, and although in most cases in New York, child custody is awarded to mothers, Don's careful presentation succeeded in convincing the court. In addition, he also attained an award of child support from the wife.
"You've got to be closely attuned to the needs of the client and the children in matters involving child custody. Attorneys have to be more thorough in these cases than almost any other area of the law, because the well-being of a child is at stake," he says.
Don is deeply devoted to helping all his clients, taking a personal interest in each case. "People in serious legal trouble need the assistance of an attorney who cares about what happens to them," he says. "I like to see clients move past their difficulties, and get on with their lives. It makes me feel good when I can lift the burden off their shoulders." And he does.
Where did Don acquire his skills? In addition to graduating law school with honors, Don was chosen for a prestigious two-year law clerkship with the famous federal trial judge and legal author, the Honorable Judge Edward J. Devitt. Only the top law school graduates are selected for these positions in the Federal Court system. It was in this capacity that he honed the exceptional research and writing skills that empower his clients today.
Don Ridley has been a leading advocate in cases involving patient's rights, having successfully argued at the state appellate level many times. He has won decisions that have significantly advanced protection of the right to refuse unwanted treatment.
Graduating from the University of Minnesota, Don worked his way through law school. He achieved his law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, alma mater of former United States Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Don and his wife Dawn give graciously of themselves for charitable causes in their community. All those Don has helped are deeply grateful for his support. In guiding them through the most overwhelming times of their lives, he has given them a basis for hope.
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