David A. Cutner

David Cutner

If you asked David Cutner’s clients why they would recommend him to others, you would likely discover a striking similarity in their responses. Clients feel especially comfortable with David because he always takes the time to listen and thoroughly understand their concerns. They're confident he has the knowledge, experience, and empathy to handle their most vital legal issues, and that he'll obtain the best outcome possible.

If there's any one thing that stands out about David, it's his commitment to making sure Lamson & Cutner provides correct solutions and delivers consistent results. Achieving client objectives with a proven, reliable approach is his first priority.

"We only recommend solutions and strategies we strongly believe we can accomplish. We don't want to take aggressive positions that can lead to disputes or expensive lawsuits. Our clients need comfort and care, not uncertainty and stress. So, our advice has to be accurate and dependable. Fortunately, in the Elder Law field, if you know the rules and how to implement them properly, you are going to achieve predictable and advantageous results," says Cutner.

Needless to say, elderly and disabled clients, along with their families, are enthusiastic about legal representation that affords reliability, in what are often fragile circumstances.

Some people know their calling from an early age. David Cutner always knew he'd be a lawyer, and was attracted to the challenge of the law for as long as he can remember. It's interesting to observe the diverse paths of those with a mission in life sometimes travel. As time passes, it becomes clear how all of the varied elements and experiences contribute to an ultimate purpose. In David's case, both professional and personal experience led to his founding one of New York City's top Elder Law firms.

Starting his career at a prominent Wall Street firm in 1970, he began honing the deft and meticulous legal skills he's known for. After several years in private practice, he received an appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan. In this position, he refined the high-powered litigation acumen that would later serve him well when he started his own firm. In addition, it gave him critical insights on working with government bureaucracies, something his Elder Law clientele benefits from today.

Then in 1984, he opened the doors of Cutner & Associates, serving a business and commercial clientele. Although his practice was humming along successfully, unfortunately David was soon involved with helping his family deal with the very same problems he assists clients with today.

His mother, then in her 70's, began to suffer a long decline . . . physically, mentally and emotionally. David and his sister spent many years negotiating a continuing series of hurdles involving hospitals, home care personnel, and nursing facilities. Ultimately, he was forced to confront the Medicaid maze as well.

Professionally speaking, the eventual end result was a change of heart regarding his priorities: he decided to devote his considerable legal talents to protecting the elderly and disabled. "The whole situation with my mother made me realize that good professional legal work on behalf of the elderly was needed," he says. With partner Carole Lamson, he founded Lamson & Cutner, which represents senior citizens and disabled individuals exclusively.

All of his previous experience has paid off for Cutner's Elder Law clients. David knows when and how to fight for a client when business, commercial, or real estate interests affect health and medical care planning. In one instance, for example, a major bank sold a client an annuity that was totally inappropriate for the client’s financial situation. Under the terms of the annuity contract, the client could not withdraw his funds for several years without a significant penalty. David contacted the bank and demanded that the client's money be returned immediately, without any withdrawal penalty. The bank promptly complied, and didn’t raise a dispute.

David discusses the firm's methods and many success stories in a Special Report called “25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs.” It has received praise from grateful clients and professionals alike, for being an exceedingly clear and easily understandable explanation of Elder Law techniques. It consolidates years of experience accumulated by L & C's partners and staff lawyers, gained from counseling thousands of clients.

David is proud of the consistent track record of success that is the firm's hallmark. "I want our clients to receive the health and medical care they need, and to preserve their money and property so they can continue to live with dignity and in comfort.  At the same time, we want to create effective estate plans for them.  Those are our goals," he says. He attributes Lamson & Cutner's outstanding accomplishments both to the firm's approach, and to the first-class professionals it employs. “We have a great team,” David says, “it would be hard to duplicate their skill and dedication to getting the best results for our clients."

After attending U.C.L.A., David earned his law degree from the University of Southern California, graduating with honors. One of the ten top students in his class, he was a member of the esteemed Order of the Coif and was on the Board of Editors of the school's Law Review.

David is selected by Martindale-Avvo and American Lawyer Media as a "Top Rated Lawyer for Estate Planning, Family Law, Elder Law." Also, under the Martindale-Avvo Peer Review Ratings System, for more than 30 years David has received the top, AV Preeminent, rating given to attorneys who are ranked at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards by their peers.

David loves the outdoors, and particularly enjoys sailing and skiing. He and his family spend much of their leisure time on their sailboat, which is named in memory of his mother. David is also an accomplished pianist, speaks French fluently, and enjoys reading novels and biographies. He lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York.

Caitlyn W. McStay

Caitlyn joined Lamson & Cutner in 2011. Previously, she worked with SKIP of New York, a respected New York City non-profit organization providing Medicaid advocacy for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis on transitioning clients from nursing homes into the community. She also has experience in appellate litigation, making her a skilled writer and passionate advocate for her clients every step of the way.

Caitlyn is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, and is a member of the Elder Law and Special Needs section of the New York State Bar Association.

Caitlyn was selected as a New York Metro area Rising Star in 2017, 2018 2019, 2020 and 2021 by Super Lawyers, the distinguished rating service of outstanding lawyers.  Rising Stars are lawyers under 40 years old who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state are named to the Rising Stars list.  Caitlyn was also included in the 2017 Super Lawyers list of Top Woman Attorneys in the New York Metro area.

Caitlyn graduated with honors from Syracuse University College of Law, where she received a Dean’s Merit Scholarship. Prior to attending law school, Caitlyn received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ithaca College, majoring in Psychology and Politics. While at the College of Law, Caitlyn received a graduation award for her commitment to public interest and pro bono initiatives. It was because of this commitment to public service that Caitlyn discovered her passion for elder law. She served as a volunteer with the Cancer Legal Advocacy Services Project, where she assisted in long term care planning for clients with terminal illnesses. Caitlyn went on to work as a Student Attorney in the Office of Clinical Legal Education’s Elder Law Clinic. Through these positions, she gained experience working with clients in crisis situations, advising clients on planning options, and providing compassionate representation for individuals and families.

In her free time, Caitlyn enjoys being outdoors and loves running and biking. She is also an avid reader, particularly of classic literature.

Julia L. Santo

Julia's passion for Elder Law runs deep.  Julia began her career working with the aging population a decade ago at the Babylon Beach House, an assisted living residence on Long Island.  The deep personal connections Julia forged with the residents during her time there helped her realize that her calling in life was to become an advocate for the aging population.  She credits her time at the Beach House with molding her into the devoted, kind, and compassionate attorney she is today.

Julia is admitted to practice law in the State of New York. She is a member of the New York City Bar Association as well as the New York State Bar Association. An active New York State Bar Association member, Julia is currently serving as the Vice Co-Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section. She is also a member of the Medicaid Committee within the Elder Law and Special Needs Section.

Julia graduated cum laude from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development.  Julia then received her Juris Doctor from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.  During her time at Hofstra, she served as the Head Research Editor for the American College of Trust and Estates Law Journal, a high-level academic journal for practitioners of trusts and estates law.

Julia often gives presentations on Elder Law and estate planning topics. She has presented to senior groups, including for PSS (Presbyterian Senior Services), for the Westchester County Senior Law Day Collaborative, and for numerous assisted living residences in New York City and Westchester County. She has also given Continuing Education courses to Social Workers.

When out of the office, Julia enjoys serving her community, including helping to fundraise for and participate in several Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease events.  Julia is lover of all animals and is always eager to share photos with clients and colleagues of her handsome dog, Harry, and her two cats, Ella and Franklin.

Todd M. Hirsch

Todd is an attorney with a deep passion for estate planning and elder law. He particularly enjoys working with clients to ensure their assets are protected and their legacies secured.

Todd has spent much of his career working in the non-profit sector, most recently as the Director of Programs and Partnerships at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Todd has also served as Vice President of Philanthropy and Associate Counsel for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit that provides housing for injured veterans, Gold Star families, and Fallen First Responder families. In his role as Associate Counsel, Todd represented the Foundation on a wide array of legal and compliance issues that affect non-profit organizations, including tax law, planned giving, and real estate transactions.

Todd has also worked as an associate attorney with Rodenhausen Chale & Polidoro, a law firm that specializes in municipal law and non-profit compliance.

Todd graduated cum laude from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Todd then received his joint Juris Doctorate and LL.M. in Taxation from the Boston University School of Law.

Todd has a strong interest in American history and historic preservation. When out of the office, you can usually find Todd exploring a museum or historic home. He also enjoys opera, classical music, and theater. Todd has a personal goal of reading a biography about every US President and visiting every state capitol building.