Other Pursuits

I am a native of Jackson Heights, New York, who relocated to the green hills of Summit, New Jersey, in 1977 with my wife and then one-year-old son. Joan and I have been married since August 1970. Son Robert is co-medical director of the PICU at UCLA Medical Center, daughter Laura is a realtor-immigration paralegal in Palm Beach, and son John is a Seton Hall Law grad, in-house at AIG. Mackenzie the Wonder Dog is a therapy dog at a local children’s hospital. Everyone knows my passion for the New York Giants and golf.

I really love what I do—business litigation. Although I had planned in college to be an English professor, while on a junior year in Paris, my mentor was a practicing lawyer and Gaullist political activist who fascinated me with his work founding the Fifth Republic. So I went to Cornell Law School and, by chance, took a third-year seminar class in “Litigation of Business Disputes” taught by the legendary Prof. Schlesinger. That did it. It’s amazing how two teachers can point you in a direction for life.

My career has been unusual (at least it was in the 1980s) in that I went from private practice to a corporation and back to private practice. I headed the Litigation Department at Chemical Bank and also advised senior management on employment issues; EBG was our outside employment counsel in a large class action. Ron Green (over breakfast, of course) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse (coincidentally after I had tried to hire away one of the L&E associates who later became a partner here).

I have worked on great cases, including dozens of trials and arbitrations. Some of the most memorable moments include:

  • confronting a plaintiff on the stand with an expert report showing that the DNA on the glue on an envelope containing an anonymous threat to “out” a key defense witness matched the DNA on the envelope of a thank-you note that the plaintiff had sent four years earlier;
  • seeing Judge Rakoff speechless when jurors sent a note impeaching their own verdict by saying both sides should lose but that they were compelled to reach an “immoral” decision thanks to his instructions;
  • watching the best opening statement, which was given by Ron Green in a raiding case and included an eight-minute video highlight of the marvelous Mercedes-Benz ads of the 1990s; and
  • observing a jury, judge, and court officers laughing uncontrollably for a minute in response to the head of H.R. for Ortho Pharmaceuticals—a retired cabaret singer and our key witness—telling her risqué “French fighter pilot” joke on cross-examination in a sexual harassment case. (Ask me or Mickey Neuhauser for the details.) 

This stuff makes up for the hours of document review.

EBG is a great place for a career because it has first-class lawyers and an atmosphere of collegiality that shouldn’t be taken for granted (it is very rare these days). I have a terrific colleague in Peter Altieri, with whom I have worked since 1988; challenging work in business, employment, and health law disputes; a great team in the New York litigation department; an opportunity to teach bright junior lawyers; and the pleasure of working with Ron Green, a true master of the courtroom. The list of lawyers and staff with whom I have had the privilege to work is too long for this short narrative.

I look forward to updating this narrative in about 10 years, after the Giants have won at least two more Super Bowls.