Our Team

Karl Essler headshot photo - Attorney at Morgenstern DeVoesick PLLC

Karl S. Essler


Karl is a real property attorney who focuses his practice in the areas of land use and zoning, real property litigation and real property transactions. He has appeared before municipal boards for all aspects of zoning and land use and zoning approvals, and handles legal challenges to these approvals.  Karl also handles real property litigation such as title, boundary and easement disputes, lease litigation, condemnation, tax certiorari and environmental matters, and has completed extensive training sponsored by the New York State Bar Association to serve as a mediator in a variety of civil matters.


Representative Matters

  • Supervised the initial development and municipal approvals for cell tower sites throughout Western New York market area for two major national wireless providers (approximately 150 sites combined).
  • Succeeded in obtaining municipal approvals (including a use variance) for a national retail store location in the Southern Tier over steadfast municipal opposition leading to three (3) successful litigations and two (2) successful appeals.
  • In 2010, closed on a $30 million FHA refinance for a group of major apartment projects.
  • In 2012, successfully settled a major commercial lease default case for a landlord for $200,000 using a pierce the corporate veil theory to reach the individual owner of the defunct tenant entity.


Land Use & Zoning: In the area of land use and zoning, Karl has represented some of the most significant real estate developers in Upstate New York and has obtained approvals for major residential development projects, significant commercial real estate developments, hotels, supermarkets, educational institutions and major telecommunications facilities. This includes numerous Article 78 challenges to such determinations.

Karl is a past Co-Chair of the Land Use and Development Subcommittee of the New York State Bar Association Real Property Section. He has spoken at numerous seminars on land use and zoning. Karl has also participated as an assistant faculty member at the Rochester Institute of Technology Civil Engineering Program on land use and development procedures and professional ethics.


Real Property Litigation: Karl also has significant experience in real property litigation. Karl’s experience includes successful litigation in, as examples, leasing and property contracts, options to purchase and rights of first refusal and adverse possession and boundary line claims.


Real Property Transactions: In addition to the foregoing, Karl has negotiated numerous leases and real estate purchase contracts, and has closed on real estate purchases and financings in excess of $30 million for a single transaction.


Tax Certiorari and Condemnation: Karl has also, primarily on behalf of property owners, achieved significant tax assessment reductions on commercial and industrial properties through assessor negotiations, the grievance process and litigation.


Mediation: Karl has participated in mediation proceedings and has recently concluded extensive training sponsored by the New York State Bar Association to serve as a mediator in a wide variety of mediation disputes.

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” for 2017 and 2019 in Rochester, NY for Litigation – Real Estate
  • One of Best Lawyers in America 2016-2019
  • Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
  • New York Super Lawyers 2007-2018


A native of Nunda, New York, Karl graduated as valedictorian from Keshequa Central School, completed his undergraduate studies at Allegheny College, also as valedictorian, and graduated from Cornell Law School. Karl has spent his entire legal career practicing in Rochester, and has been involved with a number of charitable and community based organizations.  Karl is an avid hiker and golfer, and lives in Penfield with his wife.



  • CollegeAllegheny College
  • College DegreeB.S., summa cum laude, 1976
  • Law SchoolCornell Law School, magna cum laude, 1979

Bar Admissions

  • New York

    U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
    Western District of New York

    U.S. District Court for the
    Northern District of New York

    U.S. District Court for the
    Southern District of New York

    U.S. District Court for the
    Western District of New York