Rick operates and manages the Law Office of Richard S. Pakola, PLLC. He is “of counsel” to the Law Office of William F. Smith, Esq., where he represents clients on all matters relating to estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, elder law, special needs planning, estate and trust litigation, and guardianship.
He is also the elected judge for the Village of West Haverstraw, New York.
He has handled a wide variety of legal matters throughout the Hudson Valley, primarily in Rockland, Westchester and Orange Counties, but also in New York City and throughout the state. He appears in state, federal and appellate courts. He also has extensive experience in criminal defense, federal civil rights (42 U.S.C. § 1983), family law, personal injury, and suits against (or defense of) municipalities under CPLR Article 78.
He understands that initiating or being on the “receiving end” of legal process can be intimidating and stressful.
Because of this, he listens closely to all of his clients to understand their specific concerns. He treats them with respect. He apprises them realistically about how he views their cases, and he fights unreservedly for their rights and to ensure they receive the best possible outcomes.
He has received outstanding training and trial experience in the U.S. Air Force, where he tried over fifty courts-martial (as both a prosecutor and defense counsel) and had the honor to work with some of the most talented trial attorneys in the country. He has also worked with the former District Attorney of Rockland County, the former Chief of Appeals for the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and numerous other experienced and talented attorneys.
Given Rick’s background, he has a depth and range of experience that few others in the region can match.
Rick believes that all cases and legal disputes are ultimately about justice, whether it is a will contest, child custody and support case, a personal injury matter, or a criminal matter. Rick believes that people in positions of authority generally want to do the “right thing.” In these cases, the issues just need to be presented in a certain way, or background information needs to be provided, for a mutually agreeable resolution to work itself out. But where this is not possible, our system allows for jury trials, where neutral and presumably objective people can decide the issue. Although juries don’t always return with what we think of as the “right” verdict, Rick has found that with skillfully presented cases, they will more often than not arrive at fair dispositions.
He loves the practice of law, especially working out complicated legal issues and, if the issues can’t be resolved amicably, going to trial. Trials are indisputably stressful, hard work and expensive, but in many cases, there is simply no other way to obtain justice. As Clarence Darrow said, “The only real lawyers are trial lawyers, and trial lawyers try cases to juries.” Although there is always risk with trying a case, Rick advises his clients appropriately, and the client makes the final determination.
AVVO, the unbiased online attorney profiling service, rates him Superb (the highest rating).
If you have legal questions, are contemplating bringing a law suit, or have been served papers or had charges filed against you, please call our office at (845) 398-2734 or contact us through our contact page.
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Areas of Practice
Rick practices in trial and appellate level courts throughout New York State and in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
If you have questions about a legal matter, please contact me either by phone, fax, or e-mail. All initial consultations are free. I look forward to communicating with you and hope that I can help with your legal issues.