PSS Winter '13


Fateful Encounters

by Katie Kilfoyle Remis

Patrick Solomon ’92

FIRST JOB: Associate, Nixon Peabody in Rochester, N.Y.

CURRENT JOB: Founding Partner, Thomas & Solomon LLP

Patrick Solomon ’92 credits his success as a litigator in part to qualities he honed while playing competitive sports, including earning three National Championships with the Hobart lacrosse team.

“Through playing lacrosse at Hobart, I learned a lot about the will to succeed, improving yourself and the dedication that is necessary to reach competitive levels,” he says. “Those strengths carry through into my profession,” he continues. “The legal profession is governed by strong ethics. We are zealous in representing our clients, but we also need to be fair.”

Fairness is the cornerstone of Solomon’s practice at Thomas & Solomon LLP, in Rochester, N.Y., where he is a founding partner. Currently, he concentrates on national wage and hour, class and collective action litigation. He has represented hundreds of thousands of employees and recovered back wages resulting in tens of millions of dollars for clients.

But it wasn’t always that way: his first job out of Cornell Law School was at Nixon Peabody in Rochester, N.Y., where Solomon defended companies in actions brought against them by employees. He remembers one case where he represented an insurance company against claims filed by a 29-year-old with diabetes who really needed his benefits.

The insurance company was within its legal rights to deny insurance to the employee, but the experience and outcome were disheartening. “That kind of experience is not rewarding at all, to say the least,” says Solomon.

It wasn’t until he accepted an offer to speak at a luncheon about protections offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act as a favor to a friend that Solomon realized there was more he could do with his expertise.

“At the event, I met a woman who was a teacher and had lupus. She needed to reduce her schedule because of her medical condition. But the district said they would fire her if she couldn’t work full time,” recalls Solomon, who counseled the family about her rights.

“Their gratitude was huge and the experience was very moving,” he continues. “And I suddenly saw that I could flip it by representing employees. Instantly, I was helping individuals more than I ever thought I could.”

As a result of his efforts, Solomon has received several awards including Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award, which honors leaders who have made a significant contribution to the Rochester community, and the Monroe County Bar Association’s President’s Award.

The recognition he values the most is the Leaders in Law award by The Daily Record, which he received for his “leadership within the legal community, outstanding achievements within his practice and for demonstrating a selfless and tireless commitment to volunteer efforts and pro bono work.”

“The Leaders in Law award was especially rewarding because of the caliber of others who had received it before me,” says Solomon. “I was humbled to be included with them, and to earn it when I was quite a bit younger than most recipients.”

But if you’d asked the young man wearing Statesmen purple and orange 20 years ago where he’d end up, employment law was the last thing on his mind.

“It’s ironic that I ended up in this field when I thought I had no interest in employment law, and I certainly didn’t think I had the heart for litigation,” says Solomon. “But it makes sense. Litigation is, by nature, adversarial and competitive. Yet it also has an element of sportsmanship. The Statesmen taught me that.”


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