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Trapping O.J. Simpson: An Atypical Lawyer and His Methods

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Article About Jonathan Polak An Atypical Lawyer, Humble Lawyer And Information About Civil Rights Issues, Intellectual Property Rights, Intellectual Property Department And More.

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Trapping O.J. Simpson: An Atypical Lawyer and His Methods

  1. 1. LAWCROSSING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH LAW STAR www.lawcrossing.com 1. 800.973.1177 Trapping O.J. Simpson: An Atypical Lawyer and His Methods [By Mary Waldron] Jonathan Polak does not fit the typical, cliché lawyer image. He is not fast-talking, conniving, or deceptive. In fact, he is probably the nicest, most humble lawyer around. But do not let that fool you into thinking he is a pushover. Although Polak has a glowing integrity that beams even over a phone line, his determination when it comes to winning his cases is illustrated by his approach to law.By accepting the challenge to constantly One of the smart people that Polak learned before he graduated from law school. He wasfind new, creative solutions to cases, Polak a lot from was his mentor and teacher, offered jobs with both firms upon graduationkeeps his practice fresh and his own work Professor Kobylka. Kobylka was one of from SMU School of Law. Polak acceptedinteresting and stimulating. His most current Polak’s undergraduate political science an offer from a lawyer he had worked forcase involves representing the Goldman teachers, and he has had a great deal of who was transferring to another Dallasfamily in obtaining O.J. Simpson’s rights to influence on the ways Polak tackles issues in firm called Harder, Hadden, Johnson, andpublicity. Simpson owes them and the Brown law. “He was just so smart about the way he Bromberg.family $33.5 million from a 1997 wrongful analyzed issues. Even though he was not andeath civil case for the deaths of his ex-wife, attorney, he had a very lawyer-like approach After two years with Harder, Hadden,Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, to the way that he looked at civil rights Johnson, and Bromberg, Polak made theRonald Goldman. issues and those types of issues where law decision to change his pace by moving to and politics intersect.” a litigation boutique firm in Dallas calledFrom the time that he began to excel on the Calhoun & Stacy. This move was crucial todebate team in high school, Polak knew that Polak got a jumpstart on his career when he his future success because he was given ahe was cut out to be a lawyer. He earned clerked at a couple of law firms the summer variety of opportunities to try cases and reallyhis B.S. in Political Science and his J.D. dive into litigation. “In the span of the two orat Southern Methodist University (SMU) in three years that I was there, I took probably Q. What are your interests and hobbies?Dallas. Attending the same university for A. When I get a chance, I love to play with 150 to 250 depositions and tried about 10 orlaw school that he did as an undergraduate my three kids. I’ve got a nine-year-old and 12 cases. I really was able to cut my teeth on awas a valuable experience for Polak. “It a six-and-a-half-year-old little girl, and true litigation practice,” he said.allowed me to take advantage of some of the I’ve got a little boy who’s about two and arelationships that I had already built there,” half years old. Occasionally, I’ll get out and Once Polak and his wife decided to move tohe said. play a little golf. Indiana to start a family, he began working for bankruptcy and real estate firm Dann, Q.What CD is in your CD player right now?While Polak was at SMU, he was active in Pecar, Newman & Kleinman. It was here A.I listen to Nickelback, and I recentlystudent government and eventually served as that Polak took his practice and its focus downloaded my favorite band from highstudent body president during his senior year to a whole new level. Building his firm’s school, Iron Maiden.as an undergraduate. He also participated in intellectual property department from thethe school’s law review during law school. Q. What is the last magazine you read? ground up, Polak became a master in thatAlthough working on the law review was A. ESPN Magazine area of law.not the most thrilling activity for him, he Last February, Polak became the chair ofgained an abundance of legal knowledge Q. What is your favorite television show? Sommer Barnard’s intellectual propertyand understanding. “I got to work with some A. 24 department in Indianapolis. Close to 70% ofreally smart people, and I think that’s the his current work is devoted to intellectualbest thing about practicing law. You get to be Q. Who is your role model? property litigation and consulting. A. As corny as it sounds, both of myaround a lot of really smart people, and you parents are truly my role models.can learn a lot from them,” he said. Some of Polak’s latest cases in the area of intellectual property rights have concernedPAGE continued on back
  2. 2. LAWCROSSING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH LAW STAR www.lawcrossing.com 1. 800.973.1177the estates of late high-profile celebrities— When news of an upcoming book release like, we will be taking action to capture thosesuch as Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and by Simpson arose and quickly disappeared, funds. But if he never goes out and appearsDuke Ellington—and his clients’ battles to Polak and the Goldman family were taunted in public again, if he stays in that virtualkeep their rights to photographs and uses of yet again by Simpson’s failure to make jail cell that we put him in, then we will, atlate celebrities’ names and likenesses. payment. He reportedly pocketed $1.1 minimum, have the moral victory of putting million for his hypothetical account of the him in there,” Polak said.In 2001, putting a twist on his intellectual murders of his ex-wife and her friend, If I Didproperty practice, Polak joined forces It, which was recently pulled from release. Throughout his career, and specificallywith Karl Manders, who owns a private According to Polak, Simpson created a with the Goldman case, Polak has comeinvestigator firm in Indianapolis called “sham entity” called Lorraine Brooke to discover one of the keys to enjoying theContinental Enterprises, Inc. Manders Associates (based on the middle names of practice of law. “Stay creative about the wayinitiated the idea to help the Goldman family two of his children), in which he has been that you approach clients’ problems. Whenobtain O.J. Simpson’s rights to publicity in stashing his monetary gains in order to everyone else is telling you ‘no, you can’t doorder to satisfy the payment that he has shield them from the Goldmans. that,’ there’s always a way to find a way toowed them for almost 10 years. “Rather do it. You just have to be creative, and you’vethan chasing the money after it’s been paid, Fingers are also being pointed at the got to be aggressive, and you’ve got to find awhich is really a lost cause, we want to companies that contributed to Simpson’s path because that path is out there,” he said.take possession of the property right that payment for the infamous book and the TVenables him to go and do these signings and interview that was set to discuss the book. “It’s really easy to fall into the tried andget money,” he said. This means that if the “The real villains in this are the people true practices, but what makes layeringfamily wins this case, they will receive all who acted in concert with him who you fun, if there is such a thing, is to go placespayments earned by Simpson’s name and would expect better from—companies like no one has gone yet and to find ways to dolikeness until the judgment payment amount HarperCollins, Fox Broadcasting, and News things that no one else has tried and thenis met. Corp.,” Polak said. to be successful at it…because then you are making law, and that can be really fun.”“He has thumbed his nose at the legal As Polak and the Goldmans prepare to takesystem for so long; going out and striking the issue on appeal, Polak said, “regardless Because of his active interest in seeking newdeals and doing signings and autograph of whether we are successful or not, we ways to solve cases, Polak has managed toshows, never really giving the Goldmans the intend to push the envelope as far as we can keep his passion for law alive and thriving,benefit of any of that, even in part,” Polak to see how far judges are willing to protect a paving the way for a continuously excitingsaid. killer’s assets. Whether he was ever put into career in law. an actual jail cell or not, he will remain in aAlthough Simpson was found not guilty in a virtual jail cell as long as the Goldmans have ON THE NETcriminal trial for the 1994 deaths of his ex- anything to say about it and certainly as longwife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, as I am their attorney, and we are going to Sommer Barnard, PCRonald Goldman, he was found guilty in a continue to tighten our grip around him and www.sommerbarnard.comwrongful death civil case in 1997. his assets and make that jail cell smaller and smaller and smaller using legitimate legal Southern Methodist UniversityThe Goldmans’ case actually went to court procedures that are available to us.” www.smu.edulast October but was denied by Santa MonicaSuperior Court Judge Linda Lefkowitz If the Goldmans do win and Simpson decides HarperCollins Publishersbecause she claimed that it would harm to hide away in seclusion, the Goldmans www.harpercollins.comSimpson’s right to privacy…although will still be justified in their actions. “TheSimpson does not appear to be attempting to Goldmans are in the perfect position becauselead a low-profile life. we get victory either way. If he continues to go out and have public appearances and thePAGE

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