Who is Steve Barnes? Steve Barnes is an iconic New York attorney whom along with his partner Ross Cellino Jr., are known for the personal injury law firm Cellino & Barnes. They turned a Buffalo law firm into a national franchise company through an aggressive TV advertising strategy with an infectious jingle. Barnes died on Friday in a plane crash in west New York.
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Barnes flew the small plane that crashed in Pembroke, New York, 30 miles northeast of Buffalo. His niece was the only other passenger, according to the New York Times and local reports. Barnes was 61, according to the Times.
For years, TV commercials for Cellino & Barnes have been ubiquitous in local stores, especially during the day on talk shows, news shows, soap operas, sitcom reruns and lifestyle food. Especially in his home base in the northeast, cellino & Barnes’ spots were saturated until their longtime partners fought each other in court in 2017.
In Barnes’ biography, he is listed as a Gulf War veteran and former Marine Corps officer. “The work we do is not for the meek,” Barnes once said on the Cellino & Barnes website.
Cellino & Barnes’s spots also added a new entry to the Commercial Jingle’s Hall of Fame, with an uptempo song engraved the company’s name and number on the memory banks of most listeners: “Cellino and Barnes / Jury Lawyers / Call 800-888 -8888.”
The partners demonstrated their ability to help victims of a range of personal injury breakdowns, from boat accidents to treatment errors to motorcycle wrecks. The sheer amount of Cellino & Barnes flap texts broadcast on markets across the country secured the legal duo a place in pop culture.
After cellino’s separation, Barnes recently founded a new company, the Barnes Firm, which operates in California. In February, Barnes’ girlfriend, former Cellino & Barnes lawyer Ellen Sturm, sued Cellino, saying she had been denied her share of a major legal settlement that she helped negotiate for the company, according to Buffalo News.
After Barnes’ death, Cellino issued a statement to The Times praising his longtime partner.
“He was always a fearless advocate for his clients,” Cellino told The Times. “His death is a significant loss for the legal community.”