Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Robert F. Manfredo
April 1, 2021
A middle school social studies teacher planted the earliest seeds of Rob Manfredo’s legal career when he encouraged him to attend a meeting of the school’s Model UN club. The youth organization simulates the United Nations by enabling student participants to assume the role of a committee delegate while debating global topics such as international conflicts, nuclear proliferation and world health. Rob’s involvement with Model UN helped hone his public speaking and critical thinking skills and set him on a path that led him to join the mock trial team in high school.
When the time came to apply to colleges, the New Hartford, New York, native already knew he wanted to pursue a legal career, so he set his sights on Siena College, known for its robust pre-law program.
“The experience I had participating in Model UN, along with my parents telling me from a young age that I would make a good lawyer because I liked to argue, encouraged me to pursue a career in the law, and Siena’s pre-law program was exactly what I was looking for,” says Rob.
Once settled on campus in the Albany County hamlet of Loudonville, Rob majored in political science and minored in philosophy. While at Siena, Rob competed on the college’s mock trial team and interned at Pace University School of Law, as part of Siena’s Summer Legal Fellows Program. It was during his time on the college’s mock trial team that Rob befriended a classmate who would become a fixture in his personal and professional life for years to come, fellow Bond attorney Ryan Keleher. Next, Rob was accepted to Albany Law School, where he focused his studies on litigation, while also participating in the college’s moot court program and serving on the executive board of the Albany Law Review.
After graduation, Rob accepted a litigation associate position at a small law firm in Albany, where he worked on “pretty much everything you can imagine from a litigation perspective,” Rob says. Because of the firm’s small size, Rob was able to gain a tremendous amount of experience right out of the gate, handling commercial litigation, construction law and personal injury law and defending employers (mostly school districts) in employment discrimination and civil rights cases. After more than five years, he was ready for a new challenge, which came in the form of an offer to join Bond’s labor and employment team in Albany.
“I was looking for something different, but at the time I wasn’t actively pursuing a position in the field of labor and employment,” Rob says. “When I interviewed with two Bond members, however, I learned a bit more about that area of the law and what the day-to-day entailed. It really sounded like something I could see myself doing and enjoying.”
Going from a boutique law firm of 20 attorneys to a full-service firm of 250 was a “huge adjustment,” Rob says. But he wouldn’t change a day.
“One of the industries I’ve focused on is higher education, and I have been fortunate to work with a number of colleges throughout the Capital Region and surrounding areas. In addition to guiding clients through every day labor and employment issues, representing higher ed institutions allows me to work on a variety of topics that are unique to colleges and universities, such as student disciplinary matters, Title IX compliance and faculty tenure issues.”
Now in his fourth year as a member (partner) at Bond, Rob says he’s where he belongs.
“I’m where I plan on staying for the rest of my career,” Rob says. “It’s a great group of people. A lot of very smart lawyers, excellent clients, interesting legal issues and challenging problems we help our clients work through.”
As part of the labor and employment practice, Rob says he feels like he’s part of the fabric of the institutions he serves. He found it particularly rewarding to serve as a sounding board and beacon for his clients during the challenges of 2020.
“The pandemic has been a whirlwind,” Rob says. “For the first few months, my days were spent pretty much around the clock on the phone with clients, helping them work through different issues. And then at night, I’d read up on the latest developments. The situation was changing daily, if not hourly.”
Outside of work, Rob devotes his time to his wife, Megan, a high school teacher, and their 7-year-old daughter, Norah, and 6-year-old son, Jack.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a partner at Bond is the emphasis that is placed on a healthy work-life balance – I’m able to practice in a large firm setting, but can also be at the dinner table with my family every night.”