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Randolph Oppenheimer

oppenheimer_randyRandolph Oppenheimer

Partner, Barclay Damon LLP

Years in current role:13

What do you enjoy most about being a litigator?

Our society, our way of life, is built on constitutional law, which I have taken an oath to support, and in my small way I do so when with best efforts I take on the cares and legal concerns of my clients.

What do you consider your biggest success in navigating the litigation process during the pandemic?

Success and adaptation go hand-in-hand. The pandemic required adaptation. I successfully embraced and I think mastered what became new — virtual meetings, depositions, court appearances, and adversarial proceedings — and the software platforms required to succeed.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the legal industry in the next 3-5 years?

Lawyers improve their skills through experience. New lawyers advance by watching and then adopting the best work seasoned lawyers do, whether by their mentors or others in their communities. Virtual work provides fewer opportunities for this important mentoring and observation. In my law firm we embrace shadowing by junior lawyers, and encourage experienced attorneys to alert associates to shadowing opportunities.

What trial are you most proud of in your career?

I have made a difference in the lives of many people and companies. But the first trial I had, more than 40 years ago, still resonates. A minority shareholder suffered oppression at the hands of a vengeful majority owner. There were no reported decisions under BCL section 1104-a at the time. My client ended up owning 100% of the company.

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

The practice of law is not all roses and sunshine. It often is a grind. The Erie County Bar Foundation provides confidential assistance to attorneys who are troubled by emotional illness, financial hardship, alcohol and drug dependencies, and similar difficulties. I also support the Legal Aid Bureau (which provides access to justice and due process to the most vulnerable individuals, children and families in the Western New York), Friends of Night People (which provides food and essential services to those experiencing homelessness and poverty), Gliding Stars of Wester New York (an adaptive ice skating and learn-to-skate program for children and adults with various disabilities), and a few others.