Supermodel Stephanie Seymour. A Manhattan socialite accused of stealing a scarf worth more than $10,000 from a Greenwich Avenue clothier. One of the men involved in the killing of Greenwich real estate developer Andrew Kissel. And dozens of Greenwich residents charged with a variety of other offenses, but who will still get their own days in court.
What do they all have in common?
Defense attorney Mark Sherman. Born and raised in Stamford and once a Greenwich resident, Sherman is a regular presence in state Superior Court in Stamford, and in the Connecticut and New York legal scenes. He has represented a host of high-profile clients, but says his most rewarding work comes through helping people around town who find themselves in trouble after making a single bad decision.
There’s more to Sherman than just who he is in the courtroom. He’s also been spotted dining out with boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. And he’s got a knack for identifying songs from a particular decade.
Q: What’s the most interesting case you’ve handled?
A: In addition to my criminal practice, I have been doing a lot of whistle-blowing work. Since 2010, I have held the national record for obtaining the largest SEC whistle-blowing bounty in United States history. (Editor’s note: Sherman’s client, Karen Kaiser, received a $1 million bounty from the SEC for her role in the insider-trading probe of Wilton-based Pequot Capital, once among the world’s biggest hedge funds.) This achievement has helped us carve a niche in this practice area, especially under the new Dodd-Frank Act which has significantly increased bounty amounts available to whistle-blowers.
Q: What drew you to the legal profession? People around town also know your father Mickey Sherman well. Did you feel compelled to become a lawyer because he was one?
A: When I was a kid, my mother and father worked in the Stamford courthouse and I always enjoyed watching people walk out of the courtroom, thankful for a second chance, and grateful to their attorneys. I think any success I’ve had as an attorney is due in part to inheriting my parents’ best qualities — my father’s sense of humor and congeniality coupled with my mother’s compassion and patience. I am proud that I have been able to build a law firm separate and apart from my father’s practice. We are now a firm of five attorneys, with offices in Stamford and Manhattan, and tackle criminal and civil cases in Connecticut and New York.
Q: How do you know Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
A: We met through a mutual friend. After watching him fight up close last May, I’m a fan.
Q: Are there any myths you’d like to dispel about the legal profession, which is often dramatized on TV?
A: There’s an emotional component that you can’t appreciate by watching legal TV shows. In real life, it’s emotionally draining, but the reward of assisting clients through their cases is worth it.
Q: You can sit down with anyone you want — living or dead — at a Greenwich restaurant. Who would it be and where would you eat?
A: For dinner, Oprah at Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse. She inspires, she advocates, she’s ambitious and compassionate. As for lunch, I’d want to eat with my deceased grandparents Betty and Max Baron at Firehouse Deli — they both grew up in the area and loved a good sub (I’d grab the Real Deal Holyfield).
Q: What do you still want to accomplish in your career?
A: I’d like to further develop my firm’s community outreach to teenagers and their families, especially as technology continues to create land mines for kids. We regularly present cybersafety lectures to the local high schools, parents groups, and teen centers. We are going to expand that program this coming year.
Q: To what do you attribute your success?
A: Hard work, results, and most importantly, my staff and the fact we all grew up in the area. I grew up in Stamford, graduated from Stamford High School then lived in Greenwich with my wife for years as a young attorney. Two of my associates — Ryan O’Neill and Mariella Soussou — grew up in Trumbull and Greenwich, and appreciate the complexities of this part of the state. Together, we’ve all faced the same issues our clients encounter and as a result, we connect with our clients and are able to litigate their cases more effectively.
Q: Tell us one interesting fact most people don’t know about Mark Sherman.
A: Play any random ’80s song and I can name the title, singer, and often the year it came out. A completely useless talent.
Q: Have you ever turned down a case/representing a client?
A: I’ll never represent a producer or distributor of child pornography. For me, that’s my breaking point.
Q: What do you do when you’re not in court? Any hobbies?
A: Each morning I do 30 minutes of transcendental meditation. TM has improved my quality of life across the board. I’m also an avid runner as well (3:46 personal best in 2008 New York City Marathon).
Q: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you do for your profession instead?
A: I would be a travel and restaurant critic. To get paid to write, travel and eat? Case closed.