Easygoing, wise and a truly caring leader, Fred Johs is one of the top trial attorneys defending medical malpractice and product-liability claims on Long Island today. A founding partner of the 50 attorney firm Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles & Kaufman in Melville, Johs is a veteran of literally hundreds of defense cases, and in many respects he embodies the clear-headed values of the defense bar. Born and raised in Levittown (a MacArthur HS alum), the son of a dental-lab owner and a nurse, ("He wanted me to be a dentist") Johs was inspired to become a trial lawyer at an early age. ("I was one of those kids who watched 'Judd for the Defense' and 'Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law') Johs was hardly a fast-tracker to the law. "My first year of college at UCONN I majored in having a good time"; he returned to Hofstra and went on to St. John's Law. Secure in himself ("I just got a lot of unconditional love from my family - that's what it's about") Johs entered the law ready to tackle any work handed him. Some of his early mentors: Salvatore Piazza, a Brooklyn trial lawyer, and Richard Mooney, who gave the young Johs work and office space. "At first it was a lot of small claims and district court stuff, generally liability defense, auto accidents, depositions, interesting work." The secret to Johs' growth stemmed from the remarkable confidence other attorneys showed in him; Johs developed his trial skills relatively quickly, and earned the trust of more senior attorneys through the region. Johs met his partners at a former firm and in the last decade they have built perhaps the largest firm on Long Island dedicated to defense litigation, much of it in the medical area. Johs has been central to that growth: the boards of institutions (particularly hospitals) and doctors recognized his skill and discretion. The firm's growth has been extraordinary; today it has 113 staff and professionals, and four locations, including Riverhead and lower Manhattan. Characteristically, Johs downplays the achievement and any role his upbeat persona might have in it: "What we do isn't as glamorous as you might think: It's just hard, grind-it-out work. Nothing but good preparation and common sense." Tall with the build of a NFL lineman, Johs is a charismatic presence; he warmly greets by first name every employee in his expansive Melville office. And though he'd be a natural for politics, he's fought off the temptation. Remarkably fatherhood came late to Johs, who at 50 has young boys ages 8 and 5; "So I don't golf on weekends anymore- my dad was always there for me, and I want to be there for my kids." He lives in Port Jefferson with his wife and two children.