Manfred Ohrenstein, a founding partner of Ohrenstein & Brown, leads the firm’s Government Affairs practice. Mr. Ohrenstein serves as a strategic consultant and government affairs representative for large and medium sized companies in New York City, New York State and Washington, D.C. in matters relating to insurance, banking, securities, public transportation, health, telecom, government contracting and other interactions between government and business.
He and his firm conduct an extensive business, corporate and insurance litigation practice.
Mr. Ohrenstein is a prominent New York Attorney and a noted political and civic leader in the city and state of New York. He is a 35-year veteran of New York State government and is a former member of the New York State Senate. He was the Democratic Leader of the State Senate for twenty years from 1975 to 1995. During this period he helped negotiate twenty New York State budgets, and was one of the architects of the New York City fiscal rescue in 1975 to 1977. He helped legislate the consolidation of the New York City University System, and assisted in the expansion of the New York State University system. He sponsored the Legislation which built the New York City Convention Center.
He has been a long term advocate of Public Mass Transportation. He supported the creation of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) as the New York regional mass transportation agency and helped author the MTA’s Capital Plan process and the tax program which supports the MTA fare. In 2004 and 2005, after leaving the Legislature, he was a consultant to the MTA with respect to the extension of its five year capital plan and the passage by the Legislature of the Transportation Bond Act which was subsequently approved by the voters. He has also been a consultant to the City University of New York.
He has represented clients before the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation with respect to various aspects of the New York City downtown redevelopment, has represented clients before the MTA, the New York-New Jersey Port Authority with respect to engineering and development projects and has recently represented a prominent national engineering firm before the New York State Department of Transportation regarding High Speed Rail.
He and Michael D. Brown, the other principal partner of Ohrenstein & Brown, have represented a Major Health Care Management Company and several New York City Hospitals with respect to healthcare issues before the relevant United States Government agencies, the United States Congress, the New York State Legislature, and the New York State Department of Health.
He also recently successfully negotiated with the Governor’s office and the Empire State Development Corp. for financial assistance to a major manufacturer located in the Southern Tier in Western New York to enable it to expand its New York State facilities.
He has chaired the New York Delegation to the Democratic National Convention, and is currently Vice Chairman of the New York Holocaust Museum, and Vice Chairman of the Insurance Federation of New York, and is a member of the New York City Building Congress and the New York City Partnership.
Mr. Ohrenstein is a much sought after speaker both nationally and internationally. He has lectured before business groups and academic institutions on insurance, regulatory, financial, and political matters in this country, in Germany and in China where he lectured to a business group in Chendu together with the local head of the government. Recently he lectured in Washington, D.C. and New York City at conferences on High Speed Rail.
Mr. Ohrenstein received his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Brooklyn College and his law degree from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He served in the United States Army, during the Korean War, and later in the United States Army Reserve as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate Corps.