Dennis P. Cleary
"Client engagements involve more than just getting the ‘job’ done properly. People appreciate being able to understand the issues and follow the process taken to meet their objective. That requires a very personal type of practice."
Dennis joined Duke Holzman in 2001, along with Gary Kanaley and Robert Bencini, after the dissolution of their previous firm, Falk & Siemer. With almost forty years of experience practicing law and an extensive background in accounting and taxation, Dennis possesses an understanding of tax law that is rivaled by few. Additionally, he is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York.
Dennis’ expertise is the result of a rich blend of scholarly study and real-world practice. With a B.S. in Business Administration, a M.S. in Accounting, a J.D. and a LL.M. in Taxation, Dennis has a unique ability to digest vast amounts of accounting data and simplify complicated areas of the law, empowering his clients with an understanding of the relevant issues and the opportunity to make truly informed decisions. Ensuring that clients have the appropriate level of information to navigate the challenges they are faced with is at the core of his practice.
Dennis focuses his practice on: taxation; trusts, estates and estate planning; trust and estate litigation; and general business and corporate law. He provides counsel to clients in planning situations, offering a coherent plan to accomplish their objectives, and he helps those faced with the consequences of life-changing and major events move forward as smoothly as possible. His experience further includes:
- Successfully challenging and defending estate and trust accountings from inception to finish in Surrogate’s Court
- Successfully resolving disputes among beneficiaries and settling protracted estate proceedings
- Representing business owners with the sale of businesses and designing a plan of wealth transfer to successive generations
- Modification of trust agreements to take into account changing circumstances
Dennis participates in a number of organizations, including the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association and Bar Association of Erie County, as well as the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He frequently gives presentations on estate and financial matters through the Erie Institute of Law and the New York State Bar Association, and he is a former instructor at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management’s Graduate Tax Certificate Program. Dennis also serves as a Court Examiner of guardianship accounts for the New York State Appellate Division.
Dennis was named one of Business First’s Legal Elite honorees in 2014-2016 and 2018-2020, and was also selected to the 2011 – 2023 Upstate New York Super Lawyers list.
American Bar Association; New York State Bar Association and Bar Association of Erie County; New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Estate Analysts of Western New York
New York; United States Tax Court
Syracuse University, J.D. and M.S.
New York University, LL.M., Taxation
State University of New York at Fredonia, B.S.