"I do the kind of work everyone wants to do—I represent the underdog. The satisfaction I get personally when I represent someone and win their case is almost irreplaceable. That feeling is the reason I practice law."
"I grew up here," George Oschal says. "I practice law a block away from where I went to school. My roots are here. My heritage is the working man."
"My dad was a mailman. My grandparents were coal miners. I'm the first Oschal to graduate from college."
"My one grandfather, the original George G. Oschal, stepped out of the mines to become a chief of police for a time. My other grandfather, Amadeo Pancotti, was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism in the Knox Mine Disaster."
"You know what that means? It means the kind of people I represent are the kind of person I am."
An outstanding basketball player in high school, George credits his Problems of Democracy teacher, John Pepe, with inspiring him to get into law. "I knew right there in Mr. Pepe's class that I wanted to be a lawyer."
He knew right from the start the kind of lawyer he wanted to be. Cefalo Law, where he has practiced since February 1983, has given him that opportunity.
"I wanted to help people, and I do help people," George says.
"I do the kind of work everyone wants to—I represent the underdog. The satisfaction I get personally when I represent someone and win their case is almost irreplaceable. That feeling is the reason I practice law."
George says he's proud to be associated with a firm that must rely totally on non-repeating business. "We're the only firm like that. Since we don't accept retainers and we won't represent big corporations, we must find new clients all the time. If we do our job right, our clients don't need us anymore."
A native of Exeter, George, at 52, is the "elder statesman" of Cefalo Law. He graduated from the University of Dayton Law School in 1982 and joined Mike Cefalo the following year. George is married to the former Corinne Zeird.
"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 innocent victims, and that's where I want to be."
In 1984, while still in law school, Karl joined with Mike Cefalo and George Oschal to represent injured people. For over forty years, they never represented a large corporation, a hospital, or an insurance carrier. Rather, they loved representing people, not corporations.
When founder Mike Cefalo retired, George Oschal, Jim Albert and Karl joined together to form the Cefalo Law Firm: Oschal, Kwak, Albert. Together with Attorney Andy Shumlas, they continue to represent people who have been seriously injured by the carelessness of others.
We investigate serious injuries caused by corporations, hospitals, nursing homes, trucking companies and unreasonable drivers. We file lawsuits when carelessness causes harm.
Karl did not grow up dreaming of a career in law. He had no real exposure to the profession. What he did learn around the house were unionism, teamwork, and respect for workers. Karl's father, Joe Kwak, helped start the local teachers' union. His mom, Joan Pesavento Kwak was a union teacher at Saint Nicholas School. His grandparents were union members, including the ILGWU.
It was his college experience with a Congressional Internship Program that confirmed his decision to become a lawyer. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rochester and earning his law degree at Penn State Dickinson School of Law, Karl joined Cefalo Law to represent people.
"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.” We work with lawyers, doctors, nurses, engineers, vocational experts, and many different people to seek full reimbursement for people who have been seriously injured.
Karl is married to the former Karen Gardner, a school nurse and former OB nurse. They have three daughters. Megan is a lawyer who represents injured people in the Philadelphia area, focusing on medical malpractice and major truck crashes. Nicole is an audiologist who works with patients of all ages, including injured workers suffering from trauma. Jillian is studying to become a nurse practitioner. "I love talking with my daughters," Karl says. "We talk about public policy, education, law, politics, and health care." We talk about injured workers, corporate fraud, and a host of safety concerns. We talk about empathy, compensation, and justice for people - "And, I love it."
"A man came to me for help saying no one would believe him. I believed him, and so did the jury."
Jimmy Albert has always loved to fight for the underdog.
"My grandmother taught me the meaning of hard work and being a voice for people who cannot speak up for themselves. She worked in the Empire State Building in the 1940s as a cleaning matron. She held a supervisor position because she could speak both English and Polish and helped bridge the gap between management and immigrant workers. She walked and took the subway from Brooklyn into Manhattan every night at midnight and still was able to raise a family with my grandfather, who worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yards during WWII. When I represent injured people, I think of her work ethic and am inspired by her courage."
While in law school in Harrisburg, Jim became interested in the state legislature and worked for the legal department of the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association. "I was happy to work for an organization that was designed to protect rural Pennsylvanians from being taken advantage of by big corporations."
After graduating from Penn State University and Widener University School of Law, he came back home to Pittston and began his legal career with Cefalo Law. He went to work for other firms but never forgot where he came from.
"I represented doctors, corporations, and hospitals, but I've never enjoyed working anywhere as much as I did working here and representing injured people."
It was that love of giving the underdog a voice that compelled him to return to Cefalo Law.
Smart, focused, a people person, and a love for the underdog—that's Jimmy Albert.
Jim currently resides in Pittston with his wife, Samantha, who is a professional engineer and their two young boys, Jack and William.