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.

Helbraun Levey Firm

Our Approach

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.

Founding Partners

David Helbraun

David Helbraun

Founding Partner & Chairman david@helbraunlevey.com

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 Levey

Joseph Levey

Founding Partner joseph@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Employment Group

Lee N. Jacobs

Lee N. Jacobs

Managing Partner | Chair, Employment Practices Group lee@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Chloë Brownstein

Chloë Brownstein

Associate Attorney, Employment Practices Group chloe.brownstein@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Claudia Santaly

Claudia Santaly

Employee Relations Specialist, Employment Practices Group claudia.santory@helbraunlevey.com

Claudia is an Employee Relations Specialist 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.

Real Estate Group

Christopher Miskolczi

Christopher Miskolczi

Associate Attorney, Real Estate Group christopher.miskolczi@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Jared Wiesel

Jared Wiesel

Associate Attorney, Real Estate Group jared.wiesel@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Raluca Tomniuc

Raluca Tomniuc

Associate Attorney, Sales and Acquisitions Group raluca.tomniuc@helbraunlevey.com

Raluca is an associate attorney in the firm’s Sales and Acquisitions Group and her practice is concentrated in assets purchase agreements and commercial leases.

Prior to joining the firm, Raluca worked for more than 6 years in several law firms in New York and gained solid experience advising multinational clients on investment mechanisms, mergers and acquisitions and commercial leasing transactions across a variety of industry groups.

Raluca graduated from Fordham University School of Law where she earned a Master of Laws in Corporate, Banking and Finance. She is admitted to practice law in New York.

Outside of work, Raluca is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending her time traveling, hiking and ice skating.

Corporate Group

Andrew Fine

Andrew Fine

Partner | Chair, Corporate Group andrew.fine@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Winfield Glascock

Winfield Glascock

Senior Associate Attorney, Corporate Group winfield.glascock@helbraunlevey.com

Winfield is a senior associate attorney in the firm’s corporate group. He counsels clients on a broad range of transactional matters, including entity formations, financing and corporate structuring transactions, negotiations and operational agreements.

Winfield received his J.D. from the University of Sydney and B.A. in History and International Comparative Politics from George Mason University. Prior to joining the firm, Winfield was Of-Counsel at a full-service boutique law firm, where he represented start-up, small and medium sized companies in technology, real estate, shipping and commercial operations. He is admitted to practice law in New York and New South Wales, Australia. During his free time, Winfield enjoys traveling the world and learning everything he can about societies and cultures, while also sampling haute cuisine and other local specialties.

Sarah Siegel

Sarah Siegel

Senior Associate Attorney, Corporate Group sarah.siegel@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Trademark Group

Hamutal Lieberman

Hamutal Lieberman

Partner | Chair, Trademark Group hamutal.lieberman@helbraunlevey.com

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, monetization, 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, also the Chair of the Litigation Group, is experienced in litigation involving trademark and copyright infringement as well as commercial and business disputes. She is experienced in all pre-trial, trial, mediation, 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 loves trying out New York’s latest hot spots and is on a never-ending journey to discover New York City’s best cappuccino.

Litigation Group

Hamutal Lieberman

Hamutal Lieberman

Partner | Chair, Litigation Group hamutal.lieberman@helbraunlevey.com

Hamutal is the Chair of the Litigation Group. She brings a creative and strategic approach when evaluating claims brought on behalf of our clients or against our clients in order to achieve the outcome most in line with our clients’ objectives. Hamutal’s cross-disciplinary training and experience sets her apart from other litigators.

Hamutal is experienced in litigation involving commercial and business disputes, partnership and business divorce, real estate matters, employment disputes, and intellectual property matters. Hamutal is experienced in all pre-trial, trial, mediation, 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 loves trying out New York’s latest hot spots and is on a never-ending journey to discover New York City’s best cappuccino.

Eric Dawson

Eric Dawson

Senior Associate Attorney, Litigation Group eric.dawson@helbraunlevey.com

Eric is a Senior Associate attorney in the Litigation Group. He comes to the firm with a decade of litigation experience, representing clients in all manner of commercial disputes—including employment, contract, and business control cases in both the state and federal courts. His additional background in transactional and governance matters also informs his representation of clients in their litigation.

Eric is admitted in New York and Massachusetts, as well as the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of New York and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Eric received his J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law where he served as an editor of the Fordham International Law Journal. He also received an LL.M. in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He received his B.A. from SUNY College at Geneseo in Spanish, French, and Adolescent Education where he studied in Paris and Montpellier, France and Salamanca, Spain.

When not representing his clients, Eric enjoys travel, hiking, and sailing the New York Harbor and beyond, all while seeking out the best restaurants New York City has to offer.

Franchising Group

Harold L. Kestenbaum

Harold L. Kestenbaum

Of counsel, Franchising Group hkestenbaum@spadealaw.com

Harold L. Kestenbaum is a franchise attorney who has been focused on franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. He has served as a franchise attorney to numerous regional, national, and international franchise companies across multiple industries, and he joined Spadea Lignana in 2019. Harold is a member of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section, the Antitrust Section’s Forum Committee on Franchising, and the Subcommittee on Franchising of the American Bar Association’s Corporation Banking and Business Law Section. He is a founding member and past Chairman of the New York State Bar Association’s Franchise, Distribution and Licensing Law Section, and he currently serves as Chairman for its Education and Seminar Subcommittee and was a member of the International Franchise Association’s Supplier Forum Advisory Board. He has won numerous awards, including being named among the top 100 franchise lawyers in North America by Franchise Times and being named one of the three best franchise lawyers in the New York metro area by New York Magazine. He was a board member of Sbarro for 22 years, he wrote a book on how to franchise your business called, “So You Want to Franchise Your Business” and he was the founder and CEO of a publicly traded franchise consulting company.

Harold is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and representing companies that want to expand their business model via franchising. Outside of franchising, he spends much of his time with his five grandsons, which gives him the proper perspective on what life is all about.

Licensing Group

Heather Kirk

Heather Kirk

Director of Licensing heather@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Matthew Colton

Matthew Colton

Associate Attorney, Licensing Group matthew.colton@helbraunlevey.com

Matt is an associate attorney in the firm’s Licensing Group. He assists clients throughout the licensing process, from helping to file new applications, to advocating on their behalf at Community Board and State Liquor Authority meetings.

Prior to joining the firm, Matt worked in the Corporate Group at a major real estate and technology company, where he advised clients on a wide range of issues including expansion, strategic partnerships, and marketing initiatives. Matt received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and holds a B.S. in Finance from Tulane University in New Orleans. He is admitted to practice law in New York.

The son of Irish immigrants, Matt grew up on Long Island where his family was heavily involved in the hospitality and liquor industries. Now a long-time resident of Brooklyn, he makes it a point to stay as informed as possible on the industry that he loves. Matt always feels at home around great food, great drinks, and great music, which naturally means he makes a trip back to New Orleans any chance he gets.

Jake Trissler

Jake Trissler

Licensing Clerk jake@helbraunlevey.com

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 Santory

Alexa Santory

Licensing Clerk alexa@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Adrianna Golovatii

Adrianna Golovatii

Adrianna is the newest addition to the firm’s licensing team. She has recently transitioned from making all your favorite drinks to helping you obtain your liquor license. Adrianna graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology with honors in Art History and Museum Professions. She spends her free time painting, listening to music and exploring her favorite NYC museums.

Alexandra Schneider

Alexandra Schneider

Licensing & Communications Assistant alexandra.schneider@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Cara Onofrietti

Cara Onofrietti

Licensing & Communications Assistant cara.onofrietti@helbraunlevey.com

Administration

Bethany Rice

Bethany Rice

Director of Administration bethany.rice@helbraunlevey.com

Bethany Rice is the Director of Administration. She is a seasoned legal administrator with 17 years of legal administrative experience.

Prior to joining the firm, Bethany spent five years in mid-town in the operations department at a larger, general practice firm, handing financials and other administrative duties. Prior to that, she worked in several small firms located in the financial district and is thrilled to be back in the financial district.

Prior to landing in legal administration, Bethany held a variety of positions, including hotel front desk and reservations as well as a Broadway costume shop. When she is not working, you can find her at home with her spouse and cats, knitting and crocheting her way through her yarn stash, seeking out gluten free restaurants, or cheering on the NY Rangers.

Alex Randrup

Alex Randrup

Client Relations Manager alex.randrup@helbraunlevey.com

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.

Sally Mahadeo

Sally Mahadeo

Billing Supervisor sally.mahadeo@helbraunlevey.com
Semita Chowdhury

Semita Chowdhury

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.

Interns

Sydney Blumstein

Sydney Blumstein

Sydney is a Licensing Law Clerk. She works primarily in our Licensing Department assisting clients with their Liquor License Applications. She is also in her second year of law school at New York Law School. She is a member of New York Law School’s Media, Entertainment, and Fashion Law club and the Cannabis Law organization. Prior to law school, Sydney studied International Affairs at Florida State University.

Sydney has many years working in the hospitality industry as a server and hostess. When not working, Sydney can be found on her couch with a glass of wine watching scary movies.

Caitlin Hillebrand

Caitlin Hillebrand

Caitlin is a Law Clerk in the firm’s Employment Practices and Litigation groups. Under the guidance of HL attorneys, she assists with matters including employee handbooks, industry compliance, and civil lawsuits. Caitlin is currently a 2024 J.D. candidate at New York Law School. Prior, she obtained a dual B.A. in International Relations and Anthropology from Syracuse University and remains a devoted Orange fan. After law school, Caitlin plans to be admitted to practice in NY.

A Queens native, Caitlin enjoys spending time with friends and family at some of the best restaurants and bars across the boroughs. Outside of the firm and school, Caitlin can be found exploring the city’s parks, coffee shops, and thrift stores, skimming through a NY Times bestseller or crossword, and watching Sunday Giants football alongside her dad.