Pulling Back The Curtain
In his ongoing web series "Pulling Back the Curtain," New York City attorney Paul Edelstein explains his philosophy on the true power of the civil justice system.
About Paul Edelstein
Paul Edelstein is the son of a Brooklyn attorney who is the son of a Brooklyn attorney. The law runs deep in his family, with his father, brother, uncle, aunt and cousin all currently practicing attorneys as well. They learned how to litigate at an early age. “Growing up,” Paul says, “when we sat around the dinner table, you were expected to voice your own opinion, not just accept what someone else was saying - even if it was my father. And you had to support what you believed in. You had better be prepared to do so because if not, you were going to be sorry. In a very real way, I guess without really knowing it, this was great training for my future career.”
Edelstein’s grandfather and namesake was a prominent Brooklyn “Court Street Lawyer” and his father, Saul Edelstein, was known as “The Dean of Divorce,” while practicing matrimonial law for four decades in all five boroughs. Paul has gone in a bit of a different direction. “Personal injury law appeals to me for a number of reasons but first and foremost is that it’s a way to help people, including people who most of the time wouldn’t otherwise be able to hire a competent attorney. Unfortunately, lawyers, particularly personal injury lawyers, have a bad reputation. But my father and his father always believed the law is a noble profession. I believe it as well. We are at our best when we are there to help those who are the most vulnerable and that is exactly what we are supposed to do We can change lives. We can make a difference. That’s what drives me and it’s where my passion truly lies.”
Edelstein did not originally think law would be his chosen field. While an undergraduate at SUNY Albany, he was an English major with a minor in biology with a particular love of human anatomy. An accomplished writer and published author, his ability to construct a compelling narrative has proven to be a critical skill in front of a jury or a judge. His love of biology and anatomy has proven useful in helping him dig deep into the details of complicated medical questions and the cross examinations of long practicing physicians in specialized fields.
Since graduating from Brooklyn Law School in 1994, Paul has been involved in landmark personal injury cases, most notably that of Magomed Abdusalamov, a professional heavyweight boxer from Russia who suffered a devastating brain injury as a result of inadequate medical treatment he received after a match at Madison Square Garden. Edelstein was successful in obtaining a settlement of $22 million for Abdusalamov and has since become a leading advocate for the implementation of “Mago’s Law,” which would require combat sports participants who sustain any signs of a suspected brain injury to immediately enter the medical scheme of care which would include observation by trained physicians or immediate CT scans which could rule out traumatic brain injuries.
"We want to partner with the state for safety reform," Edelstein said. "These guys (athletes) are left to their own means; that's what happened to Mago and we don't want to see it happen again."
In addition to his law practice, Edelstein has founded and serves as CEO for two non-profit charities – the Catskill Clearwater Fund, which works to battle invasive plant species in Catskill Mountain Lakes and The Sunset Park Kids a group engaged in the beautification of the Brooklyn neighborhood he is proud to live in by the planting and caring for tree wells and the creation of murals on building walls where previously only graffiti had existed. He is a member of the board of trustees of the International School of Brooklyn, which is the only Northeastern School teaching children by way of a full language immersion International Baccalaureate curriculum. He is also the head coach of his sons’ soccer and baseball teams.
He and his wife Maritza a native Dominican, live in Brooklyn with their two sons. If you aren’t convinced by now that his life and his love is the law, just ask him to tell you the story of how he and his wife met. The answer will not be the least bit surprising.