There are certain dates in everyone’s lives they can remember as if it were yesterday. For me, one of those dates is February 25, 1990, the date I received a telephone call that my then-boss, Richard S. Bernstein, had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving me with the monumental task of winding down his legal practice.
Out of this tragic event, the law firm of Pike & Pike, P.C. was born. At the time the black car industry was in its infancy, and by chance Richard happened to represent a few of those companies. Those clients continued on with me – some reluctantly, as I was both young and female in a predominantly male industry. I am eternally grateful that they gave me a chance. The practice of transportation law ultimately became my passion, and for the past 30 years I have been fully immersed in it.
Over the years, I have been involved in addressing many of the key legal issues that have come up as the industry has grown, inclusive of issues involving unemployment and workers’ compensation claims. The case of Matter of Pavan (UTOG), decided by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, and holding that member-drivers of cooperatives are independent contractors and not employees, is still regarded as a leading case on the issue some 28 years after it was decided. My firm also handled countless workers’ compensation cases (this was back in the days before the Black Car Fund), and issues with the State Insurance Fund. And I was involved in the creation of the BCAC, the first and only black car industry association. I developed a love not only for this unique area of law, but in particular for the people who are the lifeblood of this industry.
As Pike & Pike, P.C. grew, we added on more attorneys and staff. While many of them have understandably come and gone with the passage of time, I have been fortunate in that certain exceptional people have stayed with the firm long-term. Many of you have no doubt worked with and/or spoken to some or all of them over the years. This includes attorneys Kenneth Tuch and Laurence Cohen, who joined Pike & Pike in 1997 and 1998 respectively. In 2016, Kenny and Larry became my partners, and a new chapter in my life was written with the creation of Pike, Tuch & Cohen LLP. I did this in recognition of their growth and experience as attorneys, and their increased role over the years in handling the work performed by the firm.
It is now time to write yet another new chapter. In September, the firm’s name will change to Tuch and Cohen LLP, and it will move to new offices in Westbury. I will be “of counsel” to the firm. In this role my focus will be on special projects, major litigation matters, and providing advice and consultation to clients on an as-needed basis. However, I will not be involved in the firm’s day-to-day operations, nor will I regularly be in the office. And no, I’m not retiring, I will be also working with my husband in our advertising specialties business: Stitch This Print That.
In closing, it has been and will continue to be an absolute pleasure to be a part of the black car industry, and to have assisted so many of you with your legal and business matters. I am proud of what my partners and I have accomplished to date, and what we will continue to accomplish moving forward. Over the course of the past 30 years we have successfully handled thousands of interesting and significant cases and transactions, and in the process have met some wonderful people and made countless friends and acquaintances.
From the bottom of my heart and at the risk of sounding cliché, thanks for the ride!