Via The Heart of Law: We are honored to welcome back Mike Papantonio, or “Pap” as he is affectionately known, a senior partner at the Levin Papantonio Rafferty law firm. With a series of multimillion-dollar verdicts under his belt, he is a trailblazer in the field of mass tort litigation, having handled thousands of cases across the nation. Pap’s unwavering commitment to seeking justice for victims of corporate greed has helped establish Levin Papantonio Rafferty as one of the preeminent plaintiff law firms in the country.
As Mirena Umizaj and her esteemed colleague exchange pleasantries, she extends her heartfelt congratulations on his daughter’s decision to embark on a journey in the legal field. They begin discussing advice for aspiring young lawyers, and the topic of the legacy case arises. Undoubtedly, it is imperative to leave a lasting impact and make a meaningful contribution to the legal landscape. Pap offers sage advice and commends Mirena on her own exceptional progress, urging others to emulate her trailblazing ways. He generously provides a roadmap for success, encouraging young lawyers to exhibit the courage to take on a monumental case. They should not cower in the face of rejection or the possibility of failure, but instead understand that the law of averages dictates that risks must be taken. To avoid becoming a mere “Joe Schmoe”, one must have the fortitude to blaze new trails, take chances, and leave an imprint on the legal community. Additionally, he proudly unveils his latest merchandise, a series of t-shirts bearing the slogan “America’s Lawyer”. The rationale behind this branding is to “inspire young lawyers to strive towards becoming the best legal professionals in their respective communities”, with the potential to earn the moniker of “America’s Lawyer” in their own right.
Pap highlights the incredible feats of lawyers who have taken on insurmountable cases and triumphed against all odds. He discusses his friend Rob Billot’s harrowing experience with a PFAS case in Columbus, Ohio, which ultimately resulted in a settlement of nearly a billion dollars. Mike emphasizes that these lawyers did not view these cases as a cakewalk but as an opportunity to make a significant impact. He also recounts his own journey, meeting Mirena, and learning about the necessity of careful planning, tenacity, and a network of experienced professionals to succeed in the legal field.
In a captivating exchange, Mirena and Pap delve into the entanglement of Wall Street with the legal industry. Pap boldly forecasts a major lawsuit looming on the horizon and uncovers a series of scams involving case acquisition individuals peddling cases to multiple entities. In mass torts, politics come into play, and Pap emphasizes the importance of having confidence in oneself in the legal field. He compares it to a “matador facing a bull, confident enough to turn his back and get on one knee”. Similarly, a lawyer must have the courage to face challenging situations without fear. He acknowledges that there will always be people who try to interfere with one’s work and outdo them, but it is important to remain focused on the task at hand and not be distracted by petty “sophomoric rivalries”. Pap humorously refers to this as “Italian Alzheimer’s” – forgetting everything except those who have wronged you.