Paul Tobias = NELA; NELA = Paul Tobias. One does not go without the other. The mission, the work, the vision were all Paul’s. Whether there were five, twenty or 600 plaintiff employment attorneys discussing the future and work of NELA, Paul was the voice that brought us together and moved us forward. Whether or not you knew Paul you felt like you knew him and he knew you. He always greeted everyone with a smile and warmth and rallied us with the states roll call at every annual meeting.
I had the tremendous pleasure of calling Paul my friend and serving on the NELA Board with him. We sat next to each other at all meetings and he would rely on me at times to hear what others were saying. He called me his “hearing ear guide”. His difficulties never made you feel he was challenged in any way. And he was never shy to say exactly what he thought.
There were two occasions I was walking to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for an argument from the hotel I was staying in, and there was Paul walking down the streets of Cincinnati. He stopped both times, gave me a “Paul hug”, and immediately questioned and delved into the case I was about to argue. He cared. He wanted us all to be the best we could be. The largest plaintiffs’ law firm in the world was founded and guided by the largest plaintiffs’ employment force, Paul Tobias. He has left an indelible mark on our lives and the lives of our clients.