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Paul F. Callan is one of the founding partners of New York's Callan, Koster, Brady & Brennan, LLP. For the past thirty-eight years, he has built a national reputation as a litigator who handles high profile and sensitive criminal and civil litigation. His varied practice areas include defamation litigation arising from misuse of the internet, medical malpractice, product liability defense, professional liability, business and commercial litigation as well as white-collar criminal defense.
In recent years he has been representing business professionals as well as Directors & Officers in sensitive corporate matters including employment litigation and conflict of interest matters. Prominent business and media figures often seek Paul's counsel when false and embarrassing claims of sexual or other forms of employment harassment are alleged. Given his extensive experience in handling high profile litigation, and his personal experience as a media commentator and consultant, he is considered to be particularly skillful in managing and minimizing adverse publicity.
Some of his more famous clients have included Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ivana Trump, Michelle Rodriguez and Hollywood director, Vadim Pearlman. He also represented the Estate of Nicole Brown Simpson in the infamous civil law suit against NFL star O.J. Simpson. The jury found Simpson liable for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and granted the families a verdict of more than $35,000,000.
In addition to these celebrity cases, Paul has taken on a number of other high profile cases on behalf of some of America's largest corporations and insurance companies.
A roster New York's best and brightest surgeons and physicians have retained Paul when sued for medical malpractice. He has represented physicians involved in medical malpractice cases regarding the fields of ophthalmology, radiology, cardiology, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, psychiatry, orthopedics, plastic surgery, gastroenterology and other fields.
Paul is nationally recognized for his work through the years as a legal commentator and consultant on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. He has appeared as a guest on programs such as The NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, CNN's Morning Shows, National Public Radio's All Thing's Considered, The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour as well as other television programs. He is currently under contract to CNN and has appeared on every major show on the network.
Digital media outlets have also consulted with Paul including The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and Bloomberg News. When breaking legal stories develop he is often quoted by Rueters & Associated Press.
He has debated some of the most famous attorneys in the U.S. on television including Alan Dershowitz and the late William Kunstler. He has also served as an adjunct professor of media law at Seton Hall University. Paul taught the laws of intellectual property, libel, slander, defamation and the First Amendment. He explained that he had to give up teaching because "there are only twenty-four hours in a day" and it was hard balancing his duties as a professor with his law practice and his commitment as a legal commentator and consultant on television. However, the former professor is proud that he made a contribution to his alma mater.
Over the years, Paul has been awarded with several distinctions. He earned an “AV” (pre-eminent) Martindale-Hubbell rating, which is the highest rating presented to any individual lawyer. The American Board of Trial Advocates recognized Paul's reputation as an ethical advocate and skilled litigator. The top-notch attorney has been repeatedly selected as a "Super Lawyer" and Callan, Koster, Brady & Brennan, LLP has been listed in The Bar Register of Preeminent Law Firms, which Martindale explains is "The definitive guide to the most distinguished law firms in America."
Paul was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. He graduated with honors from Seton Hall University and earned his J.D. from Boston College Law School. He attended Seton Hall on a full debate scholarship and was selected in national competition as one of two members of the United States Debate Team. As a representative of The United States, he engaged in parliamentary debate at The United Kingdom's most prestigious universities. He had the privilege of debating against the leader of the British Liberal Party at the Oxford Union's eminent Thursday Evening Debate. Twelve British Prime Ministers have perfected their debating skills at this forum.
After graduating from law school, Paul began his legal career as a prosecutor for the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, the nation's fourth largest jurisdiction. He was promoted to deputy chief of the Homicide Bureau after working in different departments including the Investigations Bureau, the Major Offense Bureau, the Grand Jury, Criminal Court and the Supreme Court. At age twenty-nine, Paul was the youngest lawyer ever to serve in the position of Deputy Chief of the Brooklyn Homicide Bureau. His responsibilities included administrative tasks, trial work, as well as the supervision of all trials and murder investigations in Kings County. Paul was one of the homicide prosecutors assigned to People v. David Berkowitz, also known as the "Son of Sam" serial murder case. As a prosecutor, he participated in hundreds of trials and investigations, which included sex crimes, murder, kidnapping, theft, robbery, domestic violence and complex economic crimes.
When Paul isn't working, he enjoys snowboarding and golf. He is currently reading David Nasaw's The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy. The Super Lawyer is a Boston Red Sox fan and is a frequent visitor of Burger Joint located in Midtown West, NY. He said, "They make the best burgers in New York City."
Paul's Successful Law Career
While at Seton Hall, Paul represented the U.S. in international debate competition as one of two members of the U.S. Debate Team. He toured the United Kingdom debating at its' most eminent universities. He had the opportunity to debate the leader of the British opposition party at the Oxford Union's famous Thursday Evening Debate. What motivated Paul to debate? "What motivated me to debate in college was that I received a scholarship. Seton recruits debaters like college basketball players. Later, there was a national competition to pick the US Debate Team. I entered it and won with a guy from the University of Kansas. I was in the U.K. for five months debating. It was a lot of fun and a fantastic opportunity to polish my public speaking skills, including defending against hecklers in parliamentary debate. Good practice for dealing with angry judges…"
Did Paul receive any awards or participate in any internship that influenced his decision to go into the law? He said what drove him into the law was that he was a high school and collegiate debater.
When asked if he could tell us about his most memorable law school experience, he recalled the following experiences: "I drove a taxi in Boston at night so I could pay my tuition. I learned more about relating to potential jurors in that job than in class."
Why did Paul decide to become an attorney? "Because it's the one profession that gives you access to all professions." He explained that as an attorney he has represented other lawyers, doctors, bankers, celebrities, journalists and entrepreneurs.
What is the best part of his job? "Appearing in court. I like arguing in front of a jury. I also enjoy being a legal commentator for CNN."
The trial lawyer discussed what he is known for professionally. "I am known for cross examination and summation."
What area of the law is Paul most passionate about? "The First Amendment and media law."
Is there an area of practice Paul would like to develop further into? "Yes. Internet oriented litigation. I am seeing more of it now. I am interested in digital and mass media litigation."
So what does Paul think about the legal field today? "I think trial lawyers have a poor public image, but that's something the profession has always struggled with."
If he weren't a lawyer, what would Paul probably be doing? "I would be a college professor."
The Super Lawyer was asked, where do you see yourself in five years time? "Same place as right now. Still practicing law and providing legal commentary on television or to web based news services."
How does the Seton Hall alumnus want to be remembered? "As somebody who used his profession and his skills to help people."
Deputy Chief of the Homicide Bureau and High Profile Cases
Paul began practicing law as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, where he held the position of deputy chief of the Homicide Bureau. How was this experience? "It's the most important and pivotal experience of my legal career because at that time I finished law school and was given the opportunity to try serious felony cases and murder cases. The crime rate was five times greater than it is now. I had the opportunity to try big cases right out of law school. I tried so many cases. It's harder to get trial experience like that today. In the 70's, a lot of cases went to trial."
How did it feel to supervise all murder investigations and trials in Brooklyn, one of the largest jurisdictions in the U.S.? "Best possible experience a young lawyer could have. I and other young D.A.'s were making decisions on murder cases." Paul noted that it was a tremendous experience to serve as the deputy chief of the Homicide Bureau, the fourth largest district in the U.S., when he was twenty-nine years old.
In the summer of 1976, David Richard Berkowitz, also know as the Son of Sam, committed a series of shooting attacks with a .44 caliber Bulldog revolver. The shootings continued for over a year, wounding seven individuals and leaving six victims dead. Berkowitz successfully eluded the New York police and he left bold letters, which stated there would be more murders. The killings terrorized the people of New York City and was highly publicized in the media. The manhunt finally came to an end after the New York police detained Berkowitz in August 1977. Berkowitz was charged for eight shooting incidents and is serving six life sentences consecutively. Paul was one of the prosecutors involved in the "Son of Sam" serial murder case. Was the prosecutor happy with the outcome of the case? "He is still in prison. It was one of the most highly profiled cases in the late 20th century. He was the first serial killer who got truly national press coverage. He is serving multiple life sentences and I doubt he will ever be released. Serial killers were covered closely after David Berkowitz's front and center appearance in the media." What did you learn from your involvement in prosecuting Berkowitz? "It was valuable experience for me as a young lawyer. It taught me how a litigator deals with the media. A prosecutor must be honest, temperate and fair in dealing with the press or he loses credibility."
The Super Lawyer provided counsel to the Estate of Nicole Brown Simpson as well as legal representation in high profile litigation to Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Rodriguez, Ivana Trump and Vadim Pearlman. Will Paul continue to represent high profile clients? "I'm selective about the type of cases I take but I certainly find such matters to be challenging."
At the conclusion of the civil law suit against O.J. Simpson, the jury found Simpson liable for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman awarding a verdict excess of $35,000,000. Were you pleased with this outcome? Where you surprised at how much the verdict was? "I was very pleased with the outcome and I was not surprised with the verdict. Simpson was clearly guilty of murdering his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman in a particularly brutal rage killing. Though he escaped responsibility in the circus-like atmosphere of his criminal case, we proved to the civil jury that he was a murderer. A measure of justice was achieved. "
Legal Contributor to CNN, Non Profit Organizations, Mentoring Others and Paul's Goal
Paul is a legal contributor to CNN providing commentary in high profile legal matters. How long has Paul been doing this and what is appealing about contributing to CNN? "I have provided legal commentary for almost 20 years on television, radio and in the print press. It is interesting and rewarding to talk about the law on T.V. because that is where most Americans get their news. I try to translate the legalise into understandable English as I do in jury trials and to help people understand what really happens in court. CNN practices responsible and ethical journalism and it has been a pleasure working for the network. "
Is Paul involved with any non-profit organizations? "I represent a lot of non-profit organizations through our law firm such as the Boys Club of New York."
Although Paul doesn't have a mentor, he acknowledged that he has mentored many individuals over the years. "I have acted as a mentor to law students and law clerks who work for me. Many have gone on to achieve great success in the legal profession."
Does the former prosecutor have goals? "Continued success for my family, my law firm and getting to snowboard in some Champagne powder wouldn’t hurt either…"