Late last year, Levinson Axelrod, P.A. Partner Todd Wachtel was a featured speaker at the 2021 virtual Comp Laude® Awards and Gala, where he and other People’s Choice Awards finalists shared stories about their personal lives, careers, and inspiration for becoming advocates.
For his personal story, Todd shared his “It’s in the DNA” presentation, in which he discussed how, after developing an interest in genealogy during the Pandemic, he discovered that his great-grandfather, Maxim Appell, Esq., served as a labor lawyer for the early IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) in 1913. Despite being a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Workers’ Compensation attorney with nearly 25 years in practice, Todd only learned of his great grandfather’s work during his research.
Todd begins his presentation by sharing a song his grandfather sang to him as a child and discussing how its elusive origins in his family’s history have always made him interested in learning more about his great-grandfather. In 2020, during the construction of the new Levinson Axelrod Raritan location, Todd received a copy of his great-grandfathers Indiana law license to hang in his new office from his Uncle, who also included a copy of Maxim’s diploma from NYU School of Law, which Todd and his family had never seen or heard of before. As Todd notes, that diploma reignited his interest in learning more about his great-grandfather and sparked his subsequent search for answers. It’s a great story and worth a watch!
The Comp Laude® Awards & Gala is an annual industry-side event of workers’ compensation attorneys for two days of educational seminars, networking, and an awards ceremony. Todd’s selection as a finalist for the People’s Choice Awards, and his moving presentation, is a testament to a career spent advocating for injured workers and the respect he has earned from his peers. Never in a million years did Todd dream he would sing to a room full of insurance adjusters, nurse case managers and defense attorneys from around the Country!