Tuned In

Ted Wells' pre-trial playlist

Published in 2006 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine — July 2006

As the lyrics snake through the sleek wires of Theodore V. Wells Jr.’s iPod, he hypnotically nods to the rhythm. “Right before opening statements, I listen to music like athletes do before the big game,” he says. “My favorite pre-trial song is The Payback. It really gets me in the mood to try a case.” Wells, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, says his play list includes artists like rapper Kanye West. The 56-year-old attorney gets loose to the sharp-tongued hip-hop star, but in the courtroom he gets down to business. “I always knew I would be a lawyer. If you look in my high school yearbook, it says ‘I want to go to college, major in economics and become a lawyer,’ which is what I did.”

Wells says the social-reform brew of the ’50s produced for him a career-defining case: Brown v. Board of Education. “The case decision came out in May of 1954 and I started kindergarten in September of 1955.”

His mentor is Judge Robert Carter, who argued the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. “He is a close personal friend of mine who is 89 and still a sitting federal judge,” Wells says. Much like Carter, Wells is too tenacious to slow down his impressive white-collar criminal defense practice. Would-be adversaries take heed: “… you gotta get ready for the big payback. That’s where I am, the big payback … .”

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