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 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 by David Helbraun, who has over thirty years in the restaurant business including being a former owner of a Manhattan based cafe chain called Pyramid Coffee Company. 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 in New York.  It is the mission of our firm to provide unparalleled legal and licensing services to the hospitality industry.  

Our Team

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, 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 the NYC Food & Beverage Hospitality Council, an alliance of over 30 NYC industry professionals and businesses. David 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 work force. David 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 for the firm. 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. He 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. Joseph proudly serves on the Executive Board of the New York State Restaurant Association, the Board of The American Institute of Food and Wine and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.

Lee N. Jacobs

Lee N. Jacobs

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. In addition to counseling his clients with respect to their business and litigation needs, Lee has vast experience in representing business and individuals at every phase of federal and state prosecutions and governmental investigations. 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. He 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 Fine

Andrew Fine

Chair - Corporate Group andrew.fine@helbraunlevey.com

Andrew Fine is the Chair of the firm’s Corporate Law Group. He handles general corporate matters for clients ranging from first-time entrepreneurs to successful multi-unit operators. Andrew’s practice spans a broad range of transactions, including operating and shareholders agreements, food and beverage management agreements, equity purchase agreements, investor agreements, employment and contractor agreements, sweat equity agreements, among others.

Andrew received his undergraduate degree in Law & Policy and Philosophy from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, and graduated cum laude 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 exploring his home borough of Brooklyn in search of new restaurants. He is also a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Hospitality Law Committee.

Andrew is admitted to practice law in New York.

 

Mayan Bouskila

Mayan Bouskila

Chair - Real Estate Group mayan@helbraunlevey.com

Mayan is the Chair of the firm’s Real Estate practice group. Mayan’s practice focuses on asset purchase and sale agreements, stock purchase agreements, membership interest purchase agreements, due diligence during investment transactions and commercial leasing. She has advised clients on various real estate transactions from investment phase to close. Mayan received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2012. She also received a Master of Commerce (specializing in business law and finance) from University of Sydney, Sydney in 2016. Prior to joining Helbraun Levey, Mayan developed a broad background in real estate. She represented clients in all aspects of the real estate life cycle including acquisitions and sales (commercial, industrial and retail), real estate development projects, joint ventures, commercial and industrial leasing and project funding. Mayan is admitted to practice in New York and New South Wales, Australia.

Andrew Cohen

Andrew Cohen

Associate Attorney - Real Estate Group andrew.cohen@helbraunlevey.com

Andrew is an Associate Attorney in our Real Estate Group, where he is primarily responsible for counseling our 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 Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College and his Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School. He is admitted to practice law in the State of 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.

Maya Petrocelli

Maya Petrocelli

Chair - Litigation Group maya@helbraunlevey.com

Maya Petrocelli is Chair of the firm’s Litigation Group. Maya is an experienced commercial litigator who has represented clients across a variety of industries, including hospitality, real estate, and fashion.  Her practice focuses on both simple and complex litigation matters that arise from business disputes and commercial transactions.  These matters include breach of contract cases, partnership disputes, construction defect claims, commercial real estate matters, insurance coverage issues, and Article 78 proceedings. Maya has lectured on various topics involving litigation including Article 78 proceedings and RPTL §421-a tax exemption issues.  She was selected as a “Rising Star” by New York Super Lawyers in 2018 and 2019.  Maya also volunteers her time serving on the Board of Trustees for the International Charter School located in Brooklyn.

Joe Taylor

Joe Taylor

Associate Attorney - Litigation Practice Group joe.taylor@helbraunlevey.com

Joe is an associate attorney in 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.

Mitchell Littman

Mitchell Littman

Of Counsel

Mitchell brings decades of sophisticated corporate law experience to Helbraun Levey serving as “of counsel” to the firm. He is a founding partner of Littman Krooks LLP and heads its corporate and securities department. Throughout his career, Mitchell has represented clients in hundreds of private and public securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate transactions. He provides a wide range of services to the hospitality industry, including equity and debt financings, joint venture, management and licensing deals, mergers and acquisitions, and, public market exits. Mitchell is a member of the New York City Bar Association Hospitality Committee and the New York County Lawyers Association Committees on SEC and Corporations. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, teaching corporate law courses.

Megan Shaw

Megan Shaw

Megan is a law clerk with the Litigation and Employment Groups. Since starting at the firm in the summer of 2016, she has been responsible for drafting pleadings and various trial documents, as well as helping to develop the firm’s Employment Compliance Review. Megan is thrilled to have the opportunity to work so closely with passionate clients in the hospitality industry since she grew up waiting tables in her family’s restaurants in Texas. Megan is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, where she served as the President of the Moot Court Honor Society and contributed as an Articles Editor for the Brooklyn Law Review. Megan graduated from Washington & Lee University in 2013, and received a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication and Psychology.

Alanna Morgan

Alanna Morgan

Of Counsel

Alanna expands the expertise of bankruptcy law at Helbraun Levey, serving as “of counsel” at the firm while continuing as an associate at Morgan & Bley, Ltd., a top boutique law firm focusing on bankruptcy and other areas of commercial law. Representing both debtors and creditors in liquidations and reorganizations throughout her legal career, Alanna has staunchly advocated for debtors up to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bankruptcy can be an effective tool to protect, save, and reorganize a business. Her “of counsel” role allows Alanna to understand the business fundamentals of a Helbraun Levey client at an early stage and to allow for a smooth transition to either a liquidation bankruptcy or reorganization process should the need arise.

Alanna takes a hands-on approach both in and outside bankruptcy and other courts to guiding her wide range of clients, which over the years have included restaurants, grocery stores, a large commercial bakery, and many other types of businesses, and she is always strategizing creative solutions to help a business survive until its owners can make it thrive.

Jason Foscolo

Jason Foscolo

Of Counsel

Jason serves as the Principal of The Food Law Firm and serves as “Of Counsel” to Helbraun Levey. Jason’s practice covers labeling for food, farm lease agreements, private label agreements and co-packing agreements.

With Jason joining the team, we continue to expand our firm’s reach to further aspects of the food and beverage industries.

Dana Lapan

Dana Lapan

Director of Operations dana@helbraunlevey.com

Dana has worked in all facets of the New York restaurant industry. Prior to joining the firm, she worked at AvroKO Hospitality Group and then as a hospitality consultant where she formulated Department of Health plans, worked with clients on all stages of a restaurant opening from construction and build-out, compliance and permitting, to staff hiring and training. She has also executed restaurant pop-ups and food festivals throughout the country. Additionally, Dana has set up back-office systems, improved restaurant operations, and consulted on marketing and branding practices for a variety of restaurant concepts and products. Here at the firm, Dana heads new business development, special projects, marketing, and office operations.

A University of Arizona and Institute of Culinary Education graduate and an avid diner, Dana can be found at any number of restaurants throughout the city, because when she’s not working in the industry, she’s living it.

Heather Kirk

Heather Kirk

Director of Licensing heather@helbraunlevey.com

Heather is a Director of Licensing at Helbraun Levey. Heather began her career at the firm as the receptionist and is now an integral member of the licensing team. Heather is responsible for liquor license renewal applications, sidewalk cafe applications, department of health applications, and other license applications. Here at the firm, Heather works with clients through 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.

Jake Trissler

Jake Trissler

Licensing Clerk jake@helbraunlevey.com

Jake joined Helbraun Levey in 2018 as part of the licensing group. Here as a Licensing Clerk at the firm, Jake is responsible for working closely with the Permitting Unit at the New York State Liquor Authority, helping to secure permits for events big and small within the State. Jake also helps the firm with its carbon footprint, working to make the firm even more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Outside of the office, Jake 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.

Alexa Santory

Alexa Santory

Licensing Clerk alexa@helbraunlevey.com

Alexa joined the team in 2019 as a receptionist after 5 years in the hospitality industry. She graduated with honors from Brooklyn college and is a published writer focusing on beauty, mental health, womanhood, and culture.

Today, Alexa is a Licensing Clerk helping the firms Licensing Department with liquor license renewals, sidewalk cafe applications, and Department of Health applications, among others.

A New Yorker through and through, she loves to spend her free time exploring her city, trying new restaurants, practicing yoga, reading, and watching cooking videos on YouTube.

Allison Brand

Allison Brand

Billing Supervisor allison@helbraunlevey.com

Allison is the Billing Supervisor at Helbraun Levey. She joined the firm as the receptionist before she designed her current position and transitioned to billing. Allison is responsible for preparing retainer agreements, sending invoices, managing accounts receivables, and coordinating out-of-office events. When Allison is not working, she enjoys biking around the city and eating dumplings and desserts along the way.