1 Wilson Elser Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP Wemedia A letter from the Chairman Thomas W. Wilson Chairman of the Executive Committee Things were not quite the same this year at our Partners Meeting. We were missing the face of one partner not with us. As you know our dear friend and partner, Keith Von Glahn passed away suddenly this summer. It was a shock to everyone. Keith was always a delight to be with. He always could be counted on for a smile and his natural ebullience was a gift he shared readily with everyone. He made everyone feel special. He was handsome too. This rare combination of magnetic energy and spirit, and his quick intellect, made him a great lawyer. Always dependable and always there to help, Keith was a friend to all. We will all miss this very special person. Keith personified the best in us. He connected with everyone and we are all blessed in the knowledge that part of that connection is his gift to us. Use it well. Farewell to this wonderful man Vo l u m e 2 0, F a l l I s s u e, Defense Attorney of Distinction wilsonelser.com Wilson Elser succeeding in toxic tort defense For more than 25 years, Wilson Elser has defended businesses in cases involving exposure to toxic materials and substances. Toxic tort litigation is a complex legal process, often involving large numbers of plaintiffs, and claims in multiple jurisdictions. Firm attorneys experienced in this area have racked up victories for clients across a range of industries. One such attorney is M. Douglas Eisler (Partner- Philadelphia). Over the past year, he has won four cases in a row in which plaintiffs alleged injury from exposure to M. Douglas Eisler asbestos. The cases involved two defendants, one a retail giant and the other a division of a global aircraft and automotive company. Continued on page 4 Paul PJ Bottari (Partner-Metro New York) says a lawyer s success in the courtroom is part hard work, part luck. But luck had nothing to do with this 30-year firm veteran being honored by a New York Jewish organization. It was PJ s reputation as a talented litigator that earned him kudos. The Institute of Jewish Humanities named PJ its Defense Attorney of Distinction at its 28th annual testimonial dinner on June 13. He was one of four professionals honored for contributions in their respective fields. Paul J. Bottari In bestowing the honor on PJ, the Institute noted his outstanding work in defense litigation in catastrophic personal injury and other areas. Also 2007 WEMED University Continued on page 2 WEMED University was host to 35 executives from 24 insurers and 11 countries in September. The conclave gathered in New York to discuss legal trends in their business from Bermuda, China, England, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Sweden, and Switzerland. The curriculum for the week-long seminar included lectures on topics of interest to the insurance community such as the exposures presented by global warming and nanotechnology. Faculty members from Wilson Continued on page 3
2 2 Wemedia Defense Attorney of Distinction from page 1 acknowledged was PJ s published work, including A Complete Guide to Lead Paint Poisoning Litigation, a book he coauthored with Michael L. Boulhosa (Partner-Metro New York) for the American Bar Association. According to Rabbi Pinchus Wechter, Dean of the Institute, recipients are honored not only for their professional achievements, but for their commitment to principles like justice and tolerance. Rabbi Wechter founded the Institute in 1979 as a forum to promote Jewish education, as well as religious, ethnic and racial harmony. We chose PJ for this honor because we believe he espouses the same philosophies as the Institute respect for all peoples, religions and races. PJ s talents as a defense litigator are even heralded in the opposing camp the plaintiffs bar. In fact, it was a plaintiffs lawyer who nominated PJ for the award from the Institute. Mitchell J. Sassower of Arye-Lustig & Sassower told those gathered for the Institute s awards ceremony that he considers PJ the best defense lawyer in New York. As a senior litigation partner with Wilson Elser, PJ takes on some of the toughest cases in the office. These are matters in a wide array of areas, including high-profile negligence actions involving personal injury, premises liability and construction accidents. He has handled numerous cases that demand a familiarity with sophisticated medical issues, such as asbestos exposure and lead paint poisoning. PJ s cases frequently involve claims by plaintiffs in the millions of dollars. In most of the cases I try, the exposure is significant, he said. With these large-exposure cases, there is often an incentive for resolution before verdict. In fact, settling a case before or during trial is a common scenario, and often leads to an acceptable, if not favorable, outcome for the defense. When he became an attorney after graduating from the University of Notre Dame and Fordham University School of Law he found himself observing other lawyers methods in the courtroom and critiquing them. Soon, he developed his own style and sense of confidence. I was up against some of the top lawyers in New York, he recalled. I learned with, and against, the best. PJ, himself, has been acknowledged to be among the best. He is one of two attorneys in the New York office and five firmwide to be included in the American Board Paul J. Bottari was named Defense Attorney of Distinction by the Institute of Jewish Humanities at its 28th annual testimonial dinner. of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). ABOTA is a national organization of preeminent trial lawyers and judges who promote the right to a civil jury trial, as guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment. You have to be approved by 85 percent of the organization s members to be accepted into ABOTA. he said. My membership is one of the things I am most proud of. PJ is one of the busiest trial lawyers at the firm and has been for the last 25 years, said Richard S. Klein (Partner-Metro New York). Rich describes his colleague as a litigator who is willing to take on even the toughest cases. Many of the cases sent his way are in late stages they have not been settled and must be tried. PJ will pick up a case for anyone at the firm at any point. He s fearless in that way, said Rich. PJ s standing among his peers has also meant frequent opportunities to lecture on legal topics. He was Co-Chair of the National Mealey s Lead Seminar in 1997 and 1998, and has been a speaker at various national and local lead seminars. In 2005, he lectured before New York state judges at the Summer Judicial Seminar on Trial Issues and Jury Charges for Labor Law Cases. He also contributed to the firm s annual publication of Punitive Damages and Unfair Claims Settlement Practices: A State- By-State Analysis from Even with his heavy caseload, PJ manages to volunteer in his community of Mamaroneck, NY. He is active in the Muscular Dystrophy Association and is a founding member of the Larchmont- Mamaroneck Basketball Association. PJ s wife, Susan, is a school nurse at Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont. She is a former head nurse at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Their children are Laura, an education and mathematics major in her junior year at Syracuse University, and Paul, who is a sophomore at Mamaroneck High School. The fact that PJ is not Jewish, but rather a Roman Catholic, was no deterrent to his receiving honors from the Institute of Jewish Humanities, said Rabbi Wechter, since the organization has an ecumenical bent. He was chosen because he works with all religions and races to make a better society based on tolerance and respect, the rabbi said. Besides, he s a great lawyer!
3 WEMED University from page 1 Elser also provided updates on recent developments including electronic discovery, arbitration, product liability, intellectual property, maritime law, aviation law, transportation law, directors and officers liability, employment law, class actions, Sarbanes- Oxley, environmental law, toxic torts and asbestos litigation. Wilson Elser s WEMED University program, offered every other year, started in It now has more than 1,000 alumni. This year s program offered students an opportunity to broaden their understanding of U.S. law and its procedures. It also gave the chance for many to see their first American baseball game (the Yankees won!), to enjoy a twilight sail in Manhattan harbor and to visit our state and federal courts. A good time was had by all. Wilson Elser s 2007 WEMED University
4 4 Wemedia Wilson Elser succeeding in toxic tort defense from page 1 In the four to cite in this case. Julie has cases, the respective plaintiffs committed to the of entities in Our client was defended a host claimed that exposure to asbestos in fighting the tion, including expense involved asbestos litiga- caused them to claim and won. manufacturers develop asbestosis, and distributors Walter S. colon cancer, lung of asbestos-containing products Jenkins (Partnercancer and P h i l a d e l p h i a ), m esothelioma. and equipment Walter S. Jenkins Julie R. Evans who also handles Carolyn F. O Connor Each case ended such as gaskets, toxic tort cases, in a jury verdict for the defendants. In fact, pipe covering and joint compound, as well agreed that defending against liability claims, Doug s clients were the only ones among as owners of premises where there is rather than questioning medical claims, is multiple defendants in these cases whose asbestos on-site. Her clients have ranged often the key to winning asbestos cases. claims went to verdict. from businesses employing fewer than half It is very difficult in today s world to a dozen workers to Fortune 500 companies. Asbestos cases are a real challenge think you are going to win one of these because prospective jurors come in with a The advantage that Wilson Elser cases on a medical defense, said Walt. In bias, Doug said. Everyone believes offers to these defendants is our experience asbestos cases, there often is a natural sympathy on the part of the jury for a plaintiff asbestos is a carcinogen. While asbestos in this area across a large number of exposure can cause cancer in certain situations, not all such claims by plaintiffs prove position in the firm s Environmental and offices, said Julie, who holds a leadership who presents with illness. Typically, the plaintiffs are making claims against more to have merit. From the defense attorney s Toxic Tort Practice Group and chairs the than one defendant. The goal is to get perspective, the question that must be asked Latent Injury sub-practice group. We have your particular client extracted from the is: Did the client s particular product cause thousands of cases in each of the offices case by refuting the liability claim, Walt the problem. where we are representing asbestos clients, said. If you can t, then the approach would she said. In addition to Philadelphia and Many times you have to work to be to get the appropriate doctors as expert New York, asbestos cases have been handled in New Jersey, Texas, Chicago, and remind jurors that this is not an asbestos witnesses and mount a medical defense. case, it is a product liability case, Doug said. Walt and Doug pointed out that the other offices of the firm. An example is a case he handled for a retail Philadelphia area historically has yielded company that sold asbestos-containing Many are mass tort cases in which large numbers of asbestos cases many of brake products. The plaintiff claimed that lawsuits are filed across the country with the them stemming from the shipbuilding he had been exposed to asbestos while same allegations, Julie pointed out. Wilson industry in the area. While the majority of doing automotive work at home. He Elser offers these clients coordination of the shipyards have closed or been converted changed the brakes in the family cars himself over a number of years from the 1960s self, has litigated asbestos cases extensively defense in multiple jurisdictions. Julie, her- to other uses, asbestos cases continue to be filed. to the 1980s. He alleged that he had developed mesothelioma a rare type of cancer Changing landscape of litigation defense of clients in Baltimore; Washington, in New York, but also has coordinated the that affects the lining of the lungs, heart or D.C.; Virginia; Delaware; San Francisco; Los abdomen as a result of exposure to Since the 1970s, when many of these Angeles; and other venues. In these cases, asbestos in the brakes he installed. cases were first being fought in the courts, all the law firms representing clients in the the focus has shifted from manufacturers of individual claims report to Wilson Elser as After much research, Doug and his asbestos products and industries using the coordinating counsel, and we report to team were able to determine that the plaintiff had been exposed to raw asbestos fibers sold products containing asbestos. asbestos in the workplace to retailers that the corporation or insurance company being represented, Julie explained. in insulation products while working in an industrial plant during World War II. Many of the manufacturers of Advantages for clients There had been a number of lawsuits asbestos products have gone into bankruptcy because of lawsuits, said Julie R. Evans With a decades-long history of litigat- involving asbestos exposure coming out of that plant, Doug said. Many of those (Deputy Managing Partner-New York). ing asbestos cases, Wilson Elser has access claiming illness had worked at the plant at Julie, who has handled toxic tort cases for to the best defense experts in areas like epidemiology, pathology, industrial hygiene and the same time, and in the same department, more than 20 years, has seen the litigation as the plaintiff in Doug s case. landscape evolve. With the deep pockets pulmonary medicine. This is a distinct of the large companies that made asbestos advantage for clients, Julie said. Our attorneys also keep abreast of the medical litera- We sifted through hundreds of depositions in those cases to find the right ones have been targeted for new lawsuits. ture and legal developments in the products gone, other kinds of businesses field.
5 5 While winning a case at trial is the goal for some defendants, others are looking to take another route to resolving claims. With businesses facing multimillion-dollar exposures and the John R. Henderson potential for much negative publicity, settling asbestos cases is often the option chosen. Julie has settled cases individually and in small groups. She also has negotiated settlements of groups of cases numbering in the thousands. In one situation, she negotiated settlement of several thousand personal injury cases at once, utilizing a structured settlement vehicle that saved the client millions of dollars in indemnity payments alone. Carolyn F. O Connor (Partner-New Jersey) also stressed the firm s cost-saving mind-set for clients. Our New Jersey asbestos docket is efficient and economical, she said. After filing the appropriate responsive pleading to preserve our client s defenses, we look for a medical causation report from the plaintiff. If there is no statute of limitations defense, the plaintiff s report provides a credible medical causation opinion, and the plaintiff has identified our client s product or premises as a factor, we look for a quick and economically feasible resolution. In the long run, the client saves money by avoiding the high costs of protracted discovery and litigation. We pride ourselves on resolution strategies including dispositive motion practice that work for our clients. Whether by trial, settlement, dismissal or motion, Wilson Elser handles toxic tort cases in a manner that is both effective and cost-efficient, according to the attorneys practicing in this area. It is no surprise, then, that the firm has developed an extensive portfolio of cases. Casting a wide net Asbestos is just one substance that spawns toxic tort cases. Other litigation handled by the firm involves lead paint, mold, silica, heavy metals, benzene, welding rod fumes, and so-called sick buildings. At Wilson Elser, environmental and toxic tort cases make up one practice area. As such, the firm has a c o m p r e h e n s ive practice that also includes cases Tori S. Levine involving pollution from oil spills and contamination from dump sites. Toxic tort cases have a natural link with other practice categories. For example, mold cases defended by Carolyn in the New Jersey office could also be considered premises liability cases. Some of Carolyn s cases have involved high-rise buildings in New York City, where water leaking from roofs or air conditioners permeated the walls and floors of the buildings and caused mold. Plaintiffs have claimed the mold triggered their allergies or other symptoms. All of these cases involve a complex and ever-changing body of law. Wilson Elser has spent more than two decades devoting its resources to becoming a leader in this field, marshaling attorneys, paralegals, law clerks and legal investigators into a team that spans the country. Most recently, the firm has added three new partners in Texas who have wide experience in toxic tort litigation. John R. Henderson (Partner-Dallas), Tori S. Levine (Partner-Dallas) and Bryan D. Pollard (Partner-Dallas) have been practicing toxic tort litigation in Texas for many years. John has had a sizable portfolio of asbestos clients during his 30 years as an attorney. In fact, he calls asbestos the poster child of toxic tort litigation. With asbestos now removed from most products, everyone thinks this kind of litigation is going to end but it just doesn t, he remarked. John currently does asbestos defense work for several leading automobile companies. I coordinate groups of their expert witnesses in various science disciplines and assist with science defense on a national level, John said. He does not do individual defense in cases for these companies, but rather locates defense experts and prepares them for trial. In addition, John s clients include a large chemical company that owns facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast. Claims Bryan D. Pollard have been made that as premise owners, they were negligent in not protecting the workers in those facilities. One of the cases he is handling for an automotive client deals with an interesting aspect of asbestos defense. The case involves so-called take-home exposure to asbestos. A family member of a contract worker in an auto manufacturing plant claimed injury from asbestos brought home on the clothes of the worker. This case examines the legal duty of the premise owner, John said. Should someone not exposed to asbestos on-site be able to make a claim against the owner of a facility? Though the defense lost at the trial level, the case is being appealed. If successful, it will set significant boundaries for liability in these kinds of cases. Other toxic tort cases that John has litigated involve welding rod fumes. Exposure to such fumes has been linked to a variety of diseases, including a Parkinson s-like syndrome. In a case filed in Galveston last year for a manufacturer of welding equipment, a team composed of John and Bryan secured a defense verdict. Going back 30 years, there have been two waves of cases involving welding rod fumes, John said. The first was in the 1970s and 1980s when workers were claiming that the fumes had caused respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Science did not support those claims, John stated. The second wave came about five years ago, after an Illinois court awarded $1 million in a case in which a person claimed welding fumes caused a condition similar to Parkinson s disease. There have been about a dozen trials since then, and only one other plaintiff verdict, John said. As a result of the string of defense verdicts, there is a question as to where this type of litigation will go. Continued on page 6
6 6 Wemedia Wilson Elser succeeding in toxic tort defense from page 5 The other hot toxic tort at the moment is benzene, John said. Benzene is found in many petroleum-based products. It is in a lot of products you would not think of, from spray paint to gasoline, John pointed out. Exposure to high levels of benzene can cause a particular form of leukemia. Workers who typically are exposed to significant amounts of benzene are those involved in chemical manufacturing, petrochemical refining and distribution, rubber manufacturing, printing, leatherwork and shoe making. Health problems may arise from large exposures over long periods of time, not from pumping gas or using a can of spray paint, John said. The plaintiffs bar, however, maintains there is no safe level of exposure. As a result, cases are springing up involving trace benzene. In these cases, workers such as painters, carpenters, pipe fitters and plumbers who may have been exposed to solvents containing small amounts of benzene are becoming litigants. An aggressive plaintiffs bar No matter the substance in question, the defense must present a sound case based on science to win toxic tort cases at trial, John said. The real challenge is making the science understandable for the juries. You need to get the science explained through opening statements, cross-examination of the plaintiffs expert witnesses, and the testimony of your witnesses. The plaintiffs bar uses a multimedia campaign to find potential toxic tort clients, from billboards to television commercials to advertisements in newspapers and radio. You can drive down along the Gulf Coast of Texas and there will be billboards giving a phone number for potential plaintiffs to call, John said. Other common practices used by the plaintiffs bar to draw in clients are referrals from doctors and free medical screenings of union workers who might have been exposed to toxic chemicals and substances. Fighting cases in which there is such an organized offense takes determination and savvy. One measure John and his colleague Tori Levine have taken is to become well versed in dealing with the media. Both John and Tori have assisted companies affected by mass torts in presenting their side in newspapers and on radio and television. Tori worked with a large chemical company that was sued over alleged injuries from silicone breast implants. She helped the company prepare responses to media inquiries and frame its position regarding the litigation. Tori traveled around the country, talking on national television and radio about the lack of scientific merit in the breast implant litigation. She met with chambers of commerce at the request of her client, and even took part in presentations to the media with doctors, other lawyers, and a spokesperson for the company. In addition to her experience in media and communications, Tori serves as national coordinating counsel in the defense of a contractor involved in asbestos litigation. She also handles premises liability work for major auto companies. With dogged and knowledgeable defense attorneys across the country, Wilson Elser has given businesses dealing with toxic tort claims efficient and thorough defense throughout the years. In a climate in which businesses face increasing numbers of these lawsuits and potentially costly claims, Wilson Elser is at the ready to defend. Let s follow up... Left to Right: Dicky Grigg, President of the International Association of Trial Lawyers, Patrick Kelly (Partner-Los Angeles), Gail Kelly, Pat s wife, and Walter Lack, IATL member. Patrick M. Kelly Named ATL Fellow Patrick M. Kelly (Western Regional Managing Partner- Los Angeles) was named a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL) in April. Membership in the IATL is by invitation only and is limited to 500 active trial lawyers from the United States, 50 Judicial Fellows and 100 Fellows from more than 40 countries throughout the world. Chairman of the Executive Committee Thomas W. Wilson Sr. said, We congratulate Pat on this high professional honor and recognize that his achievement also demonstrates the caliber of the attorneys at Wilson Elser. The Academy honors those who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials, trials before the court, and appellate practice. Members, drawn from around the world, are engaged in civil practice on both the plaintiffs and defendants sides of the courtroom, and in the trial of criminal cases.
7 Dean Simon 7 Michelle S. Simon, who was an Associate with Wilson Elser in the 1980s, is serving as interim dean of the Pace University School of Law in White Plains. Michelle was named to the position in June, succeeding Stephen J. Friedman, who became interim president of Pace University. In announcing Michelle s appointment, Friedman noted her breadth in scholarship, teaching and administration. Michelle has been a member of the Pace law faculty since 1985 and a full professor since 2003, teaching criminal law, civil procedure and legal writing. Her administrative experience included acting as associate dean of academic affairs and directing the school s programs in judicial studies and legal writing. Michelle spent four years at Wilson Elser before leaving to take a teaching position at Pace Law School. What I remember most about Wilson Elser in the early 1980s is that it was a small, but up-and-coming, firm, Michelle said recently. She liked the feel of the firm, even during her job interview. I chose Wilson Elser because I was very impressed with the work I would be able to do there. I knew I would get involved with litigation right away and would not just be pushing paper around. She was working on these cases under the guidance of Michael D. Glatt (Partner- Metro New York). Mike was a wonderful partner to work for, she said. He was my mentor in many ways and taught me things that I continue to teach the students today. Michelle s mentor has distinct memories of their early association as well. I remember how effectively and efficiently Michelle worked, said Michael, how well she wrote and what a wonderful work ethic she had. He also recalled that she was a self-starter and had good instincts and judgment. Despite her enthusiasm for the practice of law, Michelle s ultimate goal was to teach at a law school. I had always been interested in teaching, even while working at the law firm. The path to becoming a law school professor was to first be a federal law clerk and then to work at a firm. Before joining Wilson Elser, she had already completed one leg of that journey. After graduating from the State University of New York at Albany and the Syracuse University College of Law, she clerked for Judge A. Simon Chrein, a Magistrate for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. While working at the federal court, she met another clerk, Thomas A. Leghorn (Partner-Metro New York), who was later hired along with her at Wilson Elser. Tom, who focuses on intellectual property and professional liability, got to know Michelle S. Simon Michelle when they shared an office at the federal courthouse in Having prestigious clerkships, the two often received letters of invitation to interview for jobs at Wall Street law firms. But we chose Wilson Elser because it was the only firm that year sending young lawyers into federal court to do work other than carrying the briefcases of other lawyers, Tom recalled. We wanted to be real lawyers, and Wilson Elser offered us that opportunity. At the time, Michelle was doing product liability, including fireworks, he remembered. Her office was always full of the offending fireworks from clients. One of her cases involved small fireworks known as poppers, for the loud popping noise they make when thrown at the ground. Whenever I would annoy Michelle, she would throw one of those things at the wall behind me, Tom recalled, laughing. After four years at the firm doing product liability and insurance defense work, Michelle s life was about to change she was expecting a baby. The firm was only a few years old, she recalled, and I was the first associate there to become pregnant. In fact, I helped put together a maternity policy for associates. After her baby was born, she wondered how she would handle the demands of motherhood and a busy legal practice. The timing was right for me to turn to teaching, she said. I went back to Wilson Elser, but then decided to pursue what had always been my goal. Michelle applied to Pace Law School and was offered a teaching position. She decided quickly that she had made the right move. I came to Pace originally to teach legal writing, then became a tenure track faculty member. I got tenure and ultimately became associate dean of academic affairs, a post she held for five years. She would like to be considered for the position of law school dean on a permanent basis. It was a condition of my taking the interim post, Michelle said. She is uncertain how long it might be before the school s board decides who will ultimately take the reins. In the meantime, she said, she looks forward to strengthening Pace Law School s national reputation. Her experiences as an attorney and professor of law have yielded many opportunities for Michelle to pursue another of her loves writing. She has authored or coauthored 17 articles and book chapters on a wide variety of legal topics. Michelle is not the only Wilson Elser alumnus involved with guiding Pace Law School. Jerold R. Ruderman (Managing Partner-White Plains) sits on the school s Board of Visitors, which advises the law school and the dean. Jerry is one of the original members of the board, which was created about 10 years ago. So it seems that Michelle really has not left Wilson Elser behind. Two decades later, she has friends, mentors and advisers at the firm. We wish her continued success.
8 8 Wemedia Keith G. Von Glahn, 55, a Partner in our New Jersey office, passed away July 23, His loss is felt by all those he worked with at Wilson Elser. Keith, a 23-year veteran of the firm, is remembered as much for his caring attitude as for his hard work. A resident of Short Hills, NJ, Keith was married and the father of three children. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Judith, and his daughters, Courtney, Ashley and Hilary. At the funeral, Keith was eulogized by James C. Orr (Managing Partner-New Jersey). Jim described Keith as generous without an expectation of reward or notoriety. He recalled Keith walking the hallways of Wilson Elser s Newark office with a smile on his face and a cheering word of encouragement for all he met. Jim said Keith brought intense focus to his work, along with a steady commitment to clients. He characterized his colleague as a warrior lawyer who was in his element in the courtroom. Keith was determined to give all his clients an unrelenting defense. Keith would never capitulate in a court fight and he rarely lost, Jim said. In recent times, Keith secured a remarkable string of victories for clients. During the year or so prior to his death, he had taken 13 cases to jury verdict. All but one resulted in defense wins, and the sole adverse decision is on appeal. In Memoriam Keith Von Glahn Many of Keith s cases were in the area of medical malpractice defense. Tina A. Jordan (Partner-New Jersey) worked closely with him on these kinds of cases. According to Tina, Keith was a great guy to work with. She handled cases with him for 12 years. Tina recalled Keith as a lawyer who was aggressive, but a gentleman. She said Keith had charisma that gave him an edge with juries. He could sell ice to Eskimos, she joked. Juries loved him. Like any good litigator, Keith conveyed an air of confidence in the courtroom, Tina said, yet he never took any jury verdict for granted. It may have been the inherent uncertainty of the jury system that fostered another side of Keith s personality. He was superstitious, Tina remarked. She said Keith kept what might be called a lucky notebook. He had the same notebook for every trial and he felt he had to write down every word he would use in his summations. One superstition had a payoff for his colleagues. Bringing in donuts to the office after a win was Keith s way of offering something up to the jury gods, Tina said. And there were rules for the ritual. A directed decision from a judge never triggered the donut fest, she explained. It had to be a jury decision! While a sense of fun was very much a part of Keith s nature, Tina said, so was a serious regard for those he worked with. He never raised his voice and was very protective of everyone in his group, she said. William J. Riina (Partner-New Jersey) agreed that Keith was not only a fine lawyer, but had exceptional people skills. Keith WEMEDIA would connect very easily with people, Bill remembered. Bill and Keith were personal friends who got to know each other over nearly 20 years working together in the Newark office. We would go back and forth to each other s offices and talk about what was going on in our lives, Bill said. During those chats, Keith never dwelled on his own interests or accomplishments. When you got into a discussion with Keith, he always would show an interest in you and what was happening in your life. He would make sure he would find out what your kids had done and where you had been on vacation. He showed a genuine interest in others that is something that is rare. When eulogizing Keith, Jim told of finding a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt under the glass on Keith s desk. For Jim, the quote perfectly summed up Keith s life and aspirations: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. This is a quarterly publication of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP All Rights Reserved 2007 wilsonelser.com Albany Baltimore Boston Chicago Connecticut Dallas Houston Las Vegas London Long Island Los Angeles Miami New Jersey New York Orlando Philadelphia San Diego San Francisco Virginia Washington, D.C White Plains AFFILIATES Berlin Cologne Frankfurt Mexico City Munich Paris +33 (0)