Firm History


MCB traces its beginnings to 1912 with the partnering of two well known Bronx District Attorneys, George W. Whiteside and Lloyd Paul Stryker. Mr. Stryker handled a number of high profile cases, including the representation of Pepsi Cola® in the trademark infringement suit brought by Coca Cola®. Mr. Stryker also defended Alger Hiss at his first trial which ended in a hung jury (Mr. Hiss changed counsel for his re-trial, after which he was convicted). Assisting Mr. Stryker at the Alger Hiss trial was his associate Harold Shapero, who continued his career at MCB and was considered the "Dean" of the medical malpractice defense bar. In addition to his legal knowledge, Mr. Stryker was the author of what is still considered to be a prime biography of President Andrew Johnson. The New York State Medical Society felt it needed an “outside” attorney to defend its member physicians in New York State, because there were not enough malpractice cases at the time to justify a full time “in-house” lawyer. As a result, in 1914 Whiteside & Stryker became counsel to the State Medical Society. Whiteside & Stryker counseled the New York State Medical Society until 1927 when Lorenz Brosnan, an associate of the Firm, took over as counsel to the New York State Medical Society.


After the death of Mr. Brosnan at a young age in 1943, William F. Martin, who was an associate of Mr. Stryker and Mr. Brosnan, became Counsel to the State Medical Society. Mr. Martin became General Counsel during World War II and in 1943 the Firm was called Martin & Clearwater. The name of the Firm was changed in 1952 to Martin, Clearwater & Bell to include partners Thomas Clearwater and Robert Bell. By 1965, the field of medical malpractice had grown into an industry. Malpractice lawsuits were a major part of the tort business, which was a major part of the court system.


In 1975 the Firm went through a generational change and the partnership was expanded to include long-time MCB associates Francis Bensel, Richard Young, and George van Setter, all of whom have since retired. During this period the Firm successfully defended the landmark Libby Zion case.


In 2005 the Firm, as part of its strategic growth, acquired a leading employment partner and launched the Firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group with the goal of expanding the Firm’s business in that area.


During the past thirty years, MCB has diversified into other areas of civil litigation, such as healthcare and professional liability, and the attorney complement now exceeds seventy-five attorneys, including 30 partners.

  • Facebook App Icon
  • LinkedIn App Icon
 Contact Us  | Legal Disclaimer


©2017  Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP. All Rights Reserved.


(212) 697-3122 |