Nicholas PapainPresident's Award for Distinguished Service
NICHOLAS PAPAIN '74


Nicholas Papain '74 credits his undergraduate time at Adelphi University for providing him with lifelong lessons about teamwork, commitment, discipline and hard work that have endured throughout his long career as an acclaimed trial lawyer at the law firm of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C.

As an undergraduate at Adelphi, Papain learned many of those lessons as a middle-distance and long-distance runner on the cross-country, indoor and outdoor track and field teams and as a captain of the cross-country team. In 1972, during his sophomore year, the Adelphi track team gained national recognition when their mile relay team set a world record, twice. Papain went on to earn his Juris Doctor in 1978 from American University Washington College of Law, graduating with honors.

A proud first-generation Greek-American, Papain also forged lifelong friendships at Adelphi with fellow Greek-American students, Stephan Cokinos ’71 and William Tenet '75, both of whom became cardiologists. Dr. Tenet currently serves on the Adelphi University Board of Trustees. Together, Papain and Tenet helped to establish an endowed scholarship fund in memory of their friend, Dr. Cokinos, who died in 2016. To date, over $145,000 in gifts and pledges have been raised for the scholarship which is dedicated to pre-med students at Adelphi.

Papain's personal generosity helped build the new church for the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church of North Hempstead, New York. He has been an active member there for 30 years and is currently serving as parish council president. Papain is also a member of Leadership 100, a Greek Orthodox philanthropic organization that provides financial aid to various religious ministries.

Named 2017's Lawyer of the Year by U.S. News Best Lawyers for his work in product liability litigation, Papain has obtained numerous multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements for clients who were seriously injured or who have lost loved ones as a result of the wrongdoing of others. He played a major role in the negotiation of a $700 million settlement for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers sickened by their exposure to toxins at the World Trade Center Disaster Site. His law firm was one of six firms chosen nationally to represent the State of New York in litigation against the major tobacco companies, in which the State obtained an historic $25 billion recovery plus unprecedented public health benefits that will save many thousands of lives. In 2007, Papain was honored with the Attorney of the Year Award from the Hellenic Lawyers Association of New York. He also served as president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association from 2008-2009.

Papain lives in Manhasset, Long Island, with Pauline, his wife of 37 years. They have two sons, Bill and Tom, who are also attorneys, and a grandson, Nicholas, born to Valerie and Bill Papain.