Buffalo, NY—After almost three years of legal wrangling, obstinate foot stomping and some pretty good name calling, the case to dissolve the partnership between the ubiquitous and highly profitable injury law firm Cellino & Barnes has almost come to a resolution. Though issues remain about IT personnel and the golf pro the firm has on staff the split is imminent with both Cellino and Barnes planning to open separate offices within the next thirty days.
An informal survey conducted by Buffalo Mud pollsters found that present clients of the firm and people hoping to get injured in the future mostly side with Cellino in the dispute.
The emergence of Cellino’s softer side as a result of the dopey, yet charming commercials he appears in with former Bills running back Thurman Thomas in support of his Family Foundation have made people warm to him. They also like that he attended the two-man play, Cellino v. Barnes at the Alleyway Theatre with his eighty-four year old mother and gave the production, which spoofs the break up of the law firm, a 10/10 rating. Then there’s his daughters, who have recently started their own injury law firm, many people, especially guys hoping to be injured in the future, like the Cellino daughters.
Conversely, Steve Barnes has a sharp, take no prisoners, aggressive style and zero pretty daughters. Also, Barnes is seemingly the only man in America not able to cash in on his military service, having reached the rank of Major in the Marines while serving in Operation Desert Storm. In addition to people not thanking him for his service they are miffed at his refusal to hire Cellino’s daughter Jenna, at the firm, which turned out to be the catalyst for the split. This is especially incredible considering Barnes’ girlfriend is employed at the firm and nearly three-fourths of the City of Buffalo’s, Police and Fire Departments are comprised of his former Bishop Timon classmates. These classmates didn’t get these jobs because they excelled in the agility testing or because of some desire to protect and serve, they got these jobs the old fashioned way, because they knew somebody.
Here’s a small sample of what Cellino & Barnes clients and a potential client are saying on where they’ll go once the split is complete:
Heidi Hornfinch- (whiplash- pending) Years ago, before my kids became huge disappointments, I was in line on a Saturday morning behind Steve Barnes renting bowling shoes at the Gamezone on Sheridan Drive. The attendant ran out of quarters and had to go to the snack bar to get Barnes’ change. Now here’s a guy, who with a wave of his arms, could have yelled: “Gutters and Space Invades all around…” and delighted everyone. Yet, there he was in shoe line with the rest of us schmucks waiting on a couple of quarters. I was not impressed. I’m going with Cellino.
Preston Trembly- (wounded pride after being cut off during a soliloquy at the Buffalo Club- discovery). Obviously, having a golf pro on staff at your law firm is a luxury. But it shows a level of success posers and wannabes at the club whisper about while the crab cakes are dancing on your pallet during cocktail hour. I’m staying with the man who employs the golf pro. I’m staying with Cellino.
Maybelle Wilkerson (pain and suffering- settled) Eighteen months ago I was in a little fender bender with a sixteen year old girl. Everything was fine. The police and her father came and we exchanged insurance information. Little girl was new to driving and made a mistake. I was young once too. Then, when I got home I got a call from Steve Barnes. I don’t know how he got my number, but he assured me the little achy feeling I had my neck wasn’t because I was getting on in years. No, it was because of the reckless behavior by that sixteen year old. I went to see Steve Barnes’ special doctor and now I’m approving the plans for my new patio home in Williamsville. I’m team Steve Barnes all the way.
Mo Rock (potential client) Now that I have taken care of the unregistered firearm matter I am free of any and all litigation. But lemme tell y’all, when I’m inching along the 190 in my ‘08 Honda during rush hour and I see a billboard for those fine Cellino girls I get all whack. Whack like I might hit the breaks suddenly and . . . opps! you tagged my backend. That would clear the way to meet Jenna and Annmarie and get me some of that injury cheddar and talk my way into some lawyer digits. Can you feel me, yo? Dis brutha from anutha mutha is team Cellino da way.
The next pending dispute between the longtime partners will be to see who retains the lucrative “Don’t wait, call 8,” tagline and number.