Frederick J. Magovern graduated from Fordham Law School over 40 years ago and has specialized in family law ever since. At that time, the law was failing those most in need of protection – dependent and neglected children. Most were being warehoused in orphanages with little chance of reuniting with their absent or dysfunctional parents. Even those fortunate enough to live in loving foster homes rarely enjoyed the permanency of adoption. Ever since he has spent his career litigating to make it possible for these children to be adopted by their foster parents and defending these adoptive families once formed.
When he started his own practice in 1979, he had the good fortune to work with an extremely accomplished and well-respected trial attorney who recently died, Louis J. Martine. In the colorful language he often invoked, he told Fred, “Fred, anyone can try a case – it’s the lawyer who works the hardest who will prevail.” Fred has never forgotten those words, nor has he ever lost a case for lack of effort. He always works harder than his opponent to master the facts of the case and the relevant law. His record of success both at trial and on appeal reflects this work ethic. This intensity comes naturally having shouldered the enormous responsibility of representing families in such high-stakes cases. Nothing is more important to him or his partner Mary Jane than protecting a child’s emotional health and future well-being. They confront daily the enormous tragedy of neglected kids and enjoy the privilege of playing a part in new loving families come together. He is proud to know this will be his legacy along with the ways he has helped improve adoption law in the State of New York.