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"I like helping people. I’ve always been this way. I’m Always trying to make things better, to correct a situation."
Mike Cefalo likes cars, and he owns several, including a red Ferrari. The Ferrari isn’t his everyday car, of course, but he does take it for an occasional spin. One day he was in the Ferrari and stopped at a traffic light when four young men in a Jeep pulled alongside. “Hey, mister,” the driver yelled, “cool car.”
“Thanks,” Mike answered. Then, sensing an opportunity, he added, “You know, kids, it’s not that hard to get a car like this. I’m kind of an old guy and I’ve been around a long time earning a pay check. That’s all it takes to get one of these. The trick is to stay alive long enough. So, you guys should really think about wearing your seat belts.”
The next sound Mike heard was: click, click, click, click. They all buckled up.
That’s vintage Mike Cefalo. He’s spent his whole life trying to make things better and he will never pass up an opportunity to do so.
“I like helping people,” he says. “I’ve always been this way. I’m always trying to make things better, to correct a situation.”
Sometimes, he admits, it makes those around him uncomfortable. “My wife can get upset with me, especially when I walk up to a perfect stranger who just lit a cigarette and ask him when he’s going to stop smoking. These things are no good for you, I’ll tell him. I don’t see it as butting in. I see it as trying to help somebody."
Helping people is not just merely a hobby for Mike Cefalo. It is his profession as well.
He calls his law practice "Cefalo and Associates, The People’s Law Firm, and we like it that way."
“It’s not a slogan,” Mike says proudly, “It’s a philosophy. We will only represent people, not corporations, hospitals or insurance companies, just people. That’s what we enjoy doing.”
Mike Cefalo became an attorney 40 years ago, his interest in people goes back to the day he was born. “I owe that to my mother and father. My Mom and Dad spent their lives helping others. I get a thrill out of doing what they did, and I feel fortunate because I’m in a much better position to do it.”
Mike is proud to take care of people from his home town. While he studied law and spent some of his professional life in Washington, D.C., his practice has always been in Northeastern Pennsylvania. “I grew up 500 yards from where my office is,” he says.
Mike Cefalo is one of the only 25 lawyers in America certified as both a civil and criminal trial specialist. He does however stress that those kinds of credentials are not what his law practice is all about. “I have outstanding people working with me. Brilliant attorneys; But I didn’t hire them because I was impressed with their degrees and certifications. We don’t hire diplomas here, we hire people.”
What Mike demands from the attorneys on his staff is the same thing he demands from himself every single day; their best shot. That’s what Mike gives, whether at work or at play.
Mike golfs, skis, does ballroom dancing, and races sports cars. He is devoted to his family (wife Bette, of 47 years, three children, Christina, Michael Jr., Marc, and his grandchildren, Anthony, Mary and Michael) and to his God. Mike attends Mass every morning, and that is usually after rising at 4:30 a.m. and working out at the YMCA with Betty, or doing yoga at home.
At 70, he shows no signs of slowing up. Just the opposite, in fact.
“I have always said, if you can find a guy who can out-work and out-think me, I want to meet him.”
That’s as true today as it’s ever been.