by Mike Sharkey
For the past nearly 18 years, Harry Shorstein has been tossing the bad guys in jail and managing a “public” law firm with hundreds of attorneys and support staff as State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit. A year ago, Shorstein opted to not seek another term and the result was an intriguing race between his top assistant, Jay Plotkin, and former employee, Angela Corey — a race Corey ultimately won.
Shorstein’s decision a year ago also created a personal dilemma — what next? — one he said last week he has “anguished” over for some time. While he was courted by large firms, Shorstein has decided to join his son Paul and Jeremy Lasnetski in a three-man firm on St. Augustine Road. His last day as State Attorney is Jan. 5 and the next day he’ll join the firm, answering phones and drumming up business.
“We’ll do mostly criminal defense, personal injury, family law and general litigation,” said Paul Shorstein, who was an attorney in Atlanta before spending a little over three years with Pajcic & Pajcic.
Paul Shorstein started the firm June 1 and Lasnetski joined July 7 after several years with the State Attorney’s Office. Both said working for the government is a great job for a young attorney, but there is one major drawback.
“The government, as whole, doesn’t pay a whole lot of money,” said Paul Shorstein.
Harry Shorstein said he briefly pondered simply retiring, then a couple of things struck him.
“One, the stock market and two, I joke about this, but it’s not so much of a joke. I don’t golf, I don’t fish and I don’t hunt,” he said. “I don’t know what I’d do.”
Paul Shorstein and Lasnetski know what he can do — get to work. The young firm is the beneficiary of Paul Shorstein’s and Lasnetski’s youth and Harry Shorstein’s name and experience, but it’s still a newcomer to the local legal community and those seeking counsel. Harry Shorstein is adamantly opposed to any kind of overt advertising, so the firm will rely heavily on name recognition and referrals.
“This is a major transition back to what I have always done,” said Harry Shorstein. “At the State Attorney’s Office so much of your work is administrative, the budget and dealing with Tallahassee. The truth is, over the years I have been so busy I have been less able to try cases. It’s been over two years since I have tried a jury trial.”
Paul Shorstein said the idea of working with his father surfaced about three years ago. He was still in Atlanta and his dad was just beginning to talk about foregoing another term.
“When I decided not to run, we started talking about it in more detail,” said Harry Shorstein. “The question was, did it make more sense to go with a big firm?”
The decision will enable Harry Shorstein to get back to the roots of his trade — practicing law — rather than running an office. He says Paul Shorstein and Lasnetski are the bosses. They say he brings invaluable experience to the firm.
“He’s done way more than what we’ve done and he has a lot of experience. He has faced issues and cases we have not had to deal with. He has represented doctors in front of administrative review boards,” said Paul Shorstein.
“He’s been involved in a little of everything,” said Lasnetski. “He brings tremendous experience and huge value to the firm.”