I am saddened by the passing of Paul Tobias. Paul was the founder and first Executive Director of the National Employment Lawyers Association (“NELA”), the country’s largest organization of lawyers dedicated to the protection of employment rights for employees. From NELA’s announcement:
“Today we lost a giant, not just in plaintiffs’ employment law, but in the profession as a whole.
Paul was a visionary with tremendous compassion for working people, and he, along with a few of his colleagues, conceptualized a nationwide network to support attorneys who advocate for workers. With a handshake and an encouraging word for everyone who joined the fight, Paul spread the Just Cause Conspiracy. More than three decades later, NELA is the largest plaintiffs’ employment bar in the country, with more than 2,000 members and 69 state and local affiliates.
Paul’s belief that great things can be accomplished through a spirit of collaboration and community will continue to serve as our guiding light. He captured people’s imagination about what the workers’ rights community could accomplish together if we shared our knowledge and resources. He leaves a legacy that drives us all to work harder for equity and justice in the workplace. For that, and for his kind and generous nature, he will be greatly missed.”
I had the honor of spending time with Paul at several national NELA conferences over the years. He was always upbeat, a dynamo of energy and incredibly generous with his time. I will miss his rousing comments at the beginning of each convention. Every year, he educated and recharged NELA’s small army of lawyers and sent them back out across the country to fight for workers. It’s a loss that will be felt by many.
Rest in peace, Paul.