Providing Legal Services with Good Humor
I am a trial lawyer first, litigator second, and I represent victims of employment discrimination, civil rights violations (wrongful arrests, wrongful prosecutions and police brutality), and neglectful or dishonest lawyers (legal malpractice, gross overcharges and other misdeeds). Since 1994, I have represented hundreds of individuals in these areas against some of the biggest corporations and biggest law firms, as well as agencies of the City and State of New York. You can see the results and publicity that I have obtained in many of my cases on my Victories page. In 2015 I was given the highest rating, AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell® I have been been asked to give educational sessions to lawyers on various issues pertaining to trial practice, such as opening statements, direct examination, and punitive damages, as well as LGBTQ discrimination, police misconduct against transgender individuals and ethics and the Constitution.
I got my law degree from NYU in 1993, was honored there to be elected to Law Review, and studied under many legal luminaries, who shaped my thinking, including Anthony Amsterdam, Burt Neuborne, Sylvia Law, Chet Mirsky, Pamela Karlan, Sheila Birnbaum and Barry Berke. My undergraduate degree I received in history from Northwestern University, where I participated in intercollegiate debate and had two professors who made me see the world differently, Joseph Epstein and Garry Wills - two writers from the opposite sides of the political spectrum who looked at life, literature and history healthily askance. (Each gave me a B+, a grade I hated, but in retrospect I consider it a accomplishment.) After college, I did not want a typical job, so I traipsed and plodded an unusual eye-opening job as a caseworker for the child welfare agency in New York City, working with mostly poor families trying to stay together and receive the services to do so. After almost three years of that, I entered law school, during which I worked for a former federal Judge in San Francisco, Fern M. Smith, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, and the Federal Defenders in Manhattan. After law school I worked at the litigation department at a large law firm, Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP, where I won an award (and obtained publicity) for the firm for my Pro Bono work. Yearning for something different, I left Weil and saw the other side of the legal profession at the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division, where I made frequent appearances before Judge Judith Scheindlin, aka "Judge Judy." She never embarrassed me in court, I am lucky to say, and once told me, in a moment of candor, "not to be a Kunstler-like obstructionist." I think that advice was a gift, though misplaced; William Kunstler was not an obstructionist - he was a criminal lawyer who knew exactly how far he could go to protect his client. As such, I took her advice as a signal that I should cooperate with the bench where possible, but I have always admired attorneys like Kunstler. As such, promptly after Judy left Family Court for Hollywood, I got her reversed on appeal, because she had made at least one big mistake and I knew I could use it to get my client's charge dismissed (and it was later reduced to a misdemeanor after being sent back to the lower court). Matter of Efrain R., 228 A.D.2d 303 (First Dept.1996).Mostly owing to my curiosity and desire for freedom, after my stint at Legal Aid, I struck out on my own, and I have never (well, rarely) looked back.
In 2003, I wanted to learn what lawyers rarely learn in law school, if in their careers: how to be communicate to a jury. I began to insist on taking cases to trial; I had had many trials in Family Court, but they were always before a judge. I applied and was honored to be selected to attend The Trial Lawyer's College, a three-week seminar, followed by graduate programs, in DuBois, Wyoming for experienced plaintiff's attorneys run by the renown trial lawyer, Gerry Spence. I've also attended lawyers' trial-practice programs at the National Criminal Defense College Trial Practice Institute in Macon, Georgia and the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre Improv Skills Program in New York.In 2012, and on through 2015 I have been nominated by my peers in the legal profession to be named a "SuperLawyer." (There are over 160,000 lawyers in New York State, and about 6,000 are named SuperLawyers.)
My teacher, Gerry Spence, with me in 2003
Gregory Antollino, Esq.
Most cases – mine or any other lawyer’s – settle, but I crave a case that I can take to trial unless the client is happy with the settlement offered. As a lawsuit comes into my office, and as it crawls into life, I think about how a jury would perceive my client and the evidence and imagine myself giving a closing argument, developing a theme, a story, and learning to love the case. In the last fifteen years, I have had two hung juries, but of the cases that did not settle and went to verdict, every jury that I have appeared before that has rendered a decision has given my client more than what he or she (or I) expected.
Summary judgment is usually the tool of the defense – sometimes the plaintiff – and is a mechanism that seeks to have the case decided without a jury. I have won the overwhelming majority of these motions when opposing them for my clients seeking a trial (I have lost a few & no attorney can win them all). On four occasions, I won them for my clients who wanted to hold the other side legally responsible without the jury's input - a much more difficult result to achieve, usually, especially in the areas of law I practice.
I am well versed in appeals, whether supporting them or opposing them, and have listed my wins on my "Victories" page.
I am also accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
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