The law firm Harris Beach LLP is pleased to announce that former Unite…

The law firm Harris Beach LLP is pleased to announce that former United States Congressman John J. LaFalce has joined the firm’s Buffalo office.

The Honorable John J. LaFalce will assist the firm with small business and financial services matters and project development and financing initiatives. Congressman LaFalce will utilize Harris Beach’s Buffalo location as his principal office, and will also work out of the firm’s New York City and Washington, D.C. offices. He joined Harris Beach effective June 1st.

“It is a genuine pleasure to have an individual with John’s reputation, experience and capabilities join our firm,” said Raymond J. Stapell, managing partner of Harris Beach’s Buffalo office. “His extensive banking and financial services experience and his background with the full range of issues facing small businesses will be invaluable to our clients.”

Congressman LaFalce recently retired from his United States Congressional seat after more than 30 years in public service. His political career began in 1970 when he ran successfully for the New York State Senate. In 1972, he was elected to the New York State Assembly. He served as Western New York’s Congressional representative since first being elected in 1974, and retired in January 2003 after completing his 14th consecutive term in Congress.

Congressman LaFalce continues to serve the Western New York community through a variety of public service activities. He is currently a part-time professor at Canisius College, serves as a member of the Advisory Board to the New York Stock Exchange, and is a member of the National Italian American Foundation, where he chairs its Audit Committee. Congressman LaFalce is also a member of the Senior Advisory Board to the Canadian-American Business Council, the Global Advisory Committee to the United States Council on Competitiveness, and the Transatlantic Policy Strategy Group.

Throughout his Congressional career, Congressman LaFalce served on both the Committee on Small Business, which he chaired from 1987 through 1994, and the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, on which he was the ranking member from 1998 through 2002. He was highly regarded as a leader in Congressional efforts to modernize the nation’s complex financial services systems. He was instrumental in passing the Financial Services Act of 1999, for which he earned the American Financial Leadership Award from the Financial Services Roundtable. Congressman LaFalce also played a key leadership role in developing and enacting regulatory oversight and increased investor protections in the securities area. He was among the prime movers of the sweeping corporate accounting reform legislation signed into law by President Bush in July 2002.

Congressman LaFalce has also been a longstanding consumer advocate, authoring key provisions in the 1999 financial services legislation designed to protect consumers from deceptive practices in bank sales of insurance and investment products. He was also instrumental in enacting legislation that provided substantive protections for many homeowners who fall prey to unscrupulous mortgage lenders and brokers, and has been a strong and consistent advocate of funding for affordable housing and community development.

Congressman LaFalce was born in Buffalo and graduated from Canisius High School and Canisius College. He received his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law in 1964. From 1965 through 1967, he served in the United States Army Adjutant General Corps, leaving active duty military service with the rank of Captain. He is married to the former Patricia Fisher and they have one son, Martin.

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