Karl J. Kwak, Esq.Click Here To Email Karl J. Kwak, Esq.
"I don't just believe in what we do here, I love what we do here. Whether it's the result of an exploding tire or truck crash, we're on the side of victims, and that's where I want to be."
Karl Kwak was just looking for a place to gain experience when he sent out dozens and dozens of resumes after graduating from Dickinson Law School in 1985. When Cefalo & Associates called, it seemed like fate. "I met Mike a week later," Karl says, "and I've been here ever since."
Karl did not grow up dreaming of a career in law. There were no lawyers in his family and he had no exposure to the profession. What he did learn around the house was unionism and work injuries. Karl's father, Joe Kwak, helped start the teachers' union in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, and his mom, Joan Pesavento Kwak, is a retired teacher. Joan was a union teacher at Saint Nicholas/Saint Mary's Catholic School. His grandparents were also union members, including the ILGWU.
As a child, Karl heard stories about union leaders such as Min Matheson. He also heard his grandfather, Carl Pesavento, speak highly of the work of a union leader named Angelo Cefalo.
Little did Karl know that he would one day practice law in a firm owned by Angelo's son, Michael.
"I always wanted to serve the underdog," Karl says, reflecting on his path to becoming a lawyer. "At first I thought about government, then law enforcement. But the law seemed the best way to help injured people. I haven't regretted my choice."
Karl was an All Conference football center in high school and played football at the University of Rochester, but it was his involvement there with a prestigious educational program with the United States Congress that set him on his way. By the time he graduated from Dickinson Law School, he knew exactly how he wanted to use his skills. Getting a call from Mike Cefalo, himself a supporter of unions and injured people in the tradition of his dad, was perfect.
"I don't just believe in what we do here, " Karl says, "I love what we do here. Whether it's the result of an exploding tire or a truck crash, we're on the side of victims, and that's where I want to be."
Karl is married to the former Karen Gardner, an O.B. nurse, a school nurse and, yes, a union member. The couple has three daughters. "I love talking with my daughters", Karl says. "We talk about school, books, politics and religion. " We talk about unionism, injured workers, corporate fraud, political campaigns, and a host of social concerns. We talk about compassion for injured people, money damages, and justice for the powerless. "And, I love it."