“Despite the hardships of going through this process, I suspect there are quite a few lawyers in Connecticut who wouldn’t mind changing places with you,” Blumenthal said with a smile.
Entering his second term as Connecticut’s senior senator, it is more than a quarter century since Blumenthal left his own private practice behind for an extended run in public service, first as Connecticut attorney general with a focus on standing up to corporations, and since 2010 in the Senate where he has continued in that vein, including in the pressuring of auto giant Volkswagen.
The firm where Blumenthal honed those instincts — known today as Silver, Golub & Teitell — has expanded from its Stamford base in the past few years to Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford, as it takes on complex cases across the state.
Blumenthal landed at the firm in 1984, after his previous law firm Cummings & Lockwood bid for representation on a case that might have exposed it to conflict-of-interest issues given Blumenthal’s status at the time as a state representative. Blumenthal’s new firm would turn out to be his home for the longest stretch of his private sector career. Prior to joining Cummings & Lockwood in 1981, he spent four years as U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, previously clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and then working as an aide to U.S. Sen. Abraham A. Ribicoff.
Whereas Cummings & Lockwood focused its practice on the representation of corporations and affluent families, Silver, Golub & Sandak worked on behalf of individuals who had grievances against powerful companies and hospitals, a major focus for the firm today.
Created in 1978 by original partners Richard Silver, David Golub and Jay Sandak, the firm later made Ernie Teitell a namesake partner after Sandak left. Silver Golub & Teitell today has a dozen partners and about 40 employees.
“It’s a unique firm — there’s only a couple of other firms like ours in the entire state,” Silver said. “We only do litigation, and there are very few firms that concentrate solely on litigation. We don’t do probate, we don’t do real estate.”
Golub is a medical malpractice expert and leads the firm’s commercial practice, including being having served the state as one of the lead lawyers on Blumenthal’s landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies.
For his part, Silver has anywhere between 25 and 30 cases he is working on at any time, no small number involving complications in the birth of infants leading to injuries or death. This past January, Silver Golub & Teitell filed suit against Greenwich Hospital on behalf of a couple who lost one of their twin children during a birth procedure.
It is difficult work, and not just from the complexity of the cases and going toe to toe with high-price attorneys many defendants hire. Silver recounted another recent case involving the birth of a child with permanent brain damage, and the impact on the family going forward.
Asked for his own recollections of Blumenthal from his days at the firm, as the senator pushes back against the White House on an array of issues, Silver put it as succinctly as could be.
“He’s a brilliant lawyer,” Silver said.
— Includes prior reporting by Robert Marchant.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-354-1047; www.twitter.com/casoulman