John Cromie has worked with clients in Saratoga County and surrounding counties for more than 40 years. John has a straight-forward approach when working with you; he will explain the requirements of the legal system to you and help you in your attempt to achieve a positive result.

With what legal needs can John Cromie assist you?

  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning
  • Settlement of Estates
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Business Formation and Transfers
  • Minor Criminal Matters
  • Traffic Violations

John has been practicing law since 1973. He is a Distinguished Alumni of Ballston Spa High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from University of Albany, Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law, and Master of Public Administration from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

John is also a very active community member in Saratoga County. He is a Past President of Ballston Spa Rotary, Milton Grange, Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association, and Saratoga County Historical Society. Other organizations John has been involved with include Saratoga County Cornell Cooperative Extension, Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, Preservation Association of the Southern Tier, Ballston Spa Cemetery Association, Ballston Area Senior Citizens, Lions Sight Society of NENY, and Northeastern NY Lupus Foundation.

Zoning: I own my land; why is the government telling me what I can and can’t do?

Sorry, you don’t own your land; in Anglo-American law, the King does. Back in 1215, the King’s ownership was reduced when King John was forced to agree to pay for the land when he took it back. During the American Revolution, the State of New York took ownership away from King George III. The government is merely using its ownership right when it takes possession of land and pays its value to those who had the right to use it. It’s that ownership that gives the government the right to dictate land use through zoning and sub-division laws.

It’s my property; I put it in a trust, why can’t I sell it if I want?

Sorry, if the property has been conveyed to a trust, it’s not yours anymore. It is usually the Trustee, representing the trust, who has the power to buy or sell. Even if you are your own trustee of a revocable trust, you don’t have control of the property, your alter-ego called the trustee does. If you treat revocable trust property as your own, you can revoke the trust and waste all the money spent setting it up. If the property is in an irrevocable trust and you treat it as your own, you could end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

Why do I have to wait for the sheriff to throw out the tenant?

Government exists to keep peace among the citizenry. If landlords were allowed to use self-help to get rid of tenants, there would be a lot more bloodshed. Ultimately, the process favors the landlord, even though the safeguards may seem to slow it down. Most legal actions can take years to settle. An eviction is a streamlined proceeding that can take less than a month from start to finish. Therefore, some very rigid features are designed to ensure the tenant has his or her day in court. At the end, if the tenant isn’t out after a judgment of eviction, the force of the state in the form of a Sheriff’s Deputy is there to back up the landlord.

The guy is guilty as sin; the system gives him all those protections, and he could get off on a technicality. Why does the system mollycoddle criminals?

If the protections weren’t there; you could be that guy, because you made somebody in the government mad. There are two types of guilt, real guilt and legal guilt. Only the guilty know the first type, and not all who are found guilty by the law are really guilty. The protections exist to ensure, as best as any imperfect system can, that a great majority found legally guilty are also really guilty.

I got the guy to sign a contract; I’m safe, right?

Well, maybe, if you have the money to go to the courts to enforce the contract and the guy has money to pay a judgment. If the guy is honorable, he may fall into a difficult situation which keeps him from performing. If he’s not honorable, you’re in real trouble, unless you have enough money to force honor upon him. Those who get hurt the most are the small fish who contract with big fish [Gulp!]

What is the lawyer’s role in setting up a business?

Frankly, not much. The lawyer can help set up the form of the business- corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, and assist with the administrative gymnastics of acquiring licenses, create buy-sell contacts, and the like. The lawyer is not a financial adviser, doesn’t put together business plans, and doesn’t direct due diligence. Those roles usually belong to others, and the lawyer can formulate their suggestions. From experience, it seems successful businesses start out well capitalized by an entrepreneur. That’s someone whose intelligence is business directed, constantly thinking about new and different ways of doing things, and gets back up when knocked down. I had one very successful business person remark if 50% of his ideas worked, he was happy.

Is title insurance necessary?

Of course not. However, no bank in its right mind would finance a property today without the buyer paying for title insurance to cover the bank’s interest. There are always exceptions, like acquiring property from a family member, but what does it say about a buyer’s mind if he doesn’t get title insurance?

What is the fastest way of becoming a criminal?

Most people don’t realize motor vehicle prohibits the postal service from forwarding its mail. Motorists are required to inform motor vehicle within 10 days of a change of address. Every mailing by DMV is to the address in its data base. If the citizen isn’t living there any more, too bad.DMV sends a notice of suspension in 30 days because of a missed court date, or whatever. The notice isn’t actually received; the license is suspended; the motorist is stopped; license checked; and a ticket is issued for aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd degree, a misdemeanor criminal charge.

The moral of the story is, you don’t have to tell your mother that you moved, but you have to tell DMV.

Should you wish to contact me you may at

Phone 518-885-8451
Drop in or
Mail 132 Bath Street
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
Fax 518-884-8599

The office is open Monday through Friday 9 to 5. Because I have the luxury of living over the office, I may be reached by chance at other times. Likewise, a phone call when most of the world is sleeping may be answered by a less than alert me rather than an answering machine.

Proud Member of:

The Rotary Club of Ballston Spa

Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association