If you don’t change with the times, you could get left behind.
That could help explain how Angiuli & Gentile LLP has stayed in business for over 30 years and is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.
“We call ourselves a full-service law firm. What we’ve done over the years is we have adjusted and adapted to whatever changes were happening in the legal field. We modified our operations plan,” said founding partner Annamarie Gulino Gentile.
“Earlier on, I did litigation, personal injury litigation, and other forms of litigation. But a number of years ago, the world of personal injury has really changed a lot,” she said. “So, what do you do? What we decided to do was develop different practice areas. So now what I handle — which is elder law and estate planning — is something we developed after we started our business. That was not an initial part of what we did.”
While the focus of the law firm’s cases is adjusted, one major visual change is the agency’s move in October to a brand new, state-of-the-art headquarters at 1493 Hylan Blvd. in Dongan Hills. The business previously maintained its headquarters at 60 Bay St. in St. George.
“We’ve gone out of our way as a firm to build the most high-tech law firm possible,” said founding partner Gary Angiuli, who added his firm will become “paper-lite” plus offer DocuSign, video conferencing, and advanced file keeping able to send copies of anything at a moment’s notice.
“I think this is the user experience of an expectation of a new group of consumers in America. If you don’t respond to that, you’ll find yourself not relevant,” he said.
“Some years ago, we got the idea to build our own building because we’re not gaining any equity in all the rent we’ve been paying for all these 30 years we’ve been in business. We said, ‘Hey. Let’s invest in ourselves.’ That’s why we embarked on building that new building,” said Gulino Gentile. “Because we do plan on staying around we have realized that we have to make changes along the way. We’re flexible in making those changes. And some of the changes deal with the work that we do, and I guess another of those changes has to do with where we work from.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is how the partners understand the importance of the Chamber.
“My family’s business — which was a car dealership — was a member of the Chamber of Commerce before I opened the law firm. I sort of grew up knowing that you needed to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce,” said Angiuli. “My dad was a big believer in it. He was around at the time where commerce on Staten Island was really starting to take shape in the ‘70s and ‘80s in a different way than previously before.
“We had been to Chamber of Commerce functions so this was sort of a continuation for me when I opened my own business. It really wasn’t a question as to whether I would join the Chamber of Commerce. It was more of a given because I knew it was vital to the economy of Staten Island,” he said. “Not to mention all the people I’ve met through the years and the contacts and the business that we’ve done.”
Gulino Gentile also shares a unique perspective about the Chamber since she served as Chairwoman during 2015 and 2016 and is currently Chairwoman of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
“For me, becoming active helped me realize all the benefits of the Chamber membership and all the Chamber does for businesses and the community on Staten Island,” she said. “One thing I tell people is the Chamber is really a liaison, if you will, between business and the residents. We understand that we have different roles here on Staten Island and being involved in the Chamber allowed me to see how those things are put into work.”