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People On The Move: Bruce Baron
HIGH PROFILE LEGAL ANALYST
You have probably seen his face, if you happen to watch television. He makes regular appearances on Fox News, Court TV, The O’ Reilly Factor, and Hardball With Chris Matthews, just to name a few. He’s the guy whose retorts are usually tripping- up the host and the guests. You may have also read his name in print - he is frequently quoted in the NY Daily News, New York Newsday, and Star magazine. Do you listen to the radio? He’s often on AM 710’s Ed Walsh Show, as well as a host of others. Bruce Baron is not some hotshot legal eagle, although he has handled some very highprofile cases in the last decade. He is, in his own words, "a tough Avenue U lawyer who [became] a national legal figure."
Raised in Howard Beach, Queens, Baron had aspirations to become a professional football player. He soon realized that it was a long shot to make the pros., so he decided to focus on law school. He recalled that he immediately knew that he’d make a great lawyer: "Since I was a kid, I was always very good with my mouth [and able to] get myself out of trouble. It was a good idea to put it to use and make some money with it." He continues to retain the steely eyes and sturdy physique of a linebacker. However, the only thing he tackles now is cases that he truly believes in. "I am a passionate person. I am an obsessive person. When I believe in a cause or a client, I go berzerk on it. So that’s why it worked for me being a lawyer," Baron said.
The case that thrust Baron into the national media and started him on his career path, was his representation of Paul Williams, the well-respected NYC caseworker who filed molestation charges against the filmmaker Woody Allen. Williams was subsequently fired during his investigation of Allen. Baron sued past Mayor David Dinkins, along with the city of New York. The case made national headlines for a period of months. He remembered it well: "The [Woody/Mia] case taught me how to deal with national media, how to [deal with] being hounded daily." He reminisced, "The rumor [was] that the Dinkins administration was a big recipient of funds from Woody Allen’s corporations and enterprises. I got him his job back."
Baron loved working under these confines. But even after a case of this magnitude he still worked hard to get noticed by the right producers. He became friendly with certain people in the media like Fox 5’s Rosanna Scotto, "whose coverage on [Woody/Mia] really springboarded her to where she is now," Baron commented. He also worked hard to get his name out there. He started on Court TV doing legal analysis, and continued to take on tough cases and win. People started to believe in him and he soon developed a good following. Now he can pick and choose whom he deals with.
Even with all of his exposure on the airwaves, Baron said he is most proud of his family. "I am on all the networks regularly, mostly Fox and Court TV. [But] the most important thing that brought me to this point is the love and friendship I have with my wife and my kids," he said. Baron added, "behind every good man there is a woman and I am living proof of that. My wife has a big impact on me becoming successful. It’s a very important thing to have a friend in your spouse and [be able to] focus on your clients."
Baron, who is originally from Brooklyn, and his family are long time Monmouth County residents. He is also quite proud of his Sheepshead Bay law firm, which he founded in 1988. The law firm has grown to be one of the largest litigation firms in Brooklyn, which consists of six lawyers and a sizeable support staff.
He is often motivated to take cases simply because he believes in the cause, many times on a pro bono basis. He recalled a recent case regarding his victory for a Brooklyn synagogue, whose siren was used to call its members to prayer and set a precedent for the city. "The city was breaking [the synagogue’s] chops and ticketing the hell out of them. And we were able to get them an exemption for the siren," Baron said. "We had the court expand the religious exemption to include sirens under the New York City code. Once these individuals, who have nothing better to do with their time, attack the sirens, what’s next?" Baron cited the noise exemption that protects St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s bells as applying to the siren. He was quoted at the time as saying, "Who is Mayor Bloomberg to upset 2000 years of Jewish tradition?"
He’s tangled with Mayor Bloomberg more than once. He successfully represented New York State Senator Carl Kruger, who sued Bloomberg when his administration attempted to abolish New York City’s 32 school districts and superintendents in a bid to control the school system. "Fortunately, we won the case. [Mainly] the kids won because the districts remained in place. When Mayor Bloomberg hears my name [now] he usually jumps up," Baron concluded.
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