Nicholas Papain

MEMBER & DIRECTOR + 1978 + New York

Nicholas Papain, one of the most prominent and successful personal injury trial lawyers in New York, was Sullivan Papain’s managing member from 1999 until 2018.  He has been a member of the firm since 1985.

He has been with the firm his entire legal career, first coming aboard as a summer law clerk in 1977 and then joining the firm full-time upon graduating from law school in 1978. He started trying cases in 1980, winning his very first trial for a woman wrongfully imprisoned for 11 days. The jury awarded her $250,000. Since then, he has gone on to win many multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for clients killed or seriously injured by defective products, fires, unsafe premises and negligently operated vehicles.

Mr. Papain also played a major role in the negotiation of a $700 million settlement for 9/11 World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers, who had brought suit against the City of New York and its contractors for failing to provide proper respiratory equipment, which was claimed to have resulted in various respiratory injuries.

“What convinces is conviction. Believe in the argument you’re advancing.”

Lyndon Baines Johnson


  • New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Verdicts + Settlements

  • $24 million settlement for construction worker who lost a leg and suffered multiple internal injuries when run over by a reverse-moving excavator.

  • $14.4 million verdict for pedestrian who sustained brain damage when struck by speeding police car as he was crossing street in middle of the block.

  • $13.7 million verdict for motorist whose legs were severely crushed in multi-vehicle highway collision.

  • $11.5 million settlement for young man who suffered serious neurological injuries when struck by a falling, rotted tree limb in Central Park.

  • $5 million verdict for young boy who suffered a crushed foot and closed head injury when struck by NYCTA bus while crossing in middle of the block.

  • Played critical role in fee proceeding before national arbitration panel regarding Sullivan Papain’s representation of State of New York in its action against the major tobacco companies, which resulted in historic $25 billion recovery for the state, and other relief projected to save the lives of more than 75,000 New Yorkers.

Awards and Recognition

  • President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (2008-2009)

  • Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (2005-present)

  • Recipient of The Attorney Of The Year Award from The Hellenic Lawyers Association of New York (2007)

  • Named in Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top lawyers in New York

  • Named in The Best Lawyers in America®

  • Recipient of the highest rating (AV®) from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings


  • American University, Washington College of Law • JD, Cum Laude 1978

  • Adelphi University • B.A. 1974

Professional Associations

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association

  • New York State Bar Association

  • The Hellenic Lawyers Association of New York

Selected Publications

  • Mr. Papain has been called upon to lecture for a number of the bar’s continuing legal education programs.

Community Service

  • President of the Parish Council of the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church, Port Washington, New York


  • Outside the firm, Mr. Papain enjoys running, working out, reading and spending time with his wife, Pauline, and their family.

Practice Areas
Awards + Memberships