Attorney Eric Pines was still quite young when he first experienced the bitter taste of injustice. “When I was a kid, my father who is a therapist had to use a lawyer for something regarding our home,” he explains, “and the guy basically ripped us off. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I would love to be a lawyer who takes care of people and treats them with respect.’”
Many years and hundreds of clients later, it seems that’s exactly what Pines has done. Not everyone can achieve a childhood dream, but his was fueled by the realities of good and evil, respectful and dismissive, and the pervasive philosophy of every man for himself. To overcome the negative influences of greed and power, his has been a journey of service to those who have given the most to our country, federal employees including past and present members of our military.
Pines’ journey from boyhood to a celebrated and accomplished federal employee attorney, has been highlighted with an attitude of service and an unflinching crusade for justice. For nearly 25 years Pines has been a trusted advocate and adviser to federal employees throughout the United States and beyond. Based in Houston, Texas but with offices in Atlanta and Baltimore and the New York area Pines Federal Employment Attorneys represents federal employees from all branches of the U.S. Military the Veteran’s Administration as well as several other federal agencies.
“I represent a lot of civilian veterans,” he says. “I like representing fellow federal employees and the veterans who gave of themselves for our country. The employees of our federal government, especially medical providers for the V.A. are often people who could have made a lot more money in the private sector but chose instead to give back. It’s nice to be able to help and offer support to these people who themselves have given so unselfishly.
“I was a federal employee right out of law school as a federal probation officer drafting pre-sentencing reports for the United States District Court in Los Angeles. After working for the federal government, I went to study in Israel for a few years and when I returned landed in Baltimore which is kind of the headquarters for the federal government and got my first job as in-house counsel working for the largest federal court in the United States.”
While his professional path is an interesting one, to truly understand the depth of Pines’ commitment to service and representing the underdog, it’s important to not gloss over the years he spent in Israel. The trip had a profound effect on a young man in search of answers.
“After much deliberation I quit my job to go study my religion in Israel,” Pines says. “I realized that my career in law was going to require a lot of hours and my life essentially would be devoted to my work. At the time, it was still very early in my career, and I wasn’t married yet, so this was my opportunity to look deeper into what life is all about and hopefully to better understand what my purpose here is supposed to be. My spiritual quest brought me to Jerusalem to study Talmudic Law which are 200-year-old texts written in the ancient language of Aramaic and Hebrew.”
A trip that was supposed to last about two months stretched into three years, during which time Pines not only explored his religion and genealogy but also met his future wife.
“It changed the whole direction of my life,” he says with humble sincerity. “My whole perspective revolves around family, my religion, meaning and purpose. I have clear goals and know what I’m working toward and more importantly, why. My search brought me to recognize the merits of being other focused instead of self-focused, something I still work on every day of my life.”
Pines’ commitment and faith are evident in how he conducts both his personal and professional life. His goals are based on helping his clients through difficult life-changing career and work-related events rather than just billable hours.
Entrepreneur at Heart
Although he questions whether he would have ever started his own firm had it not been for the powerful experience of Israel, Pines also acknowledges he’s always been an entrepreneur at heart. Strengthened by his introspection and spiritual guidance, upon returning to the states with a young family, he and his wife made their home in Houston near her family, and he launched his now flourishing firm.
Pines Federal Employment Attorneys now boasts six full-time attorneys in addition to Pines and his partner Stephen Goldenzweig, Esq, with a full staff and thriving client roster. Focusing exclusively on matters of federal employment law for more than 20 years, the firm has earned a reputation for being committed advocates to all types of federal employees who are in need of skilled legal support.
While their offices are based in Houston, the team of lawyers are frequently called upon to assist clients throughout the country. Based on their growing reputation for success in complex matters and a history for achieving outstanding case results protecting the rights of federal employees Pines and his associates have earned the respect of their peers as well as garnering numerous awards.
“I believe we have earned a reputation not only for being successful in our representation,” says Pines, “but for our experience, dedication, tenacity, sensitivity and personal commitment for every individual we represent.”
Perhaps what’s most significant is that Pines feels he’s truly found where he’s supposed to be on this earth and what he’s supposed to do.
“I absolutely love helping people who are in a difficult spot or struggling with something,” he says. “My passion is helping federal employees get accommodations or disability retirement. I love being able to help people accomplish their goals and become successful and get to what they need to do. I’ve worked with so many who truly feel that no one cares, which is heartbreaking, but to be able to turn that all around for them is an incredible feeling.
“Going back to when I was a kid,” he continues, “I remember thinking we can be selfish, we can take advantage of other people to our benefit like that lawyer did to my father, but to instead take that opportunity and do the opposite to basically be there for the person and not act like you’re better than they are just because you have a law degree, that’s an incredible feeling. Quite powerful honestly.”
Off the Clock
When he’s not fighting battles for his clients, Pines enjoys nothing more than spending time with his family. His children now ages 20, 18, 15, 14 and 10 have plenty of quality time with dad. He also enjoys music, especially playing his classical guitar. The whole family enjoys the outdoors and Pines says bicycling and running are two of his favorite outdoor activities.
He serves on the board of several civic and religious organizations as well as serving as the vice president of his children’s elementary school. Remaining true to his religion and beliefs, the family faithfully observe and keep the Sabbath and share this time as a family.
Not too surprising, when asked what he’s most proud of, Eric Pines immediately beams with pride and names his beautiful family. Second only to that however is a justified pride in the firm that he bravely launched in an unfamiliar city with only his dreams and desire to help others.
“Creating my practice from scratch, just me in my garage in the early days, is something I can’t help but be proud of,” Pines says. “Sometimes I sit back and marvel that what began with just me and my computer in my garage has now grown into a robust law firm with 22 employees and a national presence. I’m quite proud and very grateful because I know I’ve been blessed.”