Best of the Bar 2020: Joseph G. Poluka
Click here to view Joe’s profile, or read it in full below.
Firm: Blank Rome
Education: Harvard Law School (1984)
Poluka represents Kennett Township in its ongoing efforts to recover approximately $3.2 million allegedly embezzled by its former township manager. In late April, the township initiated a civil action against the manager. On July 15, the township announced that it had received $1 million from the surety bond that was issued to the township manager during her tenure, as a result of Poluka’s and the team’s efforts. They continue to pursue other avenues of recovery. He also represents Dr. Mehdi Nikparvar, lead defendant in a 13-defendant case involving alleged improper prescribing of opioids, and Christian Tedrow, in a case involving failure to disclose certain stock ownership to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The former matter awaits trial; the latter awaits sentencing.
What is the biggest misconception about lawyers? That we argue about everything. Most successful attorneys are enthusiastic (read: vocal) advocates for their clients, especially in the white collar space, which carries great risks to individuals and companies alike. We can be verbally assertive at times, because we care.
What permanent changes to the legal profession will come as a direct result of the pandemic? It has been said ad nauseam, but the notion of “work from anywhere” will stick in ways yet to be fully determined. But I believe that the virtual, remote world cannot replace the very human need to have personal contact. I look forward to something approaching the old normal.
How would you assess the current state of Greater Philadelphia’s business climate? Struggling in so many ways — and stagnant. The lengthy shutdown of the city and surrounding counties has had a devastating ripple effect. Survival tactics and a kind of inertia have taken hold. But we are resilient, and must do what we can now to revitalize business in Greater Philadelphia.
What is the next step the legal industry must take when it comes to diversity initiatives? It must begin on the ground level, with direct, supportive, and consistent mentoring and sponsorship. True change cannot happen unless we all take responsibility to lift each other up.
Who is your favorite current or former U.S. Supreme Court justice and why? Honestly, I cannot say that I have one. I look at the court collectively; indeed, my expectation is that the justices will discharge their duties with the highest devotion to the rule of law and the Constitution.