Janet DeFrancisco Callahan

Janet DeFranciscoJanet DeFrancisco Callahan graduated from Canastota High School as Valedictorian of the Class of 1973. While at Canastota, she was Vice President of the Senior Class and a member of the National Honor Society, French Club, Science Club and ZONTA, among other organizations. She served as co-editor, along with Barbara Giambastiani, of the 1973 TOOT, the first Canastota yearbook to have a spread of color informal photographs of the graduating class. She attended SUNY Geneseo, graduating Magna Cum Laude in three years with a degree in Psychology and Special Education. She had intended to follow a teaching career, but switched to law at the suggestion of one of her professors, graduating from Albany Law School in 1980.

Janet’s first position after law school was as a confidential law clerk to Hon. J. Robert Lynch in Lowville, followed by a clerkship with Hon. Thomas J. Lowery in Syracuse. In 1984, she became an associate with the prestigious law firm of Hancock Estabrook LLP in Syracuse, New York, where she has been a trial lawyer for 28 years. Janet became a partner at Hancock Estabrook, a 60 attorney firm with 135 employees, in 1989. She headed the firm’s Litigation and Appellate practice groups for ten years and was the first woman elected to the firm’s Executive Committee, serving as a member for eight years. In June of 2010, Janet became the first woman to be elected Managing Partner of a major law firm in Syracuse and one of the first in upstate New York.

Janet has received numerous honors as an attorney. She was named a New York Super LawyerDiFrancisco Graduation in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and was honored with a Best Lawyer in America award in 2010. She has been a featured speaker at the annual conference of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and served as a panelist for the Women on the Move program of the New York State Bar Association in 2008. Janet is a member of the Onondaga County, New York State, and Central New York Women’s Bar Associations and has lectured and written articles for all three organizations. She is an investigator for the Onondaga County Bar Association Grievance Committee and a long time participant in the Onondaga County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers project. In 2010, Janet received a Women Who Mean Business award from the American Red Cross in acknowledgement of her achievements.

In addition to her professional activities, Janet is very involved in her community and in caring for her family, which has always been her number one priority. She lives in Manlius, where she raised two children. Her son John graduated from Marist College with a degree in Sports Communication and her daughter Samantha is a junior at SUNY Albany majoring in Psychology. Janet was president of the Plymouth Day Care Center Board of Trustees, which her children attended, for ten years. She was also the board representative for the King’s Kid Child Care Center in Manlius. She has been a member of the Ronald McDonald House fundraising committee and served on the Village of Manlius Recreation Board for six years, acting as a marshal for the Manlius Fourth of July parade for three years. She taught Confirmation class at St. Ann’s Church in Manlius for four years and was on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of RLS Career Center. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fayetteville Senior Center.