Charles Valente is a partner at MPS Law who arrived when his prior firm, Kaplan Saunders Valente & Beninati, LLP was acquired in January 2023. As one of our most experienced litigators, Charlie has a unique perspective on the topic of commercial litigation, which he shared in a recent discussion.
You’re primarily a litigator. What do you like best about what you do?
I’ve always enjoyed the mental aspect and the challenge of litigation. I view it as a chess game because it’s crucial to understand how each of my moves influence the other side’s moves, and try to figure out how I can build on those moves to get the result the client is hoping to achieve.
Tell us a little bit about the parties you represent.
I have a business litigation practice. I represent businesses, both big and small, and entrepreneurs in a variety of business matters. I’ve represented a number of Fortune 500 companies on a national scale as well as closely held entities. Additionally, I have also developed a niche practice over the last 20 years representing owners and operators of public accommodations in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation. I’m currently licensed to practice in Illinois, Florida, and California, and I’ve also handled trials in Connecticut, Virginia, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Texas.
Let’s talk about that. Can you tell us more about ADA litigation in general, and your work specifically?
There are two major components of the ADA: the employment aspect and the public accommodations aspect. When necessary, I defend employers against employee claims. But the really unique area of my niche is the defense of claims against the owners and operators of public accommodations that their facility or their business practices violate the ADA. A large part of my job is counseling businesses on maintaining ADA-compliant operational policies, procedures, and guidelines in all their operations. I also provide counsel on making new or pre-existing business facilities ADA-compliant for the safety of employees and customers alike.
One increasingly important area of ADA litigation is website compliance and accessibility. That’s becoming a big issue for e-commerce sites, especially for the visually- and auditory-impaired. Businesses need to take a closer look at their websites, or they run the risk of opening themselves up to lawsuits down the road.
Professionally speaking, what do you regard as your greatest strengths?
I like to think that one of my strongest qualities is my ability to understand what is most important to the client. More often than not, clients don’t care about the finer points of the law per se; they care about avoiding legal trouble and being extricated from legal issues as quickly and as cost-efficiently as possible. Clients want to carry on with their business with as little disruption as possible, and I provide business solutions to avoid those disruptions.
Beyond that, I try to never lose sight of why I got into law in the first place. I’m here to help people. Whether it’s my colleagues or the clients, I try to do everything I can to help them get a result that makes sense to them.
Do you find that sense of purpose is shared by MPS Law as a whole?
I do. When my partners and I began considering the move to MPS Law, we wanted to be sure we’d have the opportunity to make a real difference. Personally, I want to work on quality matters and continue to serve my clients to the highest standards. I also enjoy mentoring younger attorneys and offering them the opportunity to learn from my experience. I’m able to do all that at MPS. It’s a great fit.