Paul’s vision of NELA as the largest Plaintiffs’ employment law firm is what has always made NELA so special to me. While attorneys in other areas of law see their fellow attorneys as competitors, that is not the case with NELA lawyers — a fact that has baffled many others outside of NELA. Not only has the culture developed that we celebrate each others’ wins and mourn the losses, but we also help each other to be the best lawyers we can be. We show up to help prepare for trial or oral argument, we share briefs and legal research, we mentor newer attorneys, and we volunteer our time to make NELA better because we know it has made us better. We understand, as a result of Paul’s vision, that our best chance of success is in helping and supporting each other. This is what makes NELA so special and unique.
Paul was also a person with ideas and the energy and enthusiasm to encourage others to help him bring them into reality. While I was not there to see him create NELA, I have joined him in meetings where he was seeking to create his next organization — be that a sister non-profit to NELA or a committee within NELA. What I particularly appreciated was Paul’s passion for providing representation for low wage workers. Paul urged NELA lawyers to represent workers pro bono and was instrumental in the formation of the low wage worker committee. Paul also was working to better connect legal services organizations with NELA lawyers, seeking ways they could benefit from collaboration. In addition to his calls for a “Just Cause Conspiracy” I will always have Paul’s voice in my head, urging us to find ways to ensure that all workers are adequately represented.
While Paul may have passed away, he will continue to live on in the spirit, collegiality, and passion of NELA lawyers. We are all better lawyers and there has been a better development of the law, because of Paul.