FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Frederick J. Magovern

Frederick J. Magovern

Magovern & Sclafani

Mineola, NY, USA


I graduated from Fordham Law School over 40 years ago and have specialized in family law ever since. At that time, the law was failing those most in need of protection – dependent and neglected children. Most were being warehoused in orphanages with little chance of reuniting with their absent or dysfunctional parents. Even those fortunate enough to live in loving foster homes rarely enjoyed the permanency of adoption. Ever since I have spent my career litigating to make it possible for these children to be adopted by their foster parents and defending these adoptive families once formed.

When I started my own practice in 1979, I had the good fortune to work with an extremely accomplished and well-respected trial attorney who recently died, Louis J. Martine. In the colorful language he often invoked, he told me, “Fred, anyone can try a case – it’s the lawyer who works the hardest who will prevail.” I have never forgotten those words, nor have I ever lost a case for lack of effort. I always work harder than my opponent to master the facts of the case and the relevant law. My record of success both at trial and on appeal reflects this work ethic. This intensity comes naturally having shouldered the enormous responsibility of representing families in such high-stakes cases. Nothing is more important to me or my partner Mary Jane than protecting a child’s emotional health and future well-being. We confront daily the enormous tragedy of neglected kids and enjoy the privilege of playing a part in new loving families come together. I’m proud to know this will be my legacy along with the ways I have helped improve adoption law in the State of New York.


  • Manhattan College, B.A. – 1968
  • Fordham University, J.D. – 1971
  • Admitted to the New York State Bar – 1972
  • Admitted to practice before the US District Court, Southern & Eastern Districts of NY – 1973
  • Admitted to practice before the US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit – 1973
  • Admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court – 1981
  • Admitted to the Florida State Bar – 1986

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