Jonathan M. Bernstein concentrates his practice in municipal liability, general litigation, professional liability, aviation law, land use and zoning, appellate advocacy, and defending civil rights and employment discrimination suits. Recognized as one of the preeminent municipal liability and employment law practitioners in New York State, Jon has defended counties, towns, cities, town boards, government agencies, mayors, and other elected officials in municipal liability, employment and labor, civil rights matters, and class actions. He also maintains a robust professional liability practice, with an emphasis on defending lawyers and accountants. In addition, Jon handles personal injury claims involving construction site accidents for many owners and contractors throughout New York State.

Jon has handled appeals for matters including civil rights, employment, professional liability, and personal injury before the New York Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and frequently serves as appellate counsel during trial. He has also tried cases to verdict in state and federal court.

As a counselor to numerous governments, municipal bodies, and other public entities, Jon has handled labor and employment matters before the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC).  He has also handled numerous labor arbitration proceedings. Jon has extensive experience handling collective bargaining negotiations, employee grievances, and employee termination proceedings.  Jon has extensive experience defending municipalities in Article 78 proceedings where the petitioner is seeking to challenge government action, such as in land use and zoning decisions, and also frequently handles responses to Freedom of Information Law requests. He has also represented police and corrections officers in civil rights suits in federal and state courts including class action litigation. Also experienced in education law and in the employment and civil rights law concerns distinct to the field of education, Jon has successfully represented school districts, charter schools, and school officials. Jon is chair of the Law Enforcement Sub-Committee of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Government Liability Committee.

Jon's considerable professional liability practice includes representing accountants and lawyers in malpractice lawsuits. His experience includes matters involving allegations of errors and negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty,  fraud and conspiracy to defraud, slander, vexatious litigation, and other issues related to the practice of law in a variety of disciplines.

Before joining Goldberg Segalla, Jon served as a confidential clerk for the New York Court of Appeals from 2002 to 2004.

  • Best Lawyers in America, Litigation — Labor and Employment, 2017–19
  • Upstate New York Super Lawyers, 2013-2016
  • Capital Region Living, Best Lawyers in the Capital Region, Labor and Employment Litigation, 2018
Professional Affiliations
  • Defense Research Institute
  •           Government Liability Committee
  •                     Chair, Law Enforcement Sub-Committee
  •                     Court Reporter Correspondent
  • Association of Towns
  • County Attorney's Association of NY (CAASNY)
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Civic Activities
  • Member, Town of Sand Lake Planning Board
Prior Experience
  • New York State Court of Appeals, Confidential Clerk, 2002-2004
  • Brooklyn Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2002 (Former Assistant Managing Editor of the Brooklyn Law Review)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A., 1996
  • Co-Presenter, "New York State Sexual Harassment Update," Tokio Marine HCC Annual Claims Seminar, Plymouth, MI, September 6, 2018
  • Co-Presenter, "New York State Sexual Harassment Update and Municipal Law Update," County Attorney's Association of the State of New York Annual Conference, Cooperstown, NY, May 22, 2018
  • Co-Author, “Guideposts for Assessing Excessive Force,” Defense Research Institute For the Defense, June 2017
  • Co-Author, “Is Your Police Department Ready to Implement Body Cameras?” DRI For the Defense, July 2016
  • Co-Presenter, "Municipal Liability Update," The County Attorneys' Association of the State of New York, Cooperstown, NY, May 17, 2016
  • Speaker, "Dealing with eDiscovery Motions and Legal Holds on Electronic Records," CASSNY, April 7, 2015