Paul H. Tobias Tribute

Stephen R. Bruce

Paul brought a joy  and an optimism to the quest for employee rights that was wonderful to share in and be a part of.

The first time I met him was at the PELA conference on Cape Cod in 1991.  I had read something about PELA and made a 10-hour drive to Cape Cod from Washington, DC, knowing little else. I was sold on PELA as soon as I heard Paul do the “roll call of the States” and speak on “just cause.” But the thing about Paul was that when we were introduced, he talked about how thrilled he was to meet me because I had written a book on pension law, and he had represented the employees in some of the cases in the book — one of which was the only case where employees, rather than the employer, ever recovered “surplus” assets after a company shut down a pension plan.


And then there was Paul’s support and commitment on projects. When Paul arranged for me to speak in Cincinnati a couple of years later at an Ohio PELA conference on ERISA, he didn’t just ask, he picked me up at the airport, had lunch with me, and dropped me off. And when he asked for an article as editor-in-chief of the Employee Rights Quarterly in 1995, he brought the same energy and commitment: he outlined what the article should be about and look like, helped edit it, and even proofed the copy.


Every interaction with Paul was like that. He brought boundless energy, optimism, and the highest values, in addition to his tremendous personal, legal, and communication skills, while letting others take much of the credit.


He will be missed.