Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Matthew C. Lamstein
January 1, 2023
Matthew Lamstein didn’t need to look far for inspiration on how to build a successful law career; he didn’t even have to leave the house. His father led by example, as he lifted himself from poverty to a successful practice that he ran out of the family’s home in Rockville Centre on Long Island.
A pediatric practice, that is.
Dr. Benjamin Lamstein “taught me the secret is working hard, having the right instincts and going with them when counseling others,” Matt says. “Most importantly, he taught me that success in business and in life is all about how you treat people, with respect and honesty as well as knowing when to be compassionate and when to be tough.”
Obviously, Matt didn’t take those lessons and apply them to a career in medicine. While studying political science at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, he developed an affinity for standing up in front of people, taking positions, making an argument. He also played four years of soccer and was a tenor in the chorus. He remained upstate and attended Cornell Law School. After graduation, he worked for seven years at a law firm in Hartford, Connecticut. But the island eventually called him home – after a brief stint at a respected but stuffy Manhattan real estate law firm whose chilly atmosphere didn’t suit him.
The only good thing to come from that New York City job, he says, was an introduction to his future wife, whom he met on a blind date. While he was working crazy hours at that law firm, his wife-to-be was travelling around the world working just as hard in a position she held at MTV for almost 30 years.
Matt eventually joined the Melville-based law firm of Lazer, Aptheker, Rosella & Yedid, where he happily remained for 25 years until the firm combined in 2022 with Bond, Schoeneck & King.
He chose real estate law because he felt its transactional nature, with a clearly defined beginning and end, best fit his personality.
“I have no patience for things that just go on and on,” Matt says. “In real estate, more often than not, things end on a positive note.”
Even during the challenges of the COVID pandemic, when title recording offices closed down and transactions became tougher to close, the real estate market remained extremely active.
“There were some crazy times,” Matt says. “But we worked through it, and I think clients remember you better when you’ve helped them through the difficult times.”
His practice focuses on commercial real estate, and he represents banks, insurance companies and other major financial institutions as well as owners and developers of real property in connection with complex commercial real estate transactions.
“Matt is a brilliant attorney, but he’s much more than that,” says Joseph Willen, president and CEO of Advantage Title, with offices in Manhattan and Long Island. “As a business owner, I need more than legal expertise. Matt’s approach is from the client’s perspective. He asks probing questions to get his clients to focus on what their objectives are and how to best accomplish them. He doesn’t advise until he fully understands what your needs and goals are – brings to mind the term ‘counselor.’”
Mark Hamer, president of Harvest Real Estate Services in Melville, has worked with Matt for a more than a quarter-century.
“Matt is trustworthy, reliable and grounded,” he says. “When making important decisions in my personal and business life, I depend on Matt’s advice to offer principled, intelligent analysis and rational perspectives of the issues. Having Matt’s counsel simplifies my decision making and instills confidence in my business judgement.”
Matt and his wife have two grown sons, one in law school and the other a college senior planning for his next adventure in the entertainment industry. The couple enjoy hosting dinner parties – a passion they’ve only recently been able to resume since COVID. Matt’s the mixologist behind the bar; Lisa presides over the kitchen.
“We’re the perfect match for a dinner party,” he says.
Matt serves on the board of several charitable organizations whose main focus is helping children, including Sunrise Day Camp, the world’s first full-summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings.
“My dad was an old-time pediatrician who still made house calls,” he says. “He was completely devoted to his job and what he did. In honor of his memory, all my charity work is child-related. He’s always with me.”