EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Bastone is no longer practicing full-time.
With a warmth and directness that has endured through his nearly four decades practicing law, Frank Bastone has achieved unique status: He is one of the few trial attorneys who, peers say, has the respect of the judges he appears before. Ever candid (and capable of occasional salty language), the 63-year-old Bronx native is also a thoughtful attorney whoâ€™s helped build one of the most successful medical malpractice defense firms in the region. Indeed, Bastone carries on a family tradition of accomplishment: Born in Fort Apache, the Bronx, Bastoneâ€™s father (who had arrived from Italy as a teen) owned bars and restaurants in the borough; Frank managed them at night and decided to go to Law School â€œbecause there wasnâ€™t much to do in the daytimeâ€; receiving his degree at age twenty. Scoring highly on his law admissions tests, he was admitted to Yale Law School but â€œmy dad didnâ€™t want me going off to some school in New Haven; Italian families werenâ€™t exactly democracies in those days.â€ He returned to Fordham, a few subway stops away.
One of his first jobs was with famed trial lawyer Harry Lipsig, who finally allowed his staff Saturday afternoons off in the summer (â€œHe constantly complained about the erosion of the workweekâ€). In 1970 at thirty years old, he joined Clifford Bartlett (Bartlett was named to The Ten Leaders of Civil Trial & Personal Injury Law of Long Island last year) in what became the stateâ€™s top defense firm in the growing field of medical malpractice law. He joined as the firmâ€™s eleventh attorney; twenty-five years later the firm had two hundred. In 1994 he joined with former partners and launched Barlett, McDonough, Bastone & Monaghan, LLP., further building their reputations as expert defenders of hospitals and physicians. Today their fifteen-partner practice remains one of the leading malpractice-defense firms in the state, with substantial offices in both Mineola and White Plains (â€œWe have a spirited rivalry with our billable hoursâ€).
Bastoneâ€™s cases take him to The Bronx and Westchester, somewhat contrasting venues today, where huge jury awards often hinge on subtle â€“ and not-so-subtle â€“ social and class issues involving the juries themselves. â€œNone of that makes our job any easier,â€ says Bastone. Today Bastone, the veteran of hundreds of malpractice-defense cases, cites medical issues with the ease and authority of a veteran physician. Bastone, who moved his family to Armonk, N.Y., 20 years ago, today takes pride in three children of remarkable accomplishment: His daughter is a graduate of Yale and Columbia and now a PhD candidate in Bio-statistics and eEpidermiology; and he has two sons, (one an attorney), who are products of Georgetown/Fordham and Penn/NYU.
Golf was never his bag â€“ â€œI gave away my clubs on the ninth hole of my first round.â€