Paul H. Tobias Tribute

Carmen Comsti

Paul was not only a driving force in advancing employee rights in the workplace, but he was also a driving force for new and aspiring attorneys looking to do secure justice for all workers. I am and will always be proud that my first job as a lawyer was a Paul H. Tobias Fellow with the Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law & Policy. As his namesake fellow, I would have long conversations on the phone with Paul where he would impart his enthusiastic thoughts on how to further fill in the gaps of legal representation for workers and how to motivate a new generation of employee rights attorneys. Even though he had a fellowship named after him, Paul was not stopping his work as an employee rights advocate—he wanted us to carry the mantle of employee rights advocacy together. I learned from Paul that there is always more to be done to advance the rights of workers. His ceaseless spirit to achieve workplace justice that was a needed antidote for me, and I’m sure many other new attorneys, who hold an undue amount of cynicism about our profession. But Paul taught me that, together, employee rights lawyers could be better advocates in the just cause conspiracy. And importantly, he did all of this—organizing lawyers together in the NELA family and pushing us to do more for working people—with a warm and generous heart and as a visionary.