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Steven Cole

cole-steveSteven Cole

Managing Partner, Adams Leclair LLP

Years in current role:14

What do you enjoy most about being a litigator?

I enjoy a challenge, and resolving difficult disputes for business clients in a timely and cost-effective manner is often challenging. Every new case and client is an opportunity to learn. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to use my experience to assist clients in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

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

Early on during the pandemic I prepared a significant case for an arbitration hearing, which was to be held remotely. We prepared for a proceeding that was scheduled to last a week or longer, with the parties, counsel, witnesses, and arbitrator all in different locations. My team’s excellent work in preparing the case for our first virtual arbitration resulted in a very favorable settlement being reached on the first day of the scheduled hearing, before opening statements.

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

I anticipate that the increased ability to work remotely will continue to impact the selection of counsel and the hiring of personnel by law firms. I also expect that use of artificial intelligence will increase in providing legal services to clients.

What trial are you most proud of in your career?

I represented a small business owner in an outlying county who was accused of being complicit in an extensive Ponzi scheme run by a local day-trader. A prominent local family with substantial resources invested money after speaking with my client, who was an early investor. All of the family’s money was lost. My client, who had little understanding of investing, definitely ignored some red flags but believed the investment to be legitimate. The judge was generally hostile and made several adverse rulings. However, the jury came back very quickly in favor of my client.

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

I am a director emeritus at Worker Justice Center of New York, Inc. after having served as board chair for 10 years and as a board member for more than 20 years. WJCNY is the only statewide agency that serves the needs of low-wage agricultural and other workers in New York, consisting primarily of undocumented workers. WJCNY provides legal representation, and also works with government agencies to address human trafficking and domestic violence issues. The workers and families served by WJCNY are particularly at risk for exploitation because of immigration status.