If you “Google” Daniel O’Toole ’85 the first listing you see says, “Daniel P. O’Toole is one of New York’s premier construction accident and catastrophic injury trial attorneys.” And if you think this is marketing hype, you’re wrong. From 2009–2014, Dan O’Toole was named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the nation. Four times in the last eight years, he obtained jury verdicts that were among the 10 largest personal injury jury verdicts in New York State. Over the course of his career he has personally resolved over 100 cases for over $1,000,000—a feat achieved by very few lawyers in the country, let alone by someone 48 years old. In April 2013, O’Toole settled a record-breaking case against the State of New York for $22,5 million, the largest known personal injury settlement in New York. Dan credits much of what makes him such an outstanding trial attorney to his years at Bergen Catholic. “It’s about working harder than everyone else,” he explains. “When I first got to BC I was sure I was going to be a star basketball player. When I didn’t make the team I was broken-hearted. But instead of giving up, I started running cross country. I was by no means the best, but I gutted it out and worked hard to contribute.” Dan worked hard at many areas of his life. He remembers a job as a summertime janitor at the school. “Brother Boyle, a man of few words, taught me the importance of hard work and modesty while Dominick Albamonte showed me the dignity in a job well done.”
Countless skills and life lessons stayed with Dan after he graduated. For example, at the age of 41 he started running marathons. To date he has run nine, including Boston and New York. A second and perhaps even more important lesson was instilled freshman year.
O’Toole recalls, “Brother James Roepke taught us the importance of being part of something bigger than ourselves and that much was expected of us as Bergen Catholic men.”
Dan has without a doubt become part of something bigger. Philanthropy is an integral part of the man he is today. One organization he supports, Brooklyn to Alaska, takes inner-city youths from New York to a camp in Alaska, where they learn about the outdoors, self-reliance, hard work, and survival. In addition, Dan is committed to helping families with children suffering from pediatric disease. After losing his niece at the age of seven, Dan knows firsthand how devastating such a loss can be. That’s why he and his partners at Block O’Toole & Murphy have raised over $3 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
O’Toole’s involvement isn’t limited to donating money. As well as providing strong financial support to needs-based scholarships for Catholic Schools, Dan has served a number of terms on his Parish School Advisory Board and as Chairman of his parish’s capital campaign committee. The Crusader spirit is strong in the O’Toole household. Aidan O’Toole ’19 is currently a freshman. Dan offers this advice to his son and other Bergen Catholic students: “Do what you’re passionate about, not what you’re ‘supposed’ to do or what others are doing. Remember, nothing that comes easy is worthwhile—being successful takes sacrifice and hard work.”