Legacy of the Lion: Roy DeCaro ’67

Recently, Roy DeCaro ’67 was named Philadelphia’s 2018 Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers of America. This is a repeat of his 2014 designation. “Lawyer of the Year” recognition is awarded to individual attorneys with the highest overall peer feedback in their practice area.

A. Roy DeCaro has tried more than 200 jury trials during his legal career, first as a prosecutor and now as a civil attorney. As a prosecutor, he persuaded juries to convict murderers, drug dealers, motorcycle gang members, organized crime figures, corrupt police officers and corrupt public officials. As a civil trial lawyer, Roy has represented those who have been seriously injured or killed by others’ negligence, including those injured due to medical error, unsafe products, negligent drivers and the like. He often is asked to mediate and arbitrate cases by plaintiff and defense lawyers. He has been called upon to serve on several Blue Ribbon Panels including panels to recommend institutional changes in the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Criminal Court System. He is an adjunct Law Professor at Villanova Law School teaching Evidence.

Mr. DeCaro has consistently been named a “Super Lawyer” in Philadelphia Magazine, and has been ranked as one of the top 10 lawyers in Pennsylvania on two occasions. He was named by “Lawdragon” Magazine as one of the 500 best lawyers in the United States.

Recently, Mr. DeCaro sat down to answer some questions for our Legacy of the Lion series.

1. What elementary school did you go to?

St. Callistus in West Philadelphia. Now closed.

2. Who were your closest friends at O’Hara?

I was lucky enough to have several close friends. Jim Quigley, Mick McGinnis, Mark Simpson, Ray Van Haute, Fran Van Kirk, Ray DiGuiseppi, Ray Offenheiser, Linda Rocci, Fran Arpa, to name a few.

3. What activities were you involved in during high school (at O’Hara and outside of school–a job, volunteering, etc.)?

Varsity tennis, one year of football (broke my hand), participated in the production of “Oliver,” worked at Sears, Roebuck at 69th Street (no longer there) as a soda jerk, basically.

4. Which teacher/administrator/coach at O’Hara had the greatest impact on your life and why?

Monsignor Louis D’Addezio. He was our tennis coach and demanded that I try out for a part in the production of Oliver during my senior year. To this day, I love drama because of that. Also, his passion and sincerity is something that I believe I latched onto and which helped me throughout my life.

5. What were your favorite classes?

Fr. McBride and Mr. Grillo’s English classes.

 6. What is your greatest memory from your days at O’Hara?

Playing Bill Sikes in “Oliver.” Being the number one guy on the varsity tennis team, which won Cardinal O’Hara’s first city championship in 1967. Beating Overbrook’s number one player to win the championship for Cardinal O’Hara is still the highlight of my sports career.

7. If you could go back to your high school self and give some advice, what would it be?

I regret not being more active in preventing bullying, which I observed. If I had to do it over again, I just wouldn’t allow that to occur in my presence.

8. What advice do you have for our many students who plan to pursue a career as an attorney or in the legal field?

Take courses that will improve your writing and speaking. Think about your motives for entering into the legal field. If your motive is to help people, you’ll love it. If your motive is just to make a lot of money, you probably won’t love it.

9. Do you keep in touch with any of your O’Hara classmates or teachers? Anyone you want to send a shout out to?

I keep in touch with Monsignor D’Addezio. Jim Quigley and I remain very close.

10. You were recently named “Lawyer of the Year.” That’s a tremendous honor. What would you attribute this and your many other successes to?

I think my Catholic education at Cardinal O’Hara and Villanova set the stage for the rest of my life. Plus, my wife Mary is the wise one in our family and whenever I’m about to do something idiotic, she always steers me in the right direction.

 Photo and biography courtesy of Raynes McCarty Trial and Appellate Lawyers.