BY MICHAEL Y. PARK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI
A look at the not-so-secret
identity of Napoli Bern
IN THEIR NEARLY ADJACENT OFFICES ON THE
74th floor of the Empire State Building, Paul J.
Napoli and Marc Jay Bern share a feature that’s
impossible to miss: nearly identical paintings of
Superman. In each, the Man of Steel is smiling
confidently in front of a Manhattan skyline that
is noticeably devoid of the buildings that made
Napoli and Bern household names in the city—
the Twin Towers.
The two men bought the paintings on impulse
while strolling together through town in the
Hamptons, where Napoli was staying for the
weekend at Bern’s summer home.
But are both men Superman, or is one Clark Kent?
“Paul’s strengths are my weaknesses, and my
strengths are his weaknesses,” Bern says. “That’s
the beauty of our partnership all of these years.”
Seventeen years, to be exact. The partnership
that has become the mass-tort giant known
as Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik began at a
courthouse in Nassau County in 1996 where they
were trying cases across the hall from each other.
Napoli, then 29, was there for an automobile-
accident trial when he heard a bailiff call out: