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attorney profiles
Tom Blair About Tom Blair

Mr. Blair is a founding partner of Cheney & Blair, LLP and concentrates his practice in real estate development, land use law, real estate, municipal law, contract law, commercial leasing, commercial lending, commercial litigation, business/corporate law and personal injury.

Prior to co-founding Cheney & Blair in 2006, Mr. Blair served as corporate "in-house'' counsel for Carrols Corporation, one of the largest restaurant companies in the United States. He oversaw a variety of commercial transactions, including 1031 exchanges and sale leasebacks, and was active in contract and easement drafting, commercial leasing, all phases of construction /development planning and execution, as well as the maintenance of franchise relationships in many of the company's 22 states of operation.

Between 2000 and 2005, Mr. Blair was associated with the Syracuse-based law firm Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC. He practiced in the firm's corporate/business law, banking law, real estate and litigation sections. He represented a varied client base which included banks, restaurant franchises, developers/builders, elder care facilities, municipalities, insurance companies, manufacturers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. As part of his litigation practice, Mr. Blair represented corporations, associations, municipalities, small businesses and individuals in both state and federal courts.

Mr. Blair graduated magna cum laude from the State University College of New York at Brockport (1994) and earned a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law (2000). Mr. Blair served as Sennett Town Justice (2001- 2006) and as acting Auburn City Court Judge (2003-2006). He has been active in many charitable organizations, and is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy. He is admitted to practice in New York State, and the Northern District of New York. He is a member of the Onondaga County, Cayuga County and New York State Bar Associations. He is also an active member of the New York Planning Federation and the New York State Association of Towns.

Contact Tom: tblair@fingerlakeslaw.com

Don Cheney About Donald Cheney

Mr. Cheney is a founding partner of Cheney & Blair, LLP and concentrates his practice in municipal law, land use law, wireless telecommunications, commercial/residential real estate, contract law, environmental law, commercial/residential lending, and business law.

Prior to co-founding Cheney & Blair in 2006, Mr. Cheney was associated with the law firm Phillips Lytle, LLP in Rochester, New York, where he practiced in the commercial real estate section and managed the residential real estate department. He also represented clients in front of planning and zoning boards, and provided counsel on land use matters.

In 2004/2005 Mr. Cheney served as zoning counsel for T-Mobile, USA's northeast headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey. He provided legal advice on zoning applications, and appeared in front of municipal boards in New York and New Jersey. He began his legal career as zoning counsel for American Tower Corporation where he represented telecommunications companies in front of planning and zoning boards throughout New York State.

Mr. Cheney graduated summa cum laude from Fitchburg College, Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1997, also earning a Certificate in Political Management from George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. In 2000, he graduated cum laude from the Syracuse University College of Law/Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, earning Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees.

Mr. Cheney is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy. He is an active member of the Monroe County, Ontario County and New York State Bar Associations, and is also a member of the New York Planning Federation and the New York State Association of Towns.

Contact Don: dcheney@fingerlakeslaw.com

David Benz About David Benz

Mr. Benz is Of Counsel to Cheney & Blair, LLP and runs the operations of their Geneva, New York office. He concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, personal injury litigation, debtor/creditor law, landlord/tenant law and real estate.

Prior to joining Cheney & Blair in 2013, Mr. Benz was associated with the law firm Fix Spindelman Brovitz & Goldman, P.C. in Rochester, New York. While there, he practiced in the firm's litigation department representing corporations, associations, small businesses and individuals in both state and federal courts.

In 1999, Mr. Benz served as an intern with the Honorable William G. Bauer, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of New York.

Mr. Benz graduated magna cum laude from St. Bonaventure University (1998) and earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Law (2001). He is admitted to practice in New York State, the Western District of New York and Northern District of New York. He is also a member of the Monroe County, Ontario County and New York State Bar Associations.

Mr. Benz is active in a number of community organizations, including serving on the Board of Trustees of the Phelps Community Memorial Library and as a Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout den leader.

Contact David: dbenz@fingerlakeslaw.com

  About George Smith II

Mr. Smith is Special Counsel to Cheney & Blair, LLP and concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate law, intellectual property, patent law, contracts, mergers and acquisitions and compliance as applied in the corporate business environment.

He is a well-seasoned patent attorney who has represented small to medium-sized businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies in all aspects of their legal affairs. He has led complex mergers and directed the legal departments of several technology-based corporations.

He joined Cheney & Blair, LLP in 2014 after having previously served as general counsel to Honeywell International, Inc. in Skaneateles Falls, New York from 2008-2014, during which time he served as the legal member of a 10-person leadership team that oversaw four key corporate acquisitions valued at over $2 Billion.

Prior to this, he served as Vice President and General Counsel to Hand Held Products, Inc. from 2000-2007. During this time frame he led the Intellectual Property Strategy and portfolio development at the company and filed for more than 40 patents and 200 invention disclosures annually. He also was a key participant in leading the company in gaining regulatory approval internationally, and prior to joining Honeywell, he guided the company into the merger arena, where it was eventually sold for $390 million at an attractive multiple of EBITDA. He was also previously associated with Hiscock and Barclay's Syracuse, New York office.

Mr. Smith is a 1990 Albany Law School graduate, earning a cum laude designation. He earned a B.S. in Physics from Saint Lawrence University prior to attending law school. He is active in charitable organizations and is admitted to the New York State Bar Association and the New York State Patent Bar.

Contact George: gsmith@fingerlakeslaw.com