Interview with Attorney Brian Heller
What made you want to become a lawyer?
I wanted a career where my job was to help people fight back against those who abuse their authority.
In your opinion, what sets your firm apart from the rest?
We are able to operate on a high level across all aspects of representation. While some practitioners may try to resolve a claim before having to do any real work, we believe that the best result can only be achieved by giving our top effort to every step of the process, from an initial negotiation through trial. Our dedication to each case is what is responsible for our successful results.
Tell us about a case that you are particularly proud of:
Our success in Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc. (April 2013), reaffirmed the broad protections that the New York City Human Rights Law provides for victims of sexual harassment. The Second Circuit, which is the federal appeals court for New York, reversed the lower court and confirmed that a company may not escape liability for sexual harassment and retaliation by simply claiming that the victim had poor performance. This case was a watershed moment for sexual harassment victims and will hopefully protect other women in the workplace.
What steps do you take to prepare for a difficult case?
The most important part of any case is extensive preparation. Whether it is reviewing the documents in the case, the legal issues raised, or even just anticipating whatever argument a company can raise, the key to every case is knowing it better than your adversary, which we pride ourselves on doing.
What advice do you most often give to your clients & why?
The most important thing clients should know is that they need to fight back. Asserting your rights can be intimidating and scary, particularly since there is such an imbalance of power between an employee and an employer. But you do have rights and you should not be afraid to use them to stand up for yourself, especially with a strong legal team behind you. The alternative - remaining a victim - is simply unacceptable.
How do you view your role in the attorney-client relationship?
My role is to serve as a guide for my client through the legal process and to provide the most informed guidance possible so that my client can make the significant and often difficult decisions that affect their lives.
Tell us about a turning point in your career:
In 2006, we successfully recovered a multi-million dollar verdict for our client, including punitive damages.
How long have you been practicing law?
I graduated from law school in May 2001. I started at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP that following summer and have been focusing on employment law ever since.
Why should a prospective client choose to work with your firm?
Our approach, which relies on expertise, experience and preparation, will get the best result for you.