Meet Your SCBA Colleague with Patrick McCormick

By Laura Lane

Early on in your career, from 1988- 1992, you were an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, prosecuting felony cases.
There was a significant amount of work then and there were many trials by fire.

Sounds like a real learning experience.
I learned right away about selfreliance and reaching out. In March 1990 I tried my first felony case and in the same week argued a case before the Court of Appeals. You really did have to learn on the job and build relationships with other prosecutors. I was only 26 then.

Do you remember the details of the felony case?
It was a B felony, an undercover buy and bust. A middle school class came to watch the trial and during a break I spoke to them. One of the kids said that he knew who the defendant was and what corner he sold crack on. Unfortunately, I lost. I learned the importance of jury selection and how to try a case.

Was it difficult going to homicide crime scenes?
It was surreal seeing someone dead. When you were on homicide duty you were on 24-hour call and two times a month you went to the crime scene. My first was off the Throgs Neck Bridge.

But you weren’t alone at the crime scene.
No. There were detectives, onlookers, the medical examiner’s office. My job was always to get a visual of what was going on there. I learned to ask the right questions, so we could eliminate the possible defenses later, which I had to do on the fly. And no one was ever killed during the day. The standard time to show up was 2 or 3 a.m. It was great, great training. We did 10,000 indictments a year.

What was the degree of professionalism of the other people that were involved?
We had some of the best lawyers and prosecutors in the city. Relationships were made. Some of those people are floating around in Suffolk County now and some are judges. We have a similar background and there was, and is a mutual respect.

What was your next job?
I went to a small commercial litigation firm for four years in Garden City, which was a natural progression. Then I went to Certilman, Balin, Adler in East Meadow, the second largest firm on Long Island. That was from 1996 to 2010. I was a partner there for 10 years.

That’s where you met Joe Campolo.
Yes. He was an associate there who started when I became a partner. He left and eventually became general counsel at a technology company. Joe hired me as outside litigation counsel. After that company was sold he opened a solo practice. It grew, and during that time he kept asking me to join him. I always joke with him and say he wore me down. In 2010 I joined as a partner. Relationships really are critical.

You are on the Board of Directors for CAPS and DDI. Is volunteerism important to you?
Yes, as it is to the firm. We all worked really hard to get where we are. There was no silver spoon. I worked at Woodbury Country Club doing maintenance when I was in college. We all believe in giving back. Volunteering is part of the firm’s culture.

What do you like about being an attorney?
I like that every day is different. I like to help people who have problems. And I enjoy the intellectual fight with another attorney.

When did you join the SCBA and why?
I joined in 2010 because I knew the value of being involved with a local bar and the relationships that would come from membership. I immediately went to the Academy to attend the CLE’s.

Would you recommend that young attorneys join?
Yes. I tell young associates all the time that it is important to join and become active. You never know who you will meet. A lot of the work I get is referred to me from other members. There are a lot of really, really good attorneys in the SCBA and they have a lot to offer. The bar association is a very welcoming place.