By SHIRLEY WITHERSPPON
Formed in 1930, the Roseland, New Jersey-based law firm, Mandelbaum Salsburg, is steeped with history. An approximate 80 lawyer group, the almost century old operation has deep experiences and relationships in nearly every legal practice area and in courts in every county throughout the state. With a Park Avenue office, the Mandelbaum firm has considerable New York city presence, as well. Known for both fierce litigation and transactional barristers, the firm has multiple retired judges in its ranks, as well as some of the most highly regarded attorneys over several different fields of law. And now it has something new, Kenneth Del Vecchio – a tour de force of a human being.
Empire State News wrote this of Del Vecchio, in a June, 2016 feature about him:
In a 1996 article profiling a then 27-year-old Ken Del Vecchio’s unique Renaissance Man accomplishments, the Passaic County, New Jersey newspaper Herald News proclaimed that the young man had the “Midas Touch.” He can “turn anything into gold”, the newspaper reported, in writing about Del Vecchio’s successes as a published author, a prolific weightlifting champ, and being one of the youngest attorneys in New Jersey history to win a felony jury trial. Twenty years later, nothing has changed, except that Del Vecchio has now written/produced about 30 major movies, authored some of the United States’ best-selling criminal law books (in addition to multiple novels), and he turned that winning seminal case into trying over 400 cases and handling in the neighborhood of 20,000 others as a criminal defense attorney and prosecutor. He also, at one point, served as a New Jersey judge.
Del Vecchio, still baby-faced at 47, is in a torrid race to be the earth’s modern-day Renaissance Man. As part of that self-imposed competition, he founded one of the world’s top film festivals, Hoboken International Film Festival. Del Vecchio’s movies have been released through giants the likes of Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, and E-One Entertainment. His books are published by top houses such as Pearson Education, Prentice Hall, and ALM.
And in a November, 2016 article, Empire State News had this to say about Del Vecchio:
If all of his professional accomplishments aren’t enough, Del Vecchio has won over 50 bench press competitions, at his best lifting 450 pounds while weighing just 175 pounds.
But Empire State News has just joined a long line of major media who have covered Del Vecchio and his accomplishments over the last 20 years. Some notables include the following highlighted feature articles and television appearances: The Daily Beast, FOX, CBS, CNN, NBC, “The Colbert Report”, Radar Online, The New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, who wrote “As usual, Mr. Del Vecchio was larger than life.”
Legendary actor Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas; Nixon) called Del Vecchio “an extraordinary man.” Two-time Academy Award nominee Charles Durning (Tootsie; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) exclaimed that “Kenneth Del Vecchio would make a great president!” Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (The Expendables; The Pope of Greenwich Village) stated that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is the only judge I ever agreed with in personal conversation. He’s got some great views about freedom and liberty…and he’s a little bit nuts!” TV star Joyce DeWitt (”Three’s Company”) declared that Del Vecchio has “a vision and concept based on excellence and integrity.” Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia (Scarface; Big) said of Del Vecchio: “The man is honest. Hard-working. Talented. And oh so intelligent.” And U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer – yes, the top dog Democrat from New York – proclaimed, “Del Vecchio is a man you can see, with the movies he is involved with, with the friends he has, he has a great mind and he also has a big heart.”
The last line of Kenneth Del Vecchio’s first novel, the best-seller Pride & Loyalty, is “You can’t be loyal to everyone at once because then you’re loyal to no one at all.” Del Vecchio said, “That’s the definition of loyalty. You can’t be everyone’s best friend. Loyalty is the most important – and best – word in my dictionary.”
And what’s the worst? “Jealousy,” Del Vecchio said, “I don’t understand the concept of jealousy. It’s for insecure losers. I’m happy for others’ successes. And I hope for people to be happy for mine. People, out of weakness, often contrive battles with other people. Oddly, it’s rarely those who have big egos; it’s actually the people with no ego, with no confidence. I can figure out a jealous person pretty quickly, and I cut them out immediately. Jealousy usually goes hand-in-hand with disloyalty.”
Del Vecchio isn’t one to mince words. And it seems those people of confidence like that, even in politics – and apparently on both sides of the aisle. In addition to the praise lauded upon him by one of the country’s leading Democrats (Sen. Chuck Schumer), Del Vecchio has been a part of the president’s team.
Just last year, in New York’s 18th congressional district, in adding to his list of Renaissance Man accomplishments, Del Vecchio ran for Congress. Originally, there were seven GOP candidates in the mix, but Del Vecchio muscled the field down to just two: him and the establishment’s choice (an aide to a local county executive). Del Vecchio ultimately lost the primary, but won in over 50% of the district (his home Orange County), winning some towns with as much as 75% of the vote.
But here’s the most notable component of his Congress campaign:
Ken Del Vecchio was the first Congress candidate in the country to endorse Donald Trump for president. And this is where Del Vecchio’s all-important loyalty really came into play. While local establishment leaders, early in the campaign, repeatedly offered to ensure Del Vecchio the party line if he backed off his support of Trump, Del Vecchio flatly told them all, “No.” Instead of acceding to the party bosses’ wishes, he accepted the role of serving as the District 18 and Orange County Chairman of the New York Trump presidential campaign.
From there, Del Vecchio was a relentless beast in support of Trump’s candidacy. He personally went door-to-door to over 1,000 households in his congressional district. He appeared on Fox News Channel to herald Trump, and did substantial local media interviews in Trump’s support.
Del Vecchio’s efforts paid off. Trump received 70% of the vote in Orange County and more than 67% of the overall vote in District 18 in the New York presidential primary. Del Vecchio’s inexorable stumping for Trump helped lead District 18 to being one of the top five Trump winningest congressional districts in the state (and it had the highest vote total of those top five districts).
When Del Vecchio shifts from his entertainment and political ventures to the practice of law, he stands tall as an attorney with sparkling gifts of oration and writing – and one who veraciously defends his clients. Although he has proclaimed criminal defense as his greatest passion, he can be a terminator-of-a-prosecutor when he is troubled by an injustice of power abuse. Earlier this year, he litigated one of New York’s most high profile cases, when he prosecuted the civil impeachment of Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme. In a rare circumstance for a lawyer (because cameras generally are not allowed in courtrooms), Del Vecchio’s closing argument was filmed by the media. Although the opposing lawyer was a formidable foe, Del Vecchio’s skills are simply in a different league, and his adversary was heavily over-matched. Perhaps what Del Vecchio does best – in both writing and speaking – is that he takes very convoluted, complicated material and makes it easy to understand, so that everyone “gets it.”
As a matter of disclosure, Del Vecchio has served as an analyst in many articles for Empire State News. At times, some at Empire State News are in agreement with him, but some are in disagreement with him (much the same as other news outlets where he has served as an analyst). Any which way, his Renaissance Man accomplishments and intellectual ability to understand and acknowledge two sides (and many gray areas) of issues warrants respect.
And now Kenneth Del Vecchio is part of this prestigious law firm, Mandelbaum Salsburg. Undoubtedly, this firm has gained a profoundly talented lawyer, who has all sorts of exciting relationships. And what has Del Vecchio gained? According to him, a lot.
“I’ve come on board as chairman of the firm’s entertainment law department, which I’m very enthusiastic about because I have an outstanding support base at Mandelbaum. Just like in my movie productions and film festival where I am surrounded by starpower actors and entertainment leaders, I am surrounded by star attorneys at this firm. It’s an intangible that is of substantial import. That’s reason number one why I joined,” Del Vecchio said.
“I can give some specifics. Vince Nuzzi is at Mandelbaum. He’s one of the top criminal lawyers to ever come out of New Jersey. As a young lawyer, I snuck into the back of courtrooms to watch the best of the best. Vince Nuzzi and Miles Feinstein were the two who impressed me the most, and had a significant impact on me. I learned a lot observing Vince. Having a criminal lawyer of his caliber at Mandelbaum means a lot to me,” said Del Vecchio, thinking of his other primary practice area, criminal defense.
Del Vecchio never has a problem complimenting others. “Why should I?” he questioned. “Only jealous people can’t express the greatness of others.”
“The two managing partners of the firm, each a powerhouse with different, remarkable backgrounds, held substantial sway in my decision to accept their offer,” Del Vecchio added, in speaking about Barry Mandelbaum and William Barrett. “I wanted to be part of their firm. I’m flattered that they were interested in having me join.”
“And one super skilled and impressive, younger lawyer led me to Mandelbaum Salsburg in the first place. Mohammed Nabulsi,” Del Vecchio declared, speaking about one of the firm’s newer lawyers, who specializes in healthcare law. “Mo burst onto the legal scene about a dozen years ago, and has mounted a practice with a degree of success that 99% of attorneys will never attain. He’s got it all. Superior intelligence. A wealth of commonsense. Great writing skills. Tremendous strength and tenacity. And an outstanding personality. If you’re a doctor, a pharmacist, a large medical organization, a huge hospital, or any person or entity in the healthcare profession, you definitely want Mo as your lawyer.”
And it’s fair to say that if you’re in trouble with the criminal side of law, you definitely want Del Vecchio as your lawyer. Put a large check mark next to him as well, if you’re in need of an entertainment law attorney. Because what other attorney has that high level of experience in both legal practice and entertainment productions?
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