Cellino & Barnes practiced personal injury law in Buffalo, New York. Ross Cellino and Stephen Barnes founded it in 1998, and it was dissolved shortly before Barnes’s death in 2020. The company is known nationwide for its unique jingle, “Don’t Wait, Call 8!”, which went viral on the internet.
Aside from New York City, the firm had offices in Los Angeles as well. There were 250 employees and 50 attorneys at Cellino & Barnes in 2017.
The two attorneys formed separate law firms following the firm’s dissolution in June 2020: The Barnes Firm and Cellino Law.
On October 2, 2020, Barnes and his niece Elizabeth died in an airplane crash near Pembroke, New York. Barnes was 61 years old at the time. After Barnes’ death, his brother Rich Barnes became the face and leader of the firm.
Cellino And Barnes Net Worth
In spite of the ugly legal split over the well-known law firm Cellino & Barnes, Stephen Barnes and Ross Cellino Jr. each earned $7 million, according to court documents.
The court documents show that the firm earned $200 million in settlements when it represented 12,000 clients.
Court records cited by the Law Journal reveal that each of the partners earned:
- 5.4 million dollars in 2013
- 7.3 million dollars in 2014
- 8 million dollars in 2015
- 10.75 million dollars in 2016
Cellino and Barnes Dissolution
Back in May 2017, Stephen Barnes and Ross Cellino dissolved their partnership (and the fight intensified), and we still wonder what happened to them and how they ended up suing each other.
Cellino filed suit against Barnes, his business partner, on May 10, 2017. Together, the two ran a successful business of 25 years, so the community was shocked.
On the day following the incident, the law firm released a statement stating that business would keep going as usual until the two lawyers could settle their differences.
Fans of the Cellino and Barnes jingle find out a month later that their partnership has been tumultuous for a long time. Both the injury lawyers struggled to agree on just about everything. During the litigation, both sides traded insults, each accusing the other of being responsible for the firm’s dissolution.
Cellino and Barnes officially split in January 2020. Cellino writes in an affidavit dated January 3, 2020, “Barnes now accepts the reality of this situation and…will consent to a dissolution of Cellino & Barnes P.C.”
Having officially parted ways, they could now each begin their own law practices, without interference from each other.
Death of Barnes
In October 2020, Barnes’ plane crashed while he was en route to his mother’s birthday party. Barnes and his niece, Elizabeth D. Barnes died in the crash.
Immediately after Barnes’ death, Celino released a statement, praising Barnes for being a “fearless advocate for his clients” and describing it as “a significant loss for the legal community.”
A few days after Barnes’ death, he gave an interview to The Buffalo News in which he was a little more emotional.
“It’s funny how all the crap that Steve and I went through over the past three years – all the posturing, arguing and insults – just disappeared from my mind when his plane crashed,” he recalled. “We argued very aggressively against each other in court, that’s what lawyers do. But now that he’s gone, all I can think about is the good times, all the milestones I passed with Steve.”
“Despite everything that happened over the past three years, I always have considered him a friend, almost like a brother. I respected Steve Barnes. He was a great lawyer. He was my friend and partner for 25 years, someone I spoke to almost every day. We built something together, we analyzed and tried cases together, we helped our clients. I’m very proud of what Steve and I accomplished.”
Cellino Law and The Barnes Firm
I still hear the theme song in my head even though Cellino and Barnes are no longer together, and Barnes has passed away. Currently, Cellino maintains a law practice. The firm that he runs is called Cellino Law but its phone number is not catchy.
Moreover, the Barnes Firm is still active — Steve’s brother Rich currently runs the business. Cellino and Barnes’ feud ultimately ended tragically, yet the original jingle will live on forever in people’s minds.