At a Glance
William F. Savino is a Partner in the Litigation Department of Woods Oviatt Gilman, LLP, a regional law firm with offices in Rochester and Buffalo, New York. His practice focuses on matters involving business litigation (including construction, corporate and partnership dissolution, accounting malpractice, and Uniform Commercial Code matters) and insolvency (both debtor and creditor) with an emphasis on reorganizations. In April 2021, Mr. Savino was selected as a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America (CLSA), an invitation only international honorary association composed of preeminent lawyers who focus their practices on construction law and related fields.
Mr. Savino graduated cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 1975. While in law school, the Buffalo Law Review published a casebook review he authored titled Copyright, Patent, Trademark and Related State Doctrines: Cases and Materials by Paul Goldstein. In the 1980s, Mr. Savino served his first term as a member of the directors of the School's Law Alumni Association.
In May of 2019 Mr. Savino was named the recipient of the Ken Joyce Excellence in Teaching Award by the University at Buffalo School of Law. This award is given to a member of the adjunct faculty for excellent teaching and longstanding service to the School of Law. Mr. Savino has taught an experiential class there on commercial litigation since 2001. In May of 2014, Mr. Savino, a former President of University at Buffalo School of Law national Law Alumni Association and a longtime member of the School's Dean's Advisory Council, was honored as a Distinguished Alumni for Business at the 52nd annual Law School alumni dinner. In February, 2023, Mr. Savino is receiving the Law School's highest honor, the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award.
Since 1979, Mr. Savino has taught business law annually in the University at Buffalo School of Management, including several years for its Executive MBA program. Together with two other professors in the School, he was published in 2021 by the Journal of Accountancy. For five years, Mr. Savino was co-author of the commercial law update for the Law Review at the Syracuse University School of Law. Together with fellow Buffalo graduate Brian D. Gwitt, Mr. Savino has also been published by the West UCC Bulletin. Also with Mr. Gwitt, Mr. Savino has presented the annual Civil Practice Law and Rules update for the Bar Association of Erie County since 2016.
Mr. Savino repeatedly earned the designation as a Top 10 Upstate New York Attorney and was ranked third in 2013 by Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. Savino has also been often selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Litigation Construction, Litigation - Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. Mr. Savino has been named in the Best Lawyers' 2018 Buffalo Litigation - Construction "Lawyer of the Year" and was named Best Lawyers' 2020 and 2021 Buffalo Litigation - Bankruptcy "Lawyer of the Year." Additionally, he has been listed as one of Business First of Buffalo's Who's Who in Law" List for the past eight years. He has also been named a Legal Elite in Western New York for several years.
Mr. Savino has been a semi-professional jazz bassist since high school (even performing annually at Lawyers for the Arts) and has long served on the boards of The Northwest Jazz Festival, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (corporate board), and, more recently, the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame.
Mr. Savino was named to the "Legal Elite of Western New York 2020" by Buffalo Business First. He has repeatedly earned the designation as a Top 10 Upstate New York Attorney and was ranked third in 2013 by Super Lawyers magazine. He was named as one of the Top 50 Upstate New York Attorneys in 2015. Mr. Savino has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Construction, Litigation - Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. Mr. Savino has been named Lawyer of the Year for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law in 2021 by "Best Lawyers in America." Additionally, he has been listed as one of Business First of Buffalo's Who's Who in Law" List for the past seven years. Mr Savino is ranked in Chambers annually.
Mr. Savino has appeared in numerous articles relating to his practice.
State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, J.D., cum laude
University of Rochester, B.A., High Honors
Mr. Savino is admitted to practice in the States of New York and Ohio, the United States District Court for the Western, Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Eleventh Circuits.
Key Representative Matters
- Represents a large New York City real estate developer who frequently purchases troubled loans and then litigates to obtain occupancy and clear title. Mr. Savino has appeared for DelShah in Manhattan trial, appellate and bankruptcy courts on matters involving tens of millions of dollars. http://therealdeal.com/blog/2012/08/08/battle-intensifies-over-meatpacking-building-with-28m-in-debt/
- Mediated the termination of the Chief Executive Officer by the Board of Directors of the publicly traded biotechnology company he founded. The mediation was conducted over months in conjunction with dual lawsuits and resulted in a mutually acceptable resolution. As a result, the Company will pay its former CEO certain severance payments and engage him as a consultant and he resigned as Chairman and member of its Board of Directors. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/201511090055...
- Represented a nursing home in an arbitration hearing that resulted in a $2.5 million award. On examination, New York State officials admitted failing to enter the needed information in to the Social Services Department computer systems by a stipulated deadline so the nursing home owner was able to recover payment from his Medicaid challenge. http://buffalonews.com/1997/10/24/state-slip-up-nets-man-2-5-million
- Has repeatedly been appointed by New York State Supreme Court justices as receiver over fraudsters to recover assets for victims of their fraud. As a court-appointed Receiver for an attorney who built a mansion with millions stolen from his own clients, Mr. Savino cleared title on the residence of the convicted lawyer and sold it to defensive end Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills, to obtain a windfall for the injured parties. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=8085231
- Represented a general contractor against its surety in Federal District Court on claims that the insurance carrier wrongfully canceled a multi-million dollar bond program for the builder. Years of litigation resulted in a settlement before the damage portion of the trial providing a $4.6 million recovery for the client. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-22969133.html
- Engaged by Erie County to appear in the bankruptcy proceeding of Adelphia to prevent the Buffalo Sabres from leaving the region. Served as spokesperson to ESPN and other media on the need of the courts to delay any move, as had been done with the Pittsburgh Penguins. http://a.espncdn.com/nhl/news/2003/0129/1500938.html
- Represents a bankruptcy trustee on his lawsuit to reverse roughly $50 million in wrongful transfers to Norwegian bondholders, implemented by breaches of duties by American directors and officers. Recoveries from the directors and officers coverage will be for the benefit of the New York creditors of this defunct fracking company. http://www.law360.com/energy/articles/470424/norse-energy-siphoned-off-50m-to-other-units-creditors-say
- With Partner Brian Gwitt, successfully defended a seller of construction products at both the Illinois trial and appellate courts, defeating the plaintiff buyer in a Uniform Commercial Code "battle of the forms". http://caselaw.findlaw.com/il-court-of-appeals/1442128.html
- While still an associate at his first private practice law firm, successfully argued to the United States Second Circuit regarding technical issues of application of the Uniform Commercial Code to lien perfection against a 50 foot ocean going yacht in Florida. The decision of the appellate court was so significant that it appeared on the cover of the New York Law Journal. http://openjurist.org/717/f2d/25/payment-plans-inc-v-p-strell-r
- For each year from 2004-2008, Mr. Savino was co-author for the Commercial Law Section of the Syracuse Law Review's Annual Survey of New York Law. Sample citations to Savino’s five Commercial Law Updates are listed below:
- Erie County Bar Association, Former Member Board of Directors
- Member of the Dean's Advisory Council at the University at Buffalo's School of Law
- Member of the Corporate Council for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
- Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America
- Current Counsel and Former Member of Board of Governors and Treasurer of Park Country Club
- The American Bankruptcy Institute
- Turnaround Management Association
- The Buffalo Club