Luke Nikas, B.A.’04

Resolving Complex Problems

By Sarah Ammerman, B.A.’01

Philosophy was the most fitting major Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP partner Luke Nikas could have chosen as preparation for law school. Coupled with his psychology minor, philosophy emphasized critical thinking and the careful reading of complicated texts – all factors that come into play when he anticipates how the media will cover a trial, and how juries and judges may approach cases.

Luke Nikas
 Peter Olson

After graduating from UAlbany, Nikas continued his education at Harvard Law School. He spent one year clerking for a federal judge and then began litigating some of the highest-profile art cases and business disputes around the U.S.: defending the president of a Manhattan gallery that sold more than $60 million in forged art – a case profiled on CBS’ “60 Minutes”; representing the Andy Warhol Foundation in several matters involving the ownership and authenticity of Warhol paintings; and representing the Tisch family in a dispute over a stolen Pablo Picasso painting. Nikas’ University at Albany education prepared him well for these tough cases. “The small philosophy classes, and the accessibility of the professors, made it possible to engage in thoughtful discussions about highly complex problems,” he notes.

As an undergraduate, Nikas also honed other talents. He sang with the University Chorale and recalls the “unbelievable experience” of performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Proctors Theater in Schenectady. He was also a member of the Presidential Honor Society; the National Society of Collegiate Scholars; Phi Beta Kappa; and the Student Association Supreme Court, where he served as chief justice.

Nikas advises those considering a career in law: “Take as many classes in as many subjects as possible. On any given day, I’m interacting with art experts, economists, scientists, and historians. And never stop asking questions until you completely understand the facts. That is the only way you can bring the kind of texture to an argument, or a trial, that really moves people.”