New York’s Premier Attorneys & Specialists for Hospitality-Related Legal Services
Helbraun Levey is the premier law firm in New York City for bars, restaurants, hotels, chefs, developers and all food and beverage outlets. We represent first time entrepreneurs, multi-unit operators, hotel F&B management groups, general managers, chefs, developers and all other industry folks. There are many law firms that dabble in the hospitality industry, but none of them have our experience or our commitment to New York City’s hospitality professionals.
The firm was founded in 2005 by David Helbraun, who has over thirty years of experience in the restaurant industry. He was a bartender for many years and owned Pyramid Coffee Company in Manhattan before starting the firm. Helbraun Levey takes the customer service lessons David learned from working in the hospitality industry and applies them to our practice. Our firm’s hallmark traits include warm, responsive customer service, in-depth industry knowledge and a welcoming firm culture. We also understand the fast pace of the industry so we return phone calls and emails promptly, complete our work quickly and effectively, and we are always available to advise our clients on all aspects of operating a bar, restaurant or hotel in New York. It is the mission of our firm to provide unparalleled legal and licensing services to the hospitality industry.
David Helbraun is the Founding Partner and Chairman of the firm. Prior to founding the firm in 2005, David opened and owned Pyramid Coffee Company, a multi-unit coffee bar/cafe company based in Manhattan. He is a lifelong entrepreneur who has been running successful businesses in New York City for years.
David recently served as the Chair of the Hospitality Law Committee of the NYC Bar Association, an industry group comprised of over 40 of New York City’s top hospitality attorneys who regularly comment on the laws and regulations affecting the industry. He is also a board member of ROAR and has proudly served as a founding board member of Drive Change, a non-profit organization that trains formerly incarcerated young people in hospitality as a way to reintegrate them to the workforce. David is an avid Deadhead and jazz listener and also a hopeless Mets fan. He is admitted to practice in New York.
Joseph is a Founding Partner of the firm and oversees all New York State Liquor Authority and other licensing matters. Joseph’s primary area of expertise is New York State Alcohol Beverage Control Law and he has extensive experience practicing before the New York State Liquor Authority with regard to various licensing and disciplinary matters.
Joseph regularly attends local Community Board meetings on behalf of the firm’s clients and has developed a stellar reputation as a well-prepared and knowledgeable advocate. He proudly serves on the Executive Board of the New York State Restaurant Association, the Board of The American Institute of Food and Wine and he is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
Lee N. Jacobs
Lee is the Chair of the firm’s Employment Practices Group. He is a seasoned trial attorney and litigator representing a wide variety of individual and corporate clients in complex matters in both state and federal court. Lee has spent his career helping individuals and businesses navigate the difficult waters of employment, business and personal litigation.
Lee also takes special care to teach and mentor younger attorneys and is a full Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. He teaches an advanced course focusing on trial advocacy, evidence, and procedure. He also serves as a faculty advisor to the school’s Moot Court Honor Society’s Trial Advocacy Division and regularly coaches, students and teams to local, regional, and national championships.
Lee has been designated a New York Super Lawyer Rising Star every year from 2012 to present. Lee received a B.A. and M.S. from the George Washington University and his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. He is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, and the District of New Jersey.
Andrew is the Chair of the firm’s Corporate Group. He is an experienced deal-maker for clients ranging from first-time entrepreneurs to global hospitality groups, counseling clients on matters including corporate formation and structuring, private placement of capital, equity transfers and sweat equity arrangements, food and beverage management agreements, vendor agreements, among others. He has developed a reputation for being a savvy negotiator, helping clients achieve the results they deserve.
Andrew earned his B.A. in Law & Policy and Philosophy from Dickinson College and received his J.D. with honors from Brooklyn Law School. While in law school, Andrew served as Executive Notes & Comments Editor of the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Commercial, and Financial Law, and competed as a national team member of the Moot Court Honor Society’s Trial Division.
Outside the firm, Andrew is an avid distance runner, and enjoys working up an appetite before enjoying NYC’s rich culinary scene.
Andrew is admitted to practice law in New York.
Mayan Bouskila is the Chair of the Real Estate Group of Helbraun Levey. Mayan has deep legal and business acumen, and is known for her strategic solutioning skills while advising clients. Her practice focuses on commercial leasing, restructuring deals, joint ventures, acquisitions, dispositions, equity purchase agreements, management agreements and due diligence.
Since joining the firm, Mayan has provided trusted and effective counsel for a wide range of clients including restauranters, operators, investors and international luxury hospitality groups on a broad range of real estate and adjacent transactions. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm’s Real Estate Group stepped in to support numerous clients, big and small, and implemented various innovative deals and strategies including “lease resets” to keep New York City’s restaurant industry afloat during this unprecedented time.
Prior to joining the firm, Mayan practiced law in Sydney, Australia at leading international law firms, where she managed and executed complex real estate capital transactions including acquisition and disposal of commercial office buildings, industrial estates, retail centers, infrastructure and corporate deals, primarily for national and international listed property trusts, real estate funds, private equity groups, investment banks, international investors, high net worth family offices and major property developers. Mayan received a LLB from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2012, and a Master of Commerce (specializing in business law and finance) from University of Sydney in 2016.
Mayan is admitted to practice law in New York and New South Wales, Australia.
As a native of Sydney as well as deep roots in both Israel and Morocco, Mayan is inspired by the power hospitality and food have in bringing together people of all walks of life around the dining table. The opportunity to support restauranteurs as they reach for their dreams is particularly rewarding to her. When Mayan isn’t working, you can find her meandering the streets of SoHo, dining at her clients’ restaurants or sipping a macchiato with her favorite book.
Hamutal is the Chair of the Trademark Group. She regularly counsels clients on trademark matters including trademark searches, applications, and prosecutions. Hamutal also assists clients with brand strategy development, brand compliance, and maintaining brand consistency across multiple channels. Through these services, Hamutal helps companies and individuals launch, redevelop, or maintain their brand on strong legal footing.
In addition, Hamutal is experienced in litigation involving trademark and copyright infringement, commercial and business disputes, partnership and business divorce, real estate matters, employment disputes, and intellectual property matters, and is experienced in all pre-trial, trial, arbitration, and appellate proceedings across state, federal, and administrative forums.
Hamutal holds a J.D. from Pace University School of Law where she graduated cum laude. She obtained a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Fluent in Hebrew, she maintains close ties with Israel and visits frequently. Outside of work, Hamutal is a food fanatic (though not a critic) who is on a never-ending journey to discover New York City’s best cappuccino and restaurants.
Joe is the Chair of the firm’s Litigation Group. He is an experienced litigator and has represented clients in both state and federal court in a variety of civil actions, including disputes involving breach of contract, financial services, premises liability, and construction defects.
Joe received his B.A. from East Carolina University, where he double majored in History and Political Science, and graduated cum laude from New York Law School. During his time at New York Law School, he served as president of the Real Estate Law Students Association and competed in multiple alternate dispute resolution competitions, as well as the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition. Joe is licensed to practice in the State of New York and the District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Joe has a diverse hospitality background, having worked as a server, bartender, line cook, and bouncer. Outside of work, Joe enjoys cheering on his beloved Yankees, traveling, and exploring the diverse culinary talents at home in New York City.
Heather is the Director of Licensing at Helbraun Levey. Heather began her career at the firm as the receptionist and is now the integral leader of the Licensing Group. Heather is responsible for new liquor license applications, helping client’s vision become a reality.
Heather works with clients throughout every step of the liquor licensing process; from liaising with community boards, block associations and other residential organizations, to preparing applications for New York City Community Boards and the New York State Liquor Authority.
Heather spent over 6 years working in the hospitality industry, bartending and serving at some of the finest restaurants and bars in Charlotte, before relocating to New York City. She has a passion for both the culinary and pastry arts, and when she is not out exploring the city’s amazing food scene, she is at home creating delicious dishes of her own. Heather also enjoys traveling and being outdoors.
Dannielle Parker is the Director of Administration for the firm. Dannielle brings to the firm over 20 years of experience in human resources, employee relations and law firm management primarily working in small and medium-size law firms in the metropolitan New York area. Prior to joining the firm, Dannielle spent the last three and a half years working for a law firm handling their finance and administrative operations. Prior to that, she was a recruiter for an international recruiting firm. She is a seasoned professional whose goal is to help law firms attain a superior work environment for all employees.
Dannielle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Communications from Pace University and has previously worked in the hospitality industry for wine and spirits importers. When she is not working, she is sampling new local restaurants and travelling to Charlotte, NC to visit close family and friends.
Andrew is an associate attorney in the firm’s Real Estate Group, where he is primarily responsible for counseling clients through asset purchase agreements and commercial leasing transactions.
Prior to joining Helbraun Levey, Andrew spent the last five years running his own firm dedicated to serving the hospitality industry. In solo practice, Andrew did it all – from corporate matters and commercial real estate to liquor licensing and civil litigation – and he brings to the firm years of experience advising clients through many of the myriad legal challenges faced by food and beverage businesses. He may even try to help out in the kitchen!
Andrew earned his Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School and his Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College. He is admitted to practice law in New York, and before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
When he is not working, you can find him in his garden, a green market or grocery store and, if all else fails, his kitchen. He is an avid hockey player and a devoted father.
Chris is an associate attorney in the firm’s Real Estate Group. He advises clients on a wide range of real estate and transactional matters, including commercial leases, asset purchase and sale agreements, restructuring deals and ancillary real estate transactions.
Prior to joining the firm, Chris practiced in the Real Estate Group of a leading national law firm, where he advised landlords and tenants in connection with retail and office leasing matters nationwide. Chris received a Master of Science in Business Enterprise from Fordham University and a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Chris is admitted to practice law in New York.
Prior to pursuing a career in law, Chris held various retail and customer service positions. Chris is an amateur wine enthusiast and is currently seeking WSET Certification. Chris has lived in four of the five boroughs of New York City.
Sarah is an associate attorney in the firm’s corporate group. She counsels clients on a broad base of transactional matters, including entity formations, corporate governance, equity and debt financings, commercial transactions, and trademark protection and enforcement.
Sarah received her J.D. from New York Law School and B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from Lehigh University. Prior to joining the firm, Sarah was an associate attorney at a boutique transactional law firm where she represented start-up and emerging companies in the technology, creative, blockchain, and consumer product industries. She is admitted to practice law in New York.
During her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, completing the New York Times crossword puzzle, and finding the best slice of pizza by day and omakase sushi by night.
Jared is an associate attorney in the firm’s Real Estate Group. He works with clients on a variety of real estate and transactional matters, with a particular focus on commercial leasing.
Prior to joining the firm, Jared practiced in the commercial litigation department of a mid-sized law firm, where he represented commercial landlords, tenants, and not for profit entities in summary proceedings and negotiations of leases and licenses.
Jared earned his J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law and his B.A. in Political Science from Queens College. Jared is admitted to practice law in New York. Outside of work, Jared enjoys (sometimes) cheering on his beloved New York Mets, and exploring all of the great restaurants and experiences that New York City has to offer.
Michelle is an associate attorney in the Litigation Group. She is experienced in litigation and has represented clients in both state and federal courts, as well as in administrative forums in a variety of matters including intellectual property disputes, employment disputes, financial services litigation, and business disputes.
Michelle received her B.A. from Drew University and graduated from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, where she was the Managing Editor of Articles of the Hofstra Law Review, Volume 45. Michelle also interned with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during her time at Hofstra. She is admitted to practice in New York State, and the Eastern and Southern Districts Courts of New York. She is also a member of both the New York State and City Bar Associations.
Outside of work, Michelle is a food lover who likes to take advantage of dining in NYC’s (and NJ’s) incredible culinary scene. She also enjoys spending time with her dogs and being outdoors, and is a huge sports fan.
Riley is an associate attorney (pending admission to the NYS Bar) in the firm’s Licensing Group. He works with clients in all facets of the liquor licensing process and appears before the State Liquor Authority as well as Community Boards in New York City.
Riley received his B.S. from Fairfield University cum laude and attended the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University where he also graduated cum laude. During law school, Riley served as an associate editor of the Hofstra Law Review, and interned for the Honorable Paul A. Crotty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Riley has always been drawn to the hospitality industry and has worked in several bars, restaurants, night clubs, beverage distributors, and breweries. Growing up on Long Island, Riley’s two biggest passions are being on the water and enjoying a tasteful craft beer. When he isn’t enjoying those, you can find him snowboarding, playing guitar, or spending time with his beloved dog.
Chloë D. Brownstein is an Associate Attorney supporting the Employment Practices Group. She helps clients navigate the complicated world of regulation and compliance within the restaurant industry.
A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Chloë spent a decade in hospitality prior to joining Helbraun & Levey, where she held various roles: most notably as the Kitchen Manager at Del Posto Restaurant for seven years. Chloë has also been in state service, working for the New York State Office of the Attorney General under the Schneiderman and Underwood administrations. Chloë speaks passable German, lives in Brooklyn with her two pugs, and loves watching hockey. She attended Smith College, where she earned a BA in Comparative Literature. Chloe is admitted in New Jersey and her bar admission in NY is pending.
Angela is a Law Clerk in the Employment Litigation group. She assists with matters including employee handbooks, industry compliance and civil lawsuits. A student at Brooklyn Law School, Angela participates in the Moot Court Honor Society Trial Division. Before law school, she worked in public relations supporting local and national restaurants, as well as large hotel clients and consumer products.
Angela lives in New York City and loves trying new restaurants and cooking. She is also a runner and gives guided running tours through Central Park on weekends. She graduated with a dual degree in marketing and public relations from Syracuse University and remains a loyal Orange fan.
Jessica Weinstein arrived at Helbraun Levey with an array of Executive and Administrative experience across a variety of industry sectors, from domestic higher education institutions and small locally owned family businesses to global publicly held Fortune 500 companies and national nonprofit organizations.
Although non-linear, there was a common denominator in each career move: an innate curiosity to learn, apply, and synthesize new knowledge, processes, and techniques in order to ideate innovative methods. Jessica holds an M.A. in the Humanities from Salve Regina University and a B.S. in Biology from Providence College. She hails from Rhode Island, so if you can’t find her in NYC or at home in Fairfield, Connecticut – there’s a good chance Jess is on 95 North for a visit to the Ocean State.
Claudia is an Executive Assistant working for the Employment Practices Group. Prior to working with HL, she was working in a Workers’ Compensation law firm where she obtained a wealth of experience helping to represent the firm’s clients in their work-related cases. She also brings a background as a Human Resources Manager within the hospitality industry, for a growing restaurant chain with over 400 employees.
Claudia graduated with a B.A. in International Business and spent time abroad for her studies in Europe and Canada. While in business school, Claudia won awards for her public speaking skills as well for her entrepreneurial efforts.
She lives in Hoboken, NJ with her family, her mini-Australian Shepherd and her turtle. She’s an avid reader, has a mild obsession with true crime podcasts, and loves to workout.
Jake joined Helbraun Levey in 2018 as part of the firm’s Licensing Group. Working closely with the Director of the Licensing Group, Jake is responsible for new liquor license applications, as well as corporate change and alteration applications. He works with clients throughout every step of the liquor licensing process from liaising with community boards, block associations and other residential organizations, to preparing applications for New York City Community Boards and the New York State Liquor Authority. Jake also works closely with the Permitting Unit at the New York State Liquor Authority, helping to secure permits for events big and small throughout New York.
Jake moved to the city as a teenager and has been practicing yoga and Pilates for over 10 years. He also enjoys traveling, skiing, reading and eating all of the vegan desserts he can find. He finds a lot. Jake graduated with honors from conservatory in 2011, and again, with a secondary degree in Fine Art, in 2013.
Alexa joined the team in 2019 as a receptionist, after spending 5 years in the hospitality industry. Today, Alexa is a licensing clerk, working within the firm’s Licensing Group. Here, Alexa is responsible for liquor license renewals, sidewalk cafe applications, Department of Health applications and Department of State filings.
A born New Yorker, Alexa loves to spend her free time exploring her city, trying new restaurants, practicing yoga, reading, and watching cooking videos on YouTube. She graduated with honors from Brooklyn College and is a published writer focusing on beauty, mental health, womanhood, and culture.
Having previously worked in public finance law, Bella embraced her love of the hospitality industry and joined the Licensing team at Helbraun Levey. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Over the years, Bella has contributed administrative and operational support to both non-profit and financial institutions. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city, diving into a new book, or spending time with her much-loved cat.
Alexandra recently stepped into the newly formed position of Licensing and Communications Assistant after starting with the firm as the Receptionist in 2021. In this role, Alexandra supports the Licensing Group by elevating our client relationships and internal communications to ensure we are providing the best possible service for our clients. When she is not organizing and coordinating, you can find her spending time with friends and family, hanging with her cats, or trying out a new cookie recipe.
Allison is the Billing Supervisor at Helbraun Levey. After being a hairstylist for 10 years, she was ready for a change and wanted to be in the restaurant and hospitality field. Allison joined the firm in 2016 as the Receptionist and quickly took to the billing process for the firm as the Billing Supervisor. Allison sends out our monthly invoices, processes payments, and manages accounts receivables.
When Allison is not working, she enjoys baking and eating lots of sweets and spending time with her dog and her newborn son.
Alex joined the firm at the beginning of 2020 as the Receptionist, and in 2021 Alex became the firm’s first Client Relations Manager. Alex’s focus on the client experience and passion for collaboration and communication align beautifully with Helbraun Levey’s hospitality-centered mission, and she works with the rest of the firm to ensure our standards of excellence are met and exceeded every day.
Outside of the firm, Alex produces live art, hangs with their rescue pup in the beautiful parks of Inwood, and cooks unnecessarily complicated dishes.
Semita began her working career in the restaurant industry for many years before transitioning into administrative positions at different firms. Semita brings experience as a legal secretary to the firm, and is currently finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
Outside of the firm, Semita is always exploring and eating delicious ethnic food. She is a chocoholic and loves wine. When she is home, she enjoys cuddling and sharing ice cream with her cats Dexter and Barfi.