October 22, 2007
Trailblazing Attorneys to be Inducted into Philly Lawyers' "Hall of Fame"
Some fought for social justice while others spent their careers promoting the commercial interests of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Regardless of their background, they all have one thing in common—the mark they left on the legal community in Philadelphia.
On October 23 from 5 to 7 p.m., the Philadelphia Bar Association will induct 41 attorneys of the past into its prestigious "Legends of the Bar" hall of fame. The event will be held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St., 33rd Floor. Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Jane Dalton will preside at the event.
This is the first class of Legends to be inducted since the charter group of 160 Legends of the Bar was selected as part of the 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Associations Bicentennial celebration in 2002. At the event, the 41 new Legends will be formally unveiled in a special section of the Fall edition of The Philadelphia Lawyer magazine.
In 2006, then-Chancellor Alan M. Feldman reactivated the Legends of the Bar Committee to recognize individuals who have died since the original Legends Committee concluded its deliberations in the year 2000. The committee held six meetings and considered several hundred people, including those who had been nominated pursuant to notices in the printed media and on the Association Web site and those whose names had been determined by a search of the necrology database for the relevant time period.
The qualifications for induction as a Legend of the Bar, in addition to the limitation to deceased attorneys, include: a breadth of achievement rather than a single accomplishment, and; an enduring contribution to the law; a deep commitment to achieving equal access to justice for all citizens; a profound respect for the ethical principles that govern the profession; a leadership role in advancing the interests of the community; or, a recognized ability to mentor, lead or inspire others in the pursuit of law and justice.
The Legends of the Bar Committee consists of Marvin Comisky, chair; Honorable Lynne Abraham, Robert J. Coleman, Andre L. Dennis, Louis W. Fryman, Peter Hearn, Paul C. Heintz, S. Gerald Litvin, James F. Mundy, Abraham C. Reich, Honorable Norma L. Shapiro, Kenneth Shear, Gerard J. St. John, David T. Sykes, Audrey C. Talley and Ralph G. Wellington.
The newest inductees into the Association's prestigious Legends of the Bar, in alphabetical order, are:
James E. Beasley (1926-2004) was a civil trial lawyer who handled many high-profile cases and represented many high-profile Philadelphians over his 48 years at the bar. He was a self-made man who overcame many obstacles to succeed as a lawyer. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Navy. He served on a submarine during World War II. He worked as a truck driver. Financed by the GI Bill, he completed high school, college and law school. He mainly represented plaintiffs, many of them in complex cases such as defamation, medical malpractice and products liability actions. In the courtroom, he was able to communicate clearly to juries and those juries usually responded favorably to his arguments in the more than 400 cases that he handled. The James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University is named in his honor.
Edward R. Becker (1933-2006) was a lawyer's lawyer who became a judge's judge. His judicial opinions were marked by outstanding scholarship, logical consistency and substantial length. He was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1970 and, in 1981, to a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where he later served as chief judge. He was known as one of the circuit judges most frequently cited by the Supreme Court of the United States. His opinion on the reliability of scientific evidence formed the basis of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. He originated the rationale for class action certification adopted by the Supreme Court in 1995. He wrote approximately 2,000 judicial opinions. Through his years of success, he never lost contact with his roots and continued to live in the working-class Frankford neighborhood in the house where he grew up, and continued to travel to and from court on public transportation, the Frankford elevated.
Sylvan M. Cohen (1914-2001) was a lawyer expert in the practice of real estate law. He was a pioneer in the development of real estate investment trusts ("REITs"), which made it possible for small investors to acquire interests in large real estate transactions. He founded and became president of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust. He served as president of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He served in many leadership positions in the Philadelphia Bar Association and was chairman of the Board of Governors, the State Civil Committee and the Supreme Court Advisory Committee, among others. He was tireless in his efforts for charitable activities that included chairmanship of the Allied Jewish Appeal, chief barker of the Philadelphia Variety Club, vice-president of United Way, and a member of the steering committee for Business Leaders Organized for Catholic Schools. He also served as a trustee or director of the Albert Einstein Medical Center, the Hebrew University, various schools of the University of Pennsylvania, the Police Athletic League and many others.
Kenwyn M. Dougherty (1955-2005) was a medical malpractice defense lawyer who, despite a diagnosis of cancer at the beginning of her law practice, persevered to become a highly successful trial lawyer and, at the same time, raised a family of three children. She was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. She held leadership positions in the Pennsylvania Defense Institute. After only twenty years of the practice of law, her cancer resurfaced and ended her life.
H. Thomas Felix II (1934-2006) specialized in labor law, representing management, including the City of Philadelphia in labor contract negotiations with municipal employees and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in negotiations with the state police. He also represented hospitals in their labor negotiations with hospital workers. He taught labor law at Temple University School of Law and at Rutgers University's Center for Management Development. He was a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He co-authored two books on labor-management law and wrote numerous articles on related subjects.
Barton E. Ferst (1919-2006) was a pre-eminent lawyer in the field of taxation, the author of a widely used textbook on accounting for lawyers, and a teacher of taxation, accounting and estate planning in the Law School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He held leadership positions on committees of both the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations. He served on the Board of Gratz College and was active in many charitable and civic organizations.
Leon S. Forman (1914-2006) was an authority on bankruptcy and creditors' rights. He practiced law for more than sixty years. He served as chairman of the Philadelphia Bar Association's corporation, banking and business law section, and as chairman of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's bankruptcy committee. The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges presented him with its Excellence in Education Award. He was a member of the American Law Institute. He taught bankruptcy and creditors' rights at the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania and at Temple University School of Law.
Maurice Heckscher (1907-2001) was a trusts and estates lawyer, a member of a well-known Philadelphia family, and a civic leader. During World War II, he served as assistant general counsel to the War Production Board. After the war, he returned to the practice of law in Philadelphia. He served on the boards of many business corporations and many charitable and educational institutions, including the American Philosophical Society, Natural Lands Trust, and the Philadelphia Zoological Society.
H. Ober Hess (1914-2004) was a prominent lawyer specializing in taxation and trusts and estates. In addition to the practice of law, he served as the managing partner of his law firm. He was also an associate professor of taxation at Temple University School of Law; and served as a trustee of Ursinus College and of Philadelphia College of Art. He was chairman of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Tax Section for two years and served for 64 years as the editor of The Fiduciary Review. He held leadership positions supporting the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, the Academy of Music and Lankenau Hospital.
Judith J. Jamison (1925-2001) is best remembered as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. She was the first woman in Pennsylvania to be assigned to the bench of the Orphans' Court Division. Prior to her service as a judge, she was an assistant attorney general of Pennsylvania. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orphans' Court Rules Committee, and of the National Association of Women Judges. She served on the Board of Directors of City Trusts and on the boards of several charitable organizations; and she has received several awards, including the Philadelphia Bar Association's Sandra Day O'Connor Award.
William R. Klaus (1926-2005) was a champion of equal justice under law. An expert in banking and international commercial transactions, he was one of the lawyers who formed Philadelphia's Community Legal Services, an organization to provide free legal services to indigent persons. He then served as president of Community Legal Services for 19 years. He was co-founder of the Philadelphia Commission for Effective Criminal Justice, which addressed what was needed for the system to provide fair and effective criminal justice. At the national level, he chaired the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and also served as president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. Particularly noteworthy was his public defense of the legal aid program against criticism leveled at it by the vice president of the United States. He served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1974.
Samuel E. Klein (1947-2002) specialized in the defense of defamation actions against newspapers and other publishers, including radio and television broadcasters. He was recognized as an expert on the application of the First Amendment's right of freedom of the press. He handled defamation matters at all stages, before and after publication, at trial and on appeal. He represented Philadelphia's major newspapers and their reporters. He also taught communications law at Temple University. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by a fatal heart attack at the age of 55 years.
Robert M. Landis (1920-2005) was a civil trial lawyer who specialized in labor law, bar association activity and child welfare work. In his early years, he served as deputy city solicitor for the City of Philadelphia. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was elected Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He was chairman of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Coordination of Federal Judicial Improvements. He also served as president of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. He was president of the Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania and was a director of the Child Welfare League of America.
Rotan E. Lee (1949-2006) was a charismatic corporate finance lawyer who held significant municipal positions in Philadelphia. A tall, outspoken man, he served as president of the Board of Education and chairman of the Philadelphia Gas Commission. He was a director of several other organizations including the Public Interest Law Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and Mellon Bank. He also wrote newspaper columns and hosted a radio talk show. His career was cut short by a heart attack at age 57.
James M. Marsh (1913-2006) was an appellate lawyer whose fluid writing style and genial personality masked the intensive preparation that went into every one of the hundreds of appeals that he handled. His career path was unique. While serving as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army during World War II, his commanding officer recommended him for law school, even though he had no college degree. He was accepted at Temple University School of Law and became its first graduate to be chosen for a clerkship with a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition to his appellate practice, he wrote many published articles on legal subjects. He served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Task Force on the Commonwealth Procurement Code and was also active on many committees of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations.
Francis E. Marshall (1922-2003) was a civil trial lawyer who specialized in the defense of the interests of major insurance companies. A highly decorated veteran of World War II, he had a powerful, theatrical voice and made effective use of gestures and dramatic pauses. His courtroom presence was well suited to the substantial amounts of money at issue in the significant cases that he handled.
William M. Marutani (1923-2004) personified the higher calling of the bar, dedicating much of his life to the causes of the underprivileged and oppressed. His parents were immigrants from Japan. At the age of 19 years, in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was incarcerated in a government detention facility in Tule Lake, California. Later, he was commissioned an officer in the United States Army, a member of the famed "Nisei Regiment." In 1953, he graduated from the law school of the University of Chicago and began the practice of law in Philadelphia. He was a volunteer attorney for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, handling cases in Louisiana and Mississippi. As national counsel for the Japanese American Citizens League, he argued the case of Loving v. Virginia before the Supreme Court of the United States. As a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, he ruled that Philadelphia's Central High School could not remain an all-male institution. President Carter appointed him to the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.
John R. McConnell (1915-2004) was primarily a civil defense trial lawyer who, on occasion, represented plaintiffs and criminal defendants. His courtroom demeanor was engaging and unpretentious, masking his exhaustive preparation and absolute determination to win the case. His clients included major business corporations such as Philadelphia Electric Company and the Reading Railroad, municipal bodies such as the School District of Philadelphia, and significant individuals including two judges who were accused of felony crimes. In 1971, he served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He also served as president of the National Association of Railroad Counsel. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. For more than 20 years, he taught trial techniques at Temple University School of Law and at Villanova Law School. After retiring from the practice of law, he taught high school for six years at his alma mater, St. Joseph's Prep.
Anthony S. Minisi (1926-2005) was best known by his college nickname, "Skippy." He was a civil trial lawyer whose courtroom skills mirrored his aggressive style of play on the football field. He specialized in the defense of personal injury cases, including negligence, products liability and toxic tort claims, as well as domestic relations disputes. He was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association, chairman of the Committee of Seventy, chairman of the Easttown Township Board of Supervisors, and a leader in many other civic organizations. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame by reason of his record as a halfback for the University of Pennsylvania and the United States Naval Academy.
Robert N. C. Nix Jr. (1928-2003) was the first African-American to be elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the first to serve as Chief Justice. A former deputy Attorney General, his practice of law was mainly criminal defense and his volunteer activities were concentrated in municipal committees and nonprofit organizations that affected the rights of low-income inner-city residents. He was elected to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia in 1967. In 1971, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, becoming chief justice in 1984. During his tenure on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Nix earned the reputation of making an innovative review of the principles applicable to each case, without necessarily yielding to the rationale of other courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. His term as chief justice was marked with civility and humor.
Joseph V. Pinto Sr. (1933-2004) was known mainly for his defense of automobile manufacturers in products liability cases, an area of the law that rapidly expanded during his years of practice. He represented Ford Motor Company, Mazda, Porsche, Subaru and The Jeep Corporation, among others. A quiet, unassuming man, his signature characteristic was meticulous preparation and attention to detail. He was active in the administration of his law firm and in the training of its trial lawyers. He was an adjunct professor in the trial advocacy program at Temple University School of Law. Also, he was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Esther Polen (1910-2003) was a general practice lawyer who began the practice of law after raising two children. She was extremely active in Bar Association and civic activities, and encouraged women to make careers in the law. She taught brief writing at Temple University School of Law and also lectured at several other universities. In the Philadelphia Bar Association, she served as secretary of the Association and as chair of the Family Law Section and the Women's Rights Committee. She was a board member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and held leadership positions in many Jewish agencies.
Edward N. Polisher (1902-2004) the dean of the estate planning bar, went directly from high school to Dickinson Law School and graduated at the age of 20 years. He had to wait until his next birthday before he could be admitted to the bar. He then practiced estate planning and tax law for the next 78 years. His practice began at the start of federal taxation and continued at the crest of the development of estate planning throughout the 20th century. He also taught law as an adjunct professor, wrote two books on estate planning and served in leadership positions on many charitable organizations, including the gerontological research entity named in his honor as the Edward and Esther Polisher Institute.
Franklin Poul (1925-2006) specialized in antitrust law, securities cases and other complex commercial litigation. He authored the Pennsylvania annotations to Section 7 of the Uniform Commercial Code. He was well known among lawyers for his pro bono involvement in significant civil liberties litigation.
Lawrence Prattis (1927-2003) is best remembered for his 19-year tenure as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia where he handled mostly civil cases, and for his dedication to the development of low-income housing. Trial lawyers appreciated his calm demeanor while exercising complete control of what was taking place in the courtroom. He was a lecturer at Villanova Law School and was a board member of the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the United Fund of Philadelphia.
Stefan Presser (1953-2005) was a public interest lawyer who pursued his goals with a passion and brought about many changes in public policies affecting individual rights. Throughout most of his career, he served as the legal director of ACLU of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit civil rights organization. He initiated landmark litigation that brought about significant changes in many areas, including police search and seizure practices, foster care programs and death penalty cases. He taught and supervised a Death Penalty Litigation Clinic at Temple University School of Law. His career was cut short by cancer at age 52.
Samuel M. Rabinowitz (1933-2006) specialized in trust and estate law and was a leader in his community. He was a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He served as chair of the Tax and Estate Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and taught Pennsylvania Bar Institute courses on trust and estate law. He served on the board of Albert Einstein Medical Center.
Arthur G. Raynes (1934-2006) was a civil trial lawyer who mainly represented plaintiffs. He achieved a major success for his clients whose children were deformed by the use of the drug Thalidomide. His whimsical, lighthearted personality often seemed in contrast to his effectiveness as a trial lawyer. But he was effective. He handled many major cases, including the claims of oil riggers who died in a helicopter crash off the coast of Scotland, and his participation in the settlement of the claims against John E. duPont for the murder of Olympic wrestler David Schultz. He served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1990.
Henry T. Reath (1919-2005) was a trial and appellate lawyer who handled both major commercial cases and major public interest matters. Among his significant cases were the defense of Japanese electronics manufacturers against predatory pricing antitrust claims and representation of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia in a mandamus action to require the City of Philadelphia to appropriate operating funds for the court. His aggressive litigation style reflected his highly decorated wartime experience in the Battle of the Bulge. He served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association and was a dedicated advocate for merit selection of judges. He helped to found Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and was active on the boards of many charitable institutions.
Stephen T. Saltz (1941-2006) was a civil trial lawyer whose trademark was relentless tenacity on behalf of his clients. He began his legal career as a member of the Defender Association of Philadelphia and then moved to the City Solicitor's Office where his advocacy skills led to his being given general supervision of all major trials. After 14 years in the public sector, he went into the private practice of law representing mainly personal injury plaintiffs. He held leadership positions in the Philadelphia Bar Association, the most significant of which were on the Board of Governors and the State Civil Committee. He was appointed a Judge Pro Tem of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Also, he was active in many charitable organizations, including St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.
Helen Spigel Sax (1916-2004) was an estate-planning lawyer and a pioneer among women lawyers aspiring to partnership in large law firms. She also served as president of the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia and was a board member of the National Museum of American Jewish History, among other educational and charitable institutions.
Robert W. Sayre (1916-2006) a successful antitrust and securities litigator, as well as a specialist in healthcare law, is best remembered for his work in furtherance of civil rights. In 1953, he was one of a team of ten lawyers who volunteered to defend nine members of the Communist Party who could not obtain counsel after being accused of violation of the Smith Act (advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government). The defense team was an all-star group, and their effort has achieved legendary status in the history of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He was one of the founders of Philadelphia's Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. When the Committee was incorporated as the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia ("PILCOP"), he continued to serve on its Board, including service as its chairman.
Harvey N. Schmidt (1915-2002) was a lawyer in general practice who persevered and ultimately prevailed over racial prejudice in the legal community. He served as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia and as the executive director of Community Legal Services. He is best remembered as one of the founders of a small law firm that produced more than a dozen judges and government officials.
Irving R. Segal (1914-2002) known to all as "Buddy," is best remembered for the remarkable feat of persuading the Interstate Commerce Commission and the regulatory commissions of each individual state to grant full territorial operating rights to United Parcel Service, despite the rigid monopoly-oriented restrictions of public service law. The effort extended about 35 years and involved more than 50 separate hearings. After nationwide operating authority was obtained, he successfully defended UPS in an antitrust case premised on allegations of monopolization. He represented other major businesses, including AT&T, the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, RCA and NBC. He was recognized with the 50-year Award of the American Bar Foundation, and with the Irving R. Segal Lectureship in Trial Advocacy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Stanford Shmukler (1930-2006) was a highly successful criminal defense lawyer who did not hesitate to represent unpopular defendants. In 1975, he represented an avowed Nazi, the leader of the KKK in Pennsylvania, who was accused of plotting to blow up a synagogue. He was not deterred, even in the face of death threats and the firebombing of his home. He donated half his fees from the case to his synagogue and the other half to Israel. He argued two cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, one of them a part of the landmark decision Miranda v. Arizona. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association and Chair of its Criminal Law Section. He served as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Criminal Procedural Rules Committee.
David S. Shrager (1935-2005) was a civil trial lawyer who primarily represented personal injury plaintiffs and frequently served as lead counsel in mass tort litigation. He held leadership positions in both the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations. He was appointed a Judge Pro Tem in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia and served as president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
Robert L. Trescher (1913-2002) was a civil trial lawyer with long-standing ties to the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his trial practice of law, he taught constitutional law classes at the university and also served as a trustee. In 1966, he was elected to the office of Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He was also elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Lewis H. Van Dusen Jr. (1910-2004) was a Philadelphia lawyer who lived up to—and surpassed—the expectations of his socially prominent family. After graduating from Princeton University summa cum laude, he attended Harvard for one year and completed his legal education at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. During World War II, he interrupted his law practice and participated in action in Europe and North Africa, returning to his Philadelphia law office with Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals. He was known throughout the legal community as an authority on professional ethics. He served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He was a director of the Greater Philadelphia Movement, Inglis House (persons with physical disabilities), and numerous charitable and educational institutions.
Charles R. Weiner (1922-2005) was a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for 38 years. He was particularly well known for his ability to bring about settlements of the cases assigned to him. He had an instinctive sense of what was necessary for a settlement and he would not hesitate to schedule several cases for settlement conferences at the same time, using different locations within the courthouse for each conference and dividing his time among them as he saw fit. His handling of asbestos cases in the Multidistrict Litigation Program has been emulated by many state and federal judges throughout the country. He was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and at Temple University. He served as chairman of the national council of overseers of Dropsie University and was a board member of many charitable organizations, particularly those dealing with the treatment of mental health issues.
Robert B. Wolf (1915-2005) was a corporate lawyer specializing in bankruptcy, acquisitions and mergers whose volunteer efforts greatly improved the system of juvenile justice in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. After serving as an infantry officer in World War II, he was assigned as a staff member to the Nuremberg Tribunal and the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Upon returning to Philadelphia, he resumed his corporate law practice. He was a permanent member of the American Law Institute. Also, he served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and as chairman of the Citizens Crime Commission Committee on Children and Youth. He was appointed by the U.S. District Court as a master to review and report on overcrowding at the Youth Services Detention Center.
Andrew B. Young (1907-2003) specialized in taxation and estates law, and was a leader in promoting the commercial interests of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. He lectured on taxation and finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and at six other universities. He held leadership positions on the tax committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the tax section of the American Bar Association. He also served as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.