Bill Ferro has seen it all. As a criminal defense attorney, he has dealt with a myriad of high-profile criminal cases, civil rights, civil rights violations and cases of police brutality. His time in this world opened his eyes to the best and the worst parts of society. Most importantly, he believes that the law exists to protect the rights of all.
In 1989 he founded what is today Ferro, Kuba, Mangano, PC and built a respected and successful law firm. He also knows a segment of our population that really needs someone to give them a voice, help them through the complicated legal process, and make sure they have the same rights, representation and education as all citizens. Seeing the growth of Spanish speaking communities in our region made it clear that there was a huge void to be filled. In 2014, Ferro established a full-service branch of the law firm FKM, specifically for the Spanish-speaking immigrant community. This brand is the Liga De Justicia.
âThe truth is, many immigrants are afraid to go to a lawyer or law enforcement,â Ferro says. âThey have been told for too many years that they do not have the same rights to safety or protection as others, and that is simply not true.
In response, the firm opened its first community legal center in Brentwood and later, a location in Jackson Heights, Queens. The company recently opened a location in Riverhead at 180 Old Country Road, the same plaza that houses the easternmost DMV office.
There are plenty of success stories in La Liga De Justicia’s history – one of which was a high-profile case that combined racial profiling, harassment and even lethal force on three Hispanic men.
âThere was a theft from a Taco Bell in Huntington Station, and three Hispanic men fled the crime scene on foot. My clients, three men, were driving home from work, âsays Ferro. “They were stopped by an overzealous Suffolk policeman, shouted at them, were accosted, and then the policeman shot into the car, seriously injuring one of the men.”
After the incident, the men went to a “prestigious law firm,” Ferro said, but were told they would have to settle for a paltry $ 250,000.
“It was scandalous, given the gravity and discrimination of this case,” notes Ferro. âOur firm took over the case, prepared it for a trial in federal court and the case was settled at jury selection for $ 1.5 million. It was the right decision, and we were proud to have obtained justice and compensation for them. “
As La Liga De Justicia legal practice developed, Ferro knew more needed to be done to help the immigrant community. So, last year, it launched two Spanish-speaking Internet radio stations that serve Long Island and New York.
âWe wanted to reach as many people as possible, provide trustworthy education and guidance to our listeners,â says Ferro.
The stations continue to gain popularity and have become well known. But when COVID-19 hit the world, it was clear that more needed to be done to help the Spanish-speaking community understand the pandemic, what help was out there and, most importantly, how to stay safe.
âWe had to answer the most basic questions, so we decided to enrich our media platform and continue our mission to be the trusted voice of this community,â he explains.
The firm created Liga Media Group, launched a magazine, Nuestra Imagenes, with the first issue solely dedicated to providing COVID information and education. The magazine builds a new bridge with elected officials, who could use the forum to communicate with their Spanish-speaking voters.
The entire Liga Media Group team, both on the radio side and on the magazine side, is Spanish-speaking. Additionally, a large portion of the law firm’s staff are also Spanish speaking, which Ferro believed was essential to their success.
The company has visited communities and provided thousands of masks, gloves and other PPE needed throughout the pandemic. When the vaccination program started, La Liga De Justicia organized a vaccination campaign at its Brentwood site.
âThese elements have helped solidify our position as trusted and committed members of the Latin American community,â said Ferro. âWe have a great relationship with community leaders and regularly provide legal advice, representation and assistance to those in need. “
Ferro’s downtime typically happens in the East End, a place he and his family have loved for decades.
âFor 25 years we have vacationed in Montauk with our friends,â says Ferro. âOur kids grew up going there, spending the day at the beach, going to the Bake Shoppe in the morning and having an ice cream in the evening.â
When COVID started shutting down the world, Ferro and his family retreated to a house in Sag Harbor, where they spend their time enjoying the beautiful Hamptons.
âSome of the best things about Sag Harbor are the simpler things. Like sitting at night watching another incredible sunset over Long Island, âFerro shares. âThe house brings my family together, which is the most important thing we have. “
Estia’s Little Kitchen is at the top of the list when it comes to their favorite Sag Harbor locations. But their favorite may be Cromer’s Market. âIt’s like our headquarters. We love their food, we shop there, it’s an institution.
Ferro says that despite the many changes that have taken place in the East End, one of the best things is that people still support local businesses in the area.
âWe buy our bread locally, our eggs, our cheese, whatever we can,â he notes. âEvery weekend, we’re at the farmers market, buying great food and helping small local businesses thrive. “
Even during the most serene moments, watching the sky turn red as the sun falls below the horizon, Ferro thinks about the people La Liga De Justicia represents and wants to do more.
“Everyone wants to be safe, to be healthy, to have some degree of calm and dignity in their life, and La Liga De Justicia is there for them,” he adds.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate editor of Dan’s papers.