How would you describe your job and yourself to a 10 year old?
I am a lawyer who helps people who were hurt in an accident get money for their pain.
Paul, as we read about you, being a member of the carpenters’ union (United Brotherhood of Carpenters) , how did it help you in your law career?
Being a member of the Carpenter’s Union taught me the value of hard work and the importance of an education. Being a carpenter is a physically challenging occupation and often very dangerous, so the importance of following rules, particularly safety rules, is very important.
Appearing before various law tribunals and forums needs extra effort, how do you plan your work to be super-efficient?
Planning is the secret ingredient to success and efficiency. Even if I handle a case many times, I always write an outline and emphasize the points I need to make.
This keeps me focused because it is very easy to become distracted and be thrown off track by a smart adversary, so thinking how I might lose a case is the best preparation for victory.
You have been actively taking up Pro-Bono cases and have done a lot of free service in your career trajectory? How important is it for Law Students and professionals to take up Pro-Bono cases and help the needy?
Pro-Bono cases are very rewarding. Volunteering time and expertise to those who cannot afford top legal representation is the hallmark of our justice system.
Pro bono cases provide attorneys with the chance to work with other lawyers in their firms who they would not otherwise know, as well as practice in areas outside of their day-to-day work. This fosters collaboration and increases future cross-firm prospects. It also assists attorneys in forming networks with other lawyers who work for legal assistance foundations. Networking leads to business development, which helps the firm as well.
As we all are aware of the 9/11 incident, how was your experience wrt getting justice for the victims? Please elaborate it
9/11 was a very difficult time for the entire nation. Being able to represent victims pro-bono was very special. At the time, no one understood the long term health ramifications connected to 9/11.
To delve into the medical records of these victims and come up with creative ideas to get them the maximum compensation, was a stand out moment in my legal career.
How hard is the bar exam to be passed in New York and how can one prepare with a well curated road map?
The NY State Bar Exam is one of the hardest in the country. To pass it, you have to prepare for it as a full time job. Get on a schedule, study 9-5 and take lunch everyday at the same time, just like a job.
Again, preparation is the key to passing the bar. Do the hard work in the morning and the rest of the day will fall into place.
Lastly Paul, what tips are you likely to give to students willing to practice as a Personal Injury lawyer in the US?
Personal injury is a very competitive field. tell everyone you meet and family and friends that you are a personal injury lawyer. To be successful you need cases. A great trial lawyer is useless without cases to try.
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