Karl J. Kwak, Esq.Click Here To Email Karl J. Kwak, Esq.
"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 victims, and that's where I want to be."
In 1984, while still in law school, Karl Kwak joined with Attorney Mike Cefalo and Attorney George Oschal to represent injured people. For over thirty years they never represented a large corporation, a hospital, or an insurance carrier. Rather, they loved representing people, not the powerful.
When founder Mike Cefalo retired in 2019, George Oschal and Jim Albert joined with Karl 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 use the civil justice system to investigate injuries to people by corporations, hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, and truck drivers. We file lawsuits when systems break down and carelessness causes harm.
Karl did not grow up dreaming of a career in law. There were no lawyers in his family and he had no exposure to the profession. What he did learn around the house was unionism and teamwork. Karl's father, Joe Kwak, helped start the teachers' union in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District. His mom, Joan Pesavento Kwak was a union teacher at Saint Nicholas Catholic School. His grandparents were union members, including the ILGWU. And, his younger brother Kurt became a lawyer focussing on representing injured union workers.
"I always wanted to serve the underdog," Karl says, reflecting on his path to becoming a lawyer. "At first I thought about law enforcement. But, for me, working as a lawyer seemed like a challenging way to help change things for the better. I haven't regretted my choice."
As an All Conference lineman, Karl learned teamwork playing football at Meyers and Coughlin High School. As an undersized lineman playing college football, Karl enjoyed thinking strategically and football teamwork. But, it was his 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 Mike and 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 justice for people who have been seriously injured.
Karl is married to the former Karen Gardner, an O.B. nurse and a school nurse. They have three daughters. Megan is a lawyer who represents injured people In the Philadelphia area focusing on different types of injury claims including birth injuries, medical malpractice, and truck crashes. Nicole is an audiologist who cares for patients of all ages including injured workers suffering from tinnitus and trauma. Jillian graduated from Pitt and is studying to become a nurse practitioner. "I love talking with my daughters", Karl says. "We talk about public policy, education, law, politics and religion. " We talk about unionism, injured workers, corporate fraud and a host of social concerns. We talk about empathy, compensation, and justice for people. "And, I love it."