By Lisa Rodgers on May 6, 2021
When injury attorney Joe Nicastro walked into his first day of law school, he stood out like a sore thumb.
With his tattoos, earrings, and long hair, the New York native and former rock musician looked like he belonged on stage at an underground concert—not walking the halls of the University of Buffalo law school. The spectacle was not unlike a scene from My Cousin Vinny—the iconic film about loudmouth New Yorker Vinny Gambini who had never tried a case but suddenly found himself in rural Alabama, defending his cousin for murder.
“I went from the road to a classroom setting and quickly realized I’m basically Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny,” Joe said. “[I knew I had to] hone my skills here, polish up, get the clean-cut look and really apply myself in law school.”
As a second-generation Italian-American who grew up working at his father’s construction company and touring the country as the lead guitarist for rock band More Than Me, Joe’s path to renown in the legal industry was non-traditional yet nonetheless inspiring. Today, he uses his life experiences to help him understand and defend clients from diverse walks of life.
“A huge part of my work ethic and my hard-working characteristics are rooted in the fact that I come from a blue-collar family,” he said. “Now I represent a lot of these hard-working people. I understand them, and I understand why their back hurts.”
Joe received his first guitar when he was five years old and proceeded to learn every song in the Elvis Presley sheet music book gifted to him by his father. As a high school student in Buffalo, New York, he joined the local rock band More Than Me and traveled the United States in a makeshift tour bus donated by a famous area taco company, Mighty Taco. The band rose to fame in 2010 when it won Hard Rock International’s Rock Battle of the Bands and, as a prize, opened for Paul McCartney in London.
But a year later, as band members began to take their lives in new directions, Joe realized he was ready for something different.
“I decided after doing music for years and years and years, I wanted to try something different, and I had always wanted to go to law school and see what that was about,” he said.
After sprucing up his look, Joe not only learned how to fit in at law school, he excelled. After earning multiple scholarships and awards in trial law, he secured a clerk position at a prestigious personal injury law firm before working for local firm Ramos and Ramos.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe became a founding member of Cantor, Wolff, Nicastro & Hall, a personal injury firm with more than 100 years of combined legal experience.
Joe said his firm helps individuals who suffer personal injuries qualify for and receive the compensation they deserve. The firm works with clients from all walks of life, including children, senior citizens, and international clients.
What sets Cantor, Wolff, Nicastro & Hall apart is their authenticity, accessibility, and the personal connections they build, Joe said.
“Every client has every lawyer’s cellphone number,” he said. “If they need to get ahold of us, they can, and that’s power. That’s old-school representation.”
In his spare time, Joe serves as vice president of the board of Against the Storm Foundation, a nonprofit that helps fight blood cancers and improve the health of those in need.
Joe urges anyone in the Buffalo area who has experienced a personal injury incident—such as a car crash—to contact his firm as soon as possible and get legal representation.
“The minute you’re hurt, the insurance company is doing everything in their power to limit your exposure and lessen the risk of them having to pay out,” Joe said. “[With an attorney] you have a voice, and you will not say the wrong thing. That is crucial.”
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