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Judge Pollack’s Boys: Kavaler, Wang, Chepiga, Seiler, Et al.

Judge Pollack’s Boys: Kavaler, Wang, Chepiga, Seiler, Et al.

Eric J. Seiler of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman did it from 1982 to 1983; Michael J. Chepiga, of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, from 1979 to 1980. Cahill Gordon & Reindel‘s Thomas J. Kavaler served a two-year term, from 1972 to 1974, while Foley & Lardner‘s Peter N. Wang was on board from 1973 to 1974. 

They were all clerks to legendary federal judge Milton Pollack of the Southern District of New York. In the feature article, “Judge Pollack’s Boys,” by Michael Y. Park, in the latest issue of New York Metro Super Lawyers magazine, these attorneys and others swap stories about their mentor, who died in 2004 at the age of 97.

An excerpt:

“[There was] an Italian immigrant whose apartment had been busted into by the FBI on a drug raid, and they had the wrong address. They burst in on the guy, beat the [crap] out of him,” Wang says.

Among the claims the plaintiff made was that the beating had left him unable to work because of permanent injuries to his arm. The judge called in the plaintiff and told him that, though his injuries were horrible, and the injustice obvious, he needed to ask for a more reasonable amount in monetary compensation.

“He says, ‘I was a baseball player in Columbia, and my last year of eligibility, I was sliding into home, and I spiked my arm, as a result of which my whole baseball career was ended,'” Wang says. “He held out his arm and showed that one was longer than the other, then said, ‘But look, I went to law school and became a successful lawyer, and all because of my arm.'”

Pressing the argument that the plaintiff shouldn’t look upon his injury as career-ending, the judge said he’d try to get him the money he’d been asking for. The plaintiff agreed.

Then the judge went to the government.

“He says, ‘This poor old man, minding his own business-the man’s whole life has been ruined!'” Wang says. “‘You’ll be lucky if I could get you off for a million and a half!’ Then he proceeds to tell them same the account of his baseball accident at Columbia.”

The government agreed to pay the plaintiff and both parties walked away convinced they’d gotten the better part of the deal. Afterward, Wang approached the judge.

“I said, ‘Judge, I’ve never heard this story about the arm before.’ And he says, ‘Which arm? This one or this one?'” Wang mimics Judge Pollack making his right arm or his left arm shorter by pulling back his shoulders. There had never been such a baseball injury.

The full story can be found here.

kavalerwangLOW.JPGJudge Milton Pollack flanked by former clerks, and current New York Metro Super Lawyers listees, Thomas J. Kavaler and Peter N. Wang, in the 1990s.

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