Caring for the Crescent City
Like so many people who come to New Orleans, Cliff Cardone fell in love with this city the first time he visited. Cardone, who grew up in the New York area, was visiting a friend during Mardi Gras and was immediately taken with the city’s charm. After graduating from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Cardone began his diverse legal career by working at his father-in-law’s practice.
A fan of the 1960s TV legal drama The Defenders, Cardone had always wanted to become a trial lawyer. So he started working in the District Attorney’s office, under Harry Connick, and he spent several years practicing criminal law. Although Cardone had the opportunity to handle some serious, high-profile criminal cases with the D.A.’s office, he says he eventually got “burned out” by criminal law and wanted to shift his focus to have a more notable impact on clients’ lives. Cardone returned to his father-in-law’s firm and started practicing personal injury law, and found that he had a passion for trying these types of cases.
“When I am able to achieve the type of result for clients that makes their lives easier and get them on the road to recovery, it’s very satisfying,” Cardone says. “The victories are sweet and cherished.”
In 1977, Cardone decided to open his own practice and established the Cardone Law Firm on Baronne Street. He has been there ever since, concentrating on personal injury, truck and car accidents, slips and falls, DUI/DWIs, and property damage resulting from hurricanes and other types of disasters. Today, the attorney is proactively working to improve the city he fell in love with more than 40 years ago, with his charitable initiative, Cardone Cares, through which he donates up to 5 percent of the legal fees in personal injury cases to local non-profit organizations. To date, he has donated more than $9,000.
“We feel donating a portion of our legal fees is a way to give back to our community, which has supported our firm for more than 40 years,” explains Cardone, who involves clients by allowing them to select the charity that they want to benefit from their case. “It’s easy for my firm to just write a check, but I wanted to make a greater impact and provide a donation that has more meaning. By involving more people, I can continually be able to donate to some very worthwhile causes.”
Cardone says his clients have really embraced the program so far, and the response from friends and fellow attorneys has also been positive. Children’s Hospital of New Orleans was the first recipient of the Cardone Cares initiative, receiving a donation of more than $7,400 from Cardone’s firm on behalf of two different clients. Though still in its inception, the Cardone Cares program is currently working with Children’s Hospital, Bridge House/Grace House, Gulf Restoration Network and Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights.
Cardone Cares focuses its efforts on local 501(c)3 organizations that do “good work in our community and assist our residents in need,” says Cardone, who wanted to ensure dollars would stay local and be directed at the cause as much as possible. “We look forward to continuing to grow this initiative and benefit even more charities.” cardonelaw.com