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I've been advising family-owned and other closely held firms, their owners and stakeholders for over 25 years.


I help clients make important decisions and navigate key transitions in their business and personal lifecycles, often working collaboratively with advisors from other professional disciplines.

Exit Planning, the crafting and execution of a plan for an owner to leave the business on their own terms, is a vital part of my practice. The company is likely their largest asset, and the way they exit will profoundly affect them, their family, the business and its employees.

When the business is family-owned and the family wants to transition it to the next generation, the work involves more than planning the current owner’s departure. Sustaining the business from one generation to the next requires managing the conflicts and other human dynamics that are endemic to family-owned businesses and the families that own and manage them. In addition to the legal skills that I’ve honed over the decades, I understand the impact that family relationships play in business succession planning.

My vision for this counseling-oriented practice emerged in 1996 ...


My vision for this counseling-oriented practice emerged in 1996 when, at a legal seminar, I found validation of my belief that no single advisor has all the skills needed to address the needs of a family-owned or other closely held firm. They’re best served by attorneys who can collaborate with professionals representing other disciplines, often individuals who have long been considered trusted advisors.


In addition to exit planning and family business succession planning, I handle a wide variety of business transactions, including the formation and structuring of business entities; purchases and sales of businesses; and employment, non-compete, and confidentiality agreements.


I am the immediate past president of Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises (AFHE), a national organization of attorneys and other professional advisors, who provide multi-disciplinary legal counsel and advice to privately held enterprises, their owner-managers, and family members. I hold the Family Firm Institute (FFI)’s Certificate in Family Business Advising with Fellow Status and am a Business Enterprise Institute (BEI) Certified Exit Planner.  I regularly speak publicly about issues facing family-owned and other closely held businesses and have been a presenter at AFHE, FFI, and BEI annual conferences, as well as for continuing education programs for attorneys, CPAs and financial planners in the New York metropolitan area.








I began my career as an attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Following government service, I was an associate and partner with several prominent Westchester law firms. In 1992, I established my own practice, which morphed into Karlen & Stolzar, LLP where I was a partner until 2017.

Licensed to practice law in New York, Connecticut and Florida, I earned a JD from New York Law School and an LLM (Corporation Law) from the New York University School of Law, as well as a BS in accounting from the University of Bridgeport.

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