Arthur Yermash is a Partner based in our Westbury office.
CMM: Talk to us about how a boy from Ukraine wound up as a Partner at a Long Island law firm! Tell us about your immigration to the United States.
AY: I left Ukraine in the winter of 1991 and landed at JFK on January 31, 1991. As a seven-year-old, I didn’t give much thought to the life-altering change where we moved from one country to another where the language, customs, and nearly every aspect of life was different. My family and I adapted quickly. New York was now our home. I started second grade shortly after while still dealing with a language barrier. Through hard work, extra study, and ESL immersion, I caught on quickly. By third grade, I felt on par with other students. I’ve strived to excel and to do as best I could ever since.
CMM: You graduated from Brooklyn Tech, then Baruch College (Macaulay Honors College) before heading to Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
AY: Becoming a lawyer was a goal even before high school. Our profession has a certain mystique and respect about it that always drew me in. Lawyers are expected to be reliable problem solvers and deal makers. From a young age I saw myself as a problem solver and knew this was always the path for me. I worked at several law firms through high school, college, and law school. Fortunately, each experience reassured me that I was making the right decision.
CMM: You came to CMM as a law school intern when the firm was just starting out. Talk to us about how you came to the firm and what it’s been like experiencing and contributing to CMM’s exponential growth over the past decade.
AY: I started at CMM as a part time intern during my second year of law school. I worked after class and on weekends, and, really, as many hours as I could without compromising my education. Law school hardly provides the type of practical training that is needed to be a practicing attorney. I sought to get as much as possible with my opportunity at CMM to learn to be an advisor, not just someone with legal training. Since law school, I’ve worked extremely hard to provide our clients with the best possible service and experience. In addition to growing my own knowledge base, I’ve focused on training other team members to make sure that the entire CMM team provides the highest quality legal service. Each of us is only as good our team.
CMM: What practice areas do you focus on?
AY: I generally focus on representing employers with labor and employment matters. I help businesses improve policies and make sure businesses are doing everything they should be to provide their workforces with the best possible working environment. I also have a strong background in corporate transactions and have advised businesses on many difference corporate transactions – from basic confidentiality agreements to complex private equity investments.
CMM: If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would you be doing?
AY: I would probably be a long-haul truck driver. I’ve always had respect for truck drivers that are able to travel the country and see and experience all that this country offers. There is something special to me about being able to travel as far as the eye could see.
CMM: You’ve toughed out a long commute from Brooklyn to Suffolk County for over a decade. Jokes about a better commute aside, why is it so important that CMM decided to open a Nassau County office?
AY: I certainly appreciate the added freedom of being closer to home that the Nassau office affords, but it certainly wasn’t the most important factor for opening this new office. CMM has always sought to provide convenience and impeccable service to our clients. While technology has made communication more efficient, it hardly replaces the comradery and effectiveness that meeting in person provides. As we look to improve the services we provide to our Nassau County and NYC clients, being closer to their business was a no brainer. We always welcome clients to stop by and discuss any issues they may have. Giving our clients a closer presence only strengthens our ability to provide exceptional service.
CMM: What has been a challenge you’ve faced as a lawyer?
AY: Time management is a critical part of performing as a lawyer at the highest levels. Planning is always critical, but often, even the best plans are derailed when client needs require it. Often, we are also faced with balancing business urgency with taking the time necessary to do the best job possible. As a result, I constantly strive to become more efficient with time, more focused on foreseeable and unforeseeable outcomes, and making sure that I am communicating those issues to our clients.
CMM: What is the most valuable thing a lawyer can do for his or her clients?
AY: I believe the most valuable thing a lawyer could do is to listen. Many lawyers often make assumptions about clients’ needs and fail to focus on what the client seeks to accomplish. Every situation is unique, and no fact pattern is ever the same. By listening and paying close attention to our clients’ needs and desires, we can better advise them towards the goals they want to achieve instead of the goals we think they should achieve.
CMM: How do you spend your weekends?
AY: Weekends these days certainly aren’t what they used to be. After the birth of my now four-year-old daughter, weekends have become filled with kid activities, birthdays, day trips, and naps. I still, however, enjoy adult outings and dinners out without the kids from time to time.
CMM: What is an interesting trend happening right now related to your field of practice?
AY: There has been a tremendous growth of employment regulations that have made it tough for business owners to operate to the fullest letter of the law. While many of these regulations are necessary and protect the workforce, the constant change and regulation growth has made it tougher for smaller businesses to comply. With the ever increasing and changing regulations, our focus is to make sure we are providing our clients with as much guidance and communication as possible so that they can do what is necessary to run their businesses as efficiently as possible.