emotional contention between parents
and district officials.
“There’s a constant tension between
what children need and what a school
district is willing to pay for, but Howard’s
skills as a litigator have allowed him
to successfully advocate despite these
challenges,” says Martha Stone, executive
director and founder of the Center for
Children’s Advocacy. “As a result, he’s
garnered immense respect from both
the advocacy community as well as local
Susan Freedman has sat across the
negotiating table from Klebanoff on many
occasions. As a partner at the Hartford
office of Shipman & Goodwin, Freedman
often represents school districts in special
“Howard always comes to the table with
a great deal of trust from both sides of
the discussion,” says Freedman. “He has
a very calming demeanor and he always
tries to see if he can resolve a case before
resorting to a formal hearing. That’s
important because it helps to preserve the
relationship between the school and the
parents moving forward. And that is not an
TODAY, A T AGE 77, KLEBANOFF HAS BEEN
retired once, but returned to his practice a
few years later, after the attorney he sold
his practice to closed the firm. “I couldn’t
stand the thought that some of these
people were now unemployed,” he says.
“My wife started laughing and said she
knew I wasn’t ready for retirement.”
Klebanoff rehired many of his old
employees, using his home as an office
and seeing clients in his old office building.
“What I thought would be part-time work
has been much, much more than part
time,” he says.
He is also actively involved in the
University of Connecticut’s Klebanoff
Institute of Special Education, which was
created in 1978 to provide training and
research in the area of special education
and disability services, and to bring parents
and educators together.
While Klebanoff says he’s extremely
proud of the legacy he hopes to leave
behind, it’s the “emotionally rewarding
moments” that are most gratifying.
One of those moments came several
years ago, when Klebanoff’s secretary
came into his office and said there was a
young woman outside who wanted to see
him. When Klebanoff stepped into the
office lobby, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Four years prior, as a freshman in
high school, the young woman had been
expelled for engaging in “inappropriate
behavior” with members of the school’s
football team. Suffering from severe
depression and alienated from her
family, she became hooked on drugs
and eventually resorted to prostitution
to support her habit. Less than a year
after her expulsion, she was arrested. Her
parents, desperate to find some way to
help their daughter, hired Klebanoff.
Through negotiations with the state
prosecutor, Klebanoff was able to get
the charges dropped. He also helped the
teen enroll in individual therapy as well as
family counseling that eventually restored
her relationship with her parents. Klebanoff
knew there was no way she could return to
her original high school, so he negotiated
with the district and got it to pay for her to
attend a different public school.
Now she was standing in his office.
“I wanted you to be the first person
to see this,” she said, handing him an
acceptance letter from an Ivy League
university. They hugged. The tears, says
Klebanoff, “were substantial.”
“Many years ago I realized that mine
was not a money-making practice, but I
also discovered that there is an emotional
satisfaction to this area of law that money
can never buy,” says Klebanoff. “You are
not only helping children get the programs
and services they deserve, but you are
potentially changing someone’s life
Lawrence G. Cetrulo
SELEC TED TO
For more than thirty years, the attorneys at
CETRULO LLP have set the standard for exceptional
representation in complex civil trial matters. Our firm
serves as lead counsel, coordinating counsel and
insurance coverage counsel in complex, high stakes,
multi-jurisdictional litigation. With forty attorneys and
offices in Boston, New Haven, Providence and New
York, CETRULO LLP is fully equipped to handle
complex civil litigation and business matters.
In short, CETRULO LLP has achieved its success
because of our dedication to our clients’ needs.
We recognize the competitive landscape in
which businesses operate, particularly with
respect to results and budget, and we are
resolved to respect clients’ cost concerns
without compromising the high quality of
representation our clients demand and deserve.
The firm congratulates its attorneys selected to
2014 Massachusetts Super Lawyers*: Lawrence
G. Cetrulo†, Stephen T. Armato†, Annette M.
Boelhouwer†, Rory FitzPatrick†, Susan A. Jackson†,
Richard B. Kirby†, Francis M. Lynch, and to
2014 Massachusetts Rising Stars**: Bryan M.
Abramoske, Jesse G. Ainlay, Kyle E. Bjornlund,
Michael J. Cahalane, Ryan F. Kenny, Adam C.
Martin, Edward P. Ryan III and Jason M. Saul.
(†Also listed in 2014 Super Lawyers Business Edition)
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Two Seaport Lane, Boston, MA 02210 617.217.5500 www.cetllp.com
FRON T RO W FROM (L TO R): Matthew C. Oleyer, Stephen T. Armato*,
Susan A. Jackson*, Lawrence G. Cetrulo*, Richard B. Kirby*,
Annette M. Boelhouwer*, Michael J. Cahalane**, Kaitlin S. Moroney
SECOND ROW: Francis M. Lynch*, Rory FitzPatrick*
THIRD ROW: Jesse G. Ainlay**, Kyle E. Bjornlund**, Jason M. Saul**, Adam C. Martin**
LAST ROW: Edward P. Ryan III**, Ryan F. Kenny**, Bryan M. Abramoske**