Adam P. Silvers: Legal Eagle


Adam P. Silvers joined Ruskin Moscou Faltischek P.C.’s corporate and securities law department in 1998; previously he was counsel to a New York software advisory firm. He was named a partner in 2003, becoming at age 35 one of the firm’s youngest partners. That year he cofounded the firm’s CFO Roundtable, a monthly gathering of private-company chief financial officers. Silvers was named co-managing partner in 2014 alongside Mark Mulholland; in 2015 he assumed the role of managing partner. He has served on his firm’s Management Advisory Council since 2009 and co-chairs its Corporate & Securities Department. He and his family live in Commack. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

For most of us, our parents are our first influencers. How did yours influence you? My mom, Barbara, worked for the federal government in the Social Security Administration. My father, Barry, worked for the government too; he handled labor racketeering (prosecution). He retired at age 50, same age I am now. They’re both alive and well. My parents shepherded my sisters and me to become doctors or lawyers. They were very, very big on education.

And you chose law, obviously. How did you get started? After Carnegie Mellon as an undergrad and then Albany Law School I worked for a general practice law firm and then for a software company. I came on board at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in 1998. This was the dot-com boom. The firm was making a big expansion on the corporate side. It became fairly clear early on that this was where I wanted to plant myself, doing corporate work.

How were your early experiences at Ruskin Moscou? I worked 33 days straight without a day off! There was so much work coming in the door. I was struck by how friendly and helpful everyone was. We had dinner together every night. I got to know my coworkers quickly. It was a great experience. Every day brought a new challenge.

Your firm’s changed quite a bit since that time. We’re much bigger, for one thing. And we’ve transitioned from first generation to second generation as a law firm. Mel Ruskin founded the firm in 1968. He still comes in to work. Not every firm is able to make this transition. It can be painful.

How do you make the generational transition work? If there’s one thing to focus on, it’s communication.

Describe your own communication style. I’m a communicator and consensus builder. I want to hear other people’s views. Managing people — managing relationships — is clearly the biggest management challenge. It all comes down to communications. You owe it to the people you manage to sit them down and describe your decision-making process. You don’t want to be throwing edicts out from the corner office.

You mentioned that the firm continues to grow. When I took over we were around 45 lawyers. Now we are around 70 including 22 litigation attorneys.

Where has growth come from? It’s come organically and it’s come through laterals as well. We just completed a small acquisition, a three-partner New York law firm, Ohrenstein & Brown.  They’re in the Chrysler Building.

Could you describe the process by which you became managing partner? I became co-managing partner in 2013. Finding my sea legs took a little time. Fortunately I had Mark by my side to show me the ropes. The transition from making decisions together to making them on my own was pretty orderly.

You turned 50 this year. So did Ruskin Moscou Faltischek. Congratulations to you both! I was born the year Mel incorporated. It’s so satisfying to see how happy Mel is to see his legacy thriving and its impact on Long Island continue to grow.