Law and journalism have a lot in common, Todd Spivak said.
He’s qualified to make that comparison. Spivak is a professional in both fields.
The journalist-turned-lawyer opened in this summer. The location is familiar—his father’s business, is on the first floor of the same building on West Liberty Avenue.
“We want people in Dormont and Brookline to know that we’re here and we’re gearing our practice toward helping regular people,” Spivak said. “We’re not a law firm that works with corporations. We’re here for what everyday people need.”
The law firm handles criminal defense and DUI cases, as well as wills, estates, social security, and family matters, such as divorce.
Spivak grew up in Carnegie, but was frequently in Dormont. Dormont Vision Center has been in Dormont for 41 years, and Spivak said it’s nice to be home once again, and working in a place where he can see his father and brother everyday.
Spivak's career took him out of the Pittsburgh area for several years.
He never took a journalism class, but worked his way up from cub reporter to investigative reporter, covering city and state government, and the areas of government dealing with social services. He wrote for community newspapers in the Chicago area for several years.
Later, while working for a large news organization in Houston, Texas, his company twice nominated him for the Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting. He won a number of national journalism awards.
Then he went into law.
“I found that journalism and law dovetail in a lot of ways,” Spivak said. “With a lot of stories I was writing, I was working with injury lawyers and personal lawyers, and I admired a lot of them for the work they were doing. They were helping people.”
Spivak attended classes at Columbia University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from a closely affiliated school, Albert A. List College. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from University of Colorado Law School.
While in law school, Spivak was a law clerk at the United States Attorney’s Office and represented clients in the Civil Litigation Clinic and Colorado State Public Defender’s Office. He also has worked at private law firms nationally and in downtown Pittsburgh.
Spivak and his family moved back to the Pittsburgh area last year, and now live in Banksville. He said plans to continue writing as much as he can while maintaining his law practice. He frequently writes columns for At Issue, which is published by the Pennsylvania Barr Association.
“In journalism, you’re highlight issues that people should know about. As a lawyer, you’re able to help in more of a direct way, which is satisfying,” he said.
Contact information, and information about services offered by the law firm can be found at the Spivak Law Firm website.