Think of others and don’t lose your humanity. In your determination, do not focus just on your career and all of its rewards. Do not forget about your family, friends and community. Never hurt others — even your adversaries. You can do as much or even more while being honest and kind, and you will sleep really well at night. Share your achievements, wealth and wisdom. There are so many less fortunate.
As a part of my series about “5 things I wish someone told me when I first became an attorney” I had the pleasure of interviewing Mariusz Sniarowski.
Mariusz Sniarowski, Attorney at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is a distinguished lawyer who represents clients in all aspects of personal injury law, including construction accidents, premises liability and automobile accident matters. He is responsible for case handling from its inception to the final resolution with depositions, motion practice, negotiations and court appearances. Fluent in Polish, English and communicative in Russian and Slovakian, Mariusz represents the firm’s Polish-speaking clients at defendants’ examinations before trial to help ensure that they are provided with accurate translation. Outside of his legal practice, Mariusz serves as the Director of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union. He is also the Vice President of the Children’s Smile Foundation, which provides financial support for disadvantaged children in need of medical and financial assistance.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is the “backstory” that brought you to this particular career path in Law?
After graduating summa cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I went on to attend Hofstra University School of Law. I graduated with my Juris Doctorate in 2003 and was the recipient of the Dean’s List recognition four years in the row, as well as a member on the National Dean’s List in 2000. I joined The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. in 2004 and, with 16 years of experience behind me taking cases from inception to the final resolution with depositions, motion practice, negotiations and court appearances, I represent clients in all aspects of personal injury law, from construction accidents to premises liability and automobile accident matters. A key part of my role is to ensure clients of Polish background have access to excellent representation and are provided with accurate translation. Being communicative in multiple languages allows me to provide nuanced advocacy, especially for people who may be unfamiliar with the intricacies of the legal system.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your law career?
Over the course of almost two decades, there has been a number of interesting and sometimes funny stories. In retrospect, when I reflect, what comes to my mind is a great diversity of clients from sometimes extremely different walks of life, ethnic, religious and social backgrounds who, along with their families, became a small part of my life in the course of my representation. One thing that they have in common is their sincere gratitude and appreciation for getting them just and fair compensation in their time of need.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I like to think that each and every one of the cases I am working on is interesting in its own way. Cases are often similar, but often present new challenges. One case, in particular, is against Amazon Company. I was genuinely surprised that there were almost no personal injury cases against them, even though you see Amazon trucks everywhere, almost constantly. I am very excited about this particular case because, if successful, it will open the door for hundreds or even thousands of other litigants.
What are some of the most interesting cases you have been involved in? Without sharing anything confidential can you share any stories?
One of my most memorable past cases is where I represented a celebrity supermodel who is presently married to a celebrity sports superstar. Getting to know the real person, not just the model face you see on a billboard, was really refreshing. Getting her just compensation for her injuries, as a person to whom money would not ordinarily matter, presented a challenge on its own. I consider myself lucky to be able to make that acquaintance and to be able to satisfy such a high-profile client.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
There are many people who inspire me. Starting from my hardworking parents, to my mentors who shaped me into the person I am today, to many historical figures who often struggled and faced insurmountable challenges to achieve their goals. I had to work really hard to catch up with my peers, and, to some extent, be able to surpass at least some of them to become as successful as I am today. Being a “straight off the boat” immigrant at the age of 19 without the ability to communicate in English at that time, I had to pick up the speed and work much harder to get to the place where I am now. My struggles where nothing compared to what my heroes had to face, such as the late Honorable Judge of the Supreme Court, Ruth Ginsberg, a woman cleared the path for gender equality among lawyers and judges in the United States. Her brilliant mind and kind heart set her apart from others.
What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in law?
Always be yourself, cherish what separates you from the crowd and try to find your niche, whether it is your community, your special talent, skill or interest — use that knowledge and experience to set yourself apart from the others and then capitalize on it.
If you had the ability to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, which three would you start with? Why?
I still have so much to learn myself that I don’t think that I should try to reform our judicial system, but if I could make a few observations, they would be as follows:
- I would update the NYCRR regulations that were written in the 1970s. Attorneys have to struggle to adapt their factual scenarios to the existing regulations.
- I would change the damages awards for the plaintiffs in wrongful death actions, which I think are not wholeheartedly fair.
- I would hope for a more expeditious judicial system so the cases would resolve faster. It is unimaginable what families of injured workers have to go through when they lose income and have to wait and struggle for years to get the just compensation for their injuries.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
In addition to my work as an attorney helping clients seek justice, some of my most rewarding moments and proudest accomplishments come from outside voluntary and charity work. I am the Vice President and past President of The Children’s Smile Foundation in New York City. This 501(c)(3) organization provides financial support for disadvantaged children in Poland and the U.S. who are in need of medical and financial assistance. One event that I am particularly proud of is our annual 5K “Run for Children’s Smile” and 1K for children 5–12 years old, hosted with the Polska Running Team under the patronage of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York. This great event gathers hundreds of participants every year and raises funds for children in need. In addition, I am a member of the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, the largest ethnic financial institution in the United States. I am also a member of the consumer Advisory Board of Land Rover Jaguar. Managing my professional career and extracurricular activities is my gratitude for all the good fortunes in my life.
I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?
A sense of accomplishment and pure satisfaction when I get a result that exceeds mine and everyone else’s expectations. Taking on the largest insurance companies and corporate defendants and getting them to justly pay to the injured worker is the greatest reward.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.
- Be yourself. We often try to be and act like others but in order to succeed you have to be different than everyone else. Ultimately, it is easiest just to be yourself.
- Set a goal really high in the sky. You will be surprised how much you can achieve if you are determined to do it. It sounds like a cliché, but it is so true.
- Use your skills and talents. Your ordinary skills can really set you apart in your legal career. Whether it be a language that will attract new clients, your technical skills will help you conceptualize “mechanics of the accident” or perhaps your art skills that will help you see “outside of the box.”
- Never give up. All of your failures are just setbacks and building blocks to your career. Learn from your mistakes and do not make them twice.
- Think of others and don’t lose your humanity. In your determination, do not focus just on your career and all of its rewards. Do not forget about your family, friends and community. Never hurt others — even your adversaries. You can do as much or even more while being honest and kind, and you will sleep really well at night. Share your achievements, wealth and wisdom. There are so many less fortunate.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
There are so many people that I would love to meet in private. Some to learn what they are really like and some to learn from their wisdom. Putting aside honorable judges and politicians, I always admired people with determination and perseverance who believe in themselves and their creations. I will not have an opportunity to meet with Steve Jobs, but I would not decline an invite from Elon Musk.