Brainstorming: pushing the boundaries of thought about the case with no bad consequences. Psychodrama: practicing the client's story told in action. Ideas and introspection can grow into something great to help a judge and jury understand a case. The law doesn't have to be dull for the attorney or client. As two historical giants said at different times, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," "and it is the spirit of the law that keeps justice alive."
Observations made by Albert Einstein and Earl Warren, respectively. Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli.
THE PRACTICE OF LAW is persuasion guided by rules and creativity; humor is allowed. I designed this site mostly on my own. (Perhaps you can tell.) What you see is basically me. I offer a few bells and whistles, but mostly facts and opinions, with links for proof.
JURY VERDICTS ARE GREAT. There is nothing better than having the conscience of the community validate your work. I’ve had some biggies, but they can be reduced on appeal, thrown out, and take years to complete. Sometimes it is better to compromise. On the other hand, I crave a trial. I graduated from The Trial Lawyer’s College in 2003, and am always learning how to improve my communication skills by attending and teaching at Lawyers' Continuing Legal Education Programs - more than required by the state. Mind you, if you want to test your case in court, it is a significant benefit to hiring a lawyer with multiple jury verdicts who also knows appellate rules and culture. Trial outcomes can be affected by those rules, and many trial lawyers don't know them so well. I consider myself a trial lawyer, but by sheer number, I have perfected more appeals than completed trials to verdict. (Perhaps I'm an appellate lawyer in the guise of a trial lawyer, but I still love trials.) But people don't want to pay for appeals and meanwhile, trials to verdict are rare, though they are a major reason I love what I do - the possibility that the conscience of the community will vindicate my client's position. You need a verdict and a lawyer to sustain the result on appeal. Or settle!
I PRACTICE IN NEW YORK, mostly in federal but also state court. I am also admitted to the U.S. District Court in Chicago. Once, I argued to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, and all seven judges ruled in my client’s favor. I am a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, where I’ve been counsel on two petitions for writs of certiorari - requests to be heard on national issues of law. My requests were denied, along with at least 95% of the others.
I FIGHT FOR employee rights - wage and discrimination claims – and victims of police misconduct. When it is certainly right to do, I represent people harmed by their former lawyers’ egregious mistakes. I cherish appeals and am experienced in both the New York criminal and civil sides of that practice. But I won't take a case that another lawyer has lost unless I am paid - usually in the low five figures - and unless the client understands that appeals usually don't work, even if my rate of success is higher than most. Appeals are your last resort if your legal claim is so important that you want to take it as far as you can, and if you can afford it. That's the hard truth about appeals. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
To avoid my clients' appeals, and indeed their litigation altogether, in 2016, I attended and graduated from the Harvard Law School Program on Mediation, and have started practicing the art of bringing parties together in settling disputes by assisting them seeing the other party's side and resolving their differences. The techniques taught at Harvard, for which I received a Certificate, were different than the common "shuttle diplomacy" techniques employed by other mediators, whereby the neutral moves in confidence from one side to the other and argues the other's case to the other side. This method can work but is it the best? Rather than beating up the parties, intellectually, one side after the other, and struggling to get a settlement that, perhaps, no one is thrilled with, the Harvard method teaches that - except in an inappropriate case where the parties are at risk of physical injury - to keep them at one table in the attempt to come up with a resolution on their own that satisfies everyone. The parties know their case best; the parties, their guards let down, in confidence, and with the ear of a mediator they trust are in the best position to find a solution that works with the assistance of an experienced third party. This method might take longer, or might not; but it is cheaper and more peaceful by accepting a solution than agreeing to one with strongly veiled suggestions that "this is your last chance to settle at the risk of expensive, unpredictable litigation." While these threats carry some truth, you, and not just the mediator, should be part of the solution.
I've been practicing since 1994, mostly in New York courts, though I am admitted to federal court in Chicago (and my application to federal court in Connecticut is pending). I graduated in 1993 from NYU Law School, where I was a member of Law Review, selection to which was based on grades and writing ability. After passing the bar, I went to work at Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP, doing this and that, plus significant pro bono work, including civil rights for artists, death-penalty litigation and working for people with HIV. I think am the first civil rights lawyer to have been born of that huge firm, and the day I feel I became a lawyer, was the day I walked away from BigLaw, as it is known, to working to solve the problems of ordinary citizens. That’s when I began to discover that I do love what I do. Eventually, I found I could enjoy life and simultaneously enjoy being a lawyer. If I hadn't gotten off the track and done my own thing, I would be elsewhere.
Honors, Awards, Scholarly Lectures & Writings:
I've been elected to "SuperLawyers," "Best Lawyers in America" and was Peer Reviewed "AV Preeminent" by Martindale. I speak about the meaning, or limits thereof of these monikers, on my "About Me" page. My biggest public victories, and some big cases where I won some battles, but lost the wars, are here .
Copyright 2016 Gregory Antollino, Esq.. All rights reserved.