In Memoriam

Louis Bell

Louis I. Bell ’54 (1930–2018)

Louis I. Bell ’54, civil trial lawyer and philanthropist, passed away on February 23, 2018, at age 88. Bell was a compassionate figure in civil litigation and focused his law practice on aiding those who had historically lacked a voice or were ignored by the criminal justice system. Bell loved to be outdoors and owned Sky Meadow Farms in Leona Valley, California, and the Royal Oaks Ranch in Three Points, California, where he raised cattle, trained horses, and grew cherries, peaches, and apples. He also established and ran Western Pacific Outfitters, a packhorse riding business that led guided tours throughout California.

Edward Blakesee
Edward Blakeslee ’47, LLM ’58 (1921–2018)

Edward Blakeslee ’47, LLM ’58, former president of the NYU Law Alumni Association, passed away on April 11, 2018, at age 96. Blakeslee was a retired general counsel for Mutual of New York Life Insurance Company and former managing director and CEO of Sargasso Mutual Insurance. Born in Brooklyn, Blakeslee loved to travel, having spent time overseas with the US Army Air Corps. During his lifetime, he was able to travel to all seven continents.

Thomas Britt
Thomas M. Britt III ’85 (1960–2017)

Thomas M. Britt III JD/MBA ’85 passed away on November 9, 2017, at age 57. Britt began his legal career at Sullivan & Cromwell before moving to Rogers & Wells, where he became a partner. During the time he spent at Rogers & Wells, Britt specialized in cross-border finance. He initially focused particularly on Latin America, where he created legal structures to provide emerging-market companies access to US and European capital markets. Britt then moved to Asia, establishing Rogers & Wells’s Hong Kong office in 1995 before joining Debevoise & Plimpton as a partner in the firm’s Hong Kong office. In the two decades that he practiced in Hong Kong, Britt served as a mentor to an entire generation of lawyers interested in international finance law. Recently, Britt had returned to Latin America, focusing on private equity work.

Steve Dune
Steve Dune ’56 (1931–2018)

Stephen Dune ’56, Root-Tilden Scholar, passed away on February 27, 2018, at age 86. Dune was born in 1931 in Albania and immigrated to the United States in 1938. After law school, Dune clerked on the US Court of Appeals for the First and Second Circuits before joining Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. During his more than 30 years at the firm, Dune was a senior partner and specialized in domestic and foreign corporate transactions. He was organizational chairman of the Albanian-American Chamber of Commerce and was the director of the Albanian Children’s Fund.

Roger Goebel
Roger J. Goebel ’60, LLM ’61 (1936–2018)

Roger J. Goebel ’60, LLM ’61, Root-Tilden Scholar, professor emeritus at Fordham Law School, and founder of the Fordham Center on European Union Law, passed away on April 20, 2018, at age 82. Goebel published extensively on international legal matters and helped introduce the annual EU law issue of the Fordham International Law Journal, “which is still eagerly awaited each year by lawyers and academics around the world,” said Gráinne de Búrca, Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law at NYU School of Law.

Linda Kalmanowitz-Grunin
Linda Kalmanowitz Grunin ’67 (1943–2018)

Linda Kalmanowitz Grunin ’67, co-founder and co-chairman of the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, passed away on April 10, 2018, at age 75. Grunin and her husband, Jay Grunin ’67, practiced law together in Toms River, New Jersey, for 30 years, as well as making real estate and other investments. In 2013 they established the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, formalizing their existing philanthropic activities. Among the projects endowed by Linda and Jay Grunin and the foundation is NYU Law’s Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship, launched in May 2017. The center is a trailblazer in social justice and education innovation at the intersection of law and social entrepreneurship—commercial endeavors that support the well-being of people and the environment.

Rhona Landau
Rhona Landau ’81 (1954–2017)

Rhona Landau ’81, associate general counsel at Citigroup, passed away on October 13, 2017, at age 62. Prior to joining Citigroup in 1985, Landau worked as an associate at the law firm Kaye Scholer (now Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer). Landau was an active NYU School of Law alumna, and she served as a member of her Law School class reunion committee. As a committee member, Landau took pride in organizing events that brought her Law School classmates together. She was the wife of Steven Weissman LLM ’82 and the mother of Sarah Weissman ’15.

Richard Merz

Richard Merz ’72 (1948–2017)

Richard Merz ’72 passed away on September 7, 2017, at age 69. During his time at NYU Law, Merz was a Root-Tilden Scholar. A native of New York, Merz spent the majority of his career specializing in real estate investment and management. Throughout his life, Merz worked at a range of New York law firms, including Proskauer Rose and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Most recently, he worked at Goldberg Weprin Finkel Goldstein. In addition to his work in real estate, Merz also did public service law: During the AIDS crisis, Merz worked pro bono to assist individuals with HIV/ AIDS diagnoses who faced housing eviction.

Calisha Myers
Calisha Myers ’15 (1985–2017)

Calisha Myers ’15 passed away on September 11, 2017, at age 32. Myers was born in Washington, DC, and attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate before going to NYU Law. An AnBryce Scholar, Myers chaired the Women of Color Collective, was a student advocate in the Legal Aid Prisoners’ Rights Clinic, and served on the Senior Board for the Law Review. After graduation, Myers became a Federal Communications Commission attorney in the Policy Division of the Media Bureau. In her honor, the Law Alumni of Color Association has created the Calisha Myers Memorial Convocation Award.

Bonnie Reiss
Bonnie Reiss ’69 (1945–2017)

Bonnie Reiss ’69, life trustee and former vice chair of the NYU Law School Board, passed away on September 4, 2017, at age 72. Reiss practiced law for 13 years with the Federal Trade Commission, Macmillan Publishers, and JC Penney. After leaving law practice, Reiss became deeply devoted to supporting education and educational opportunities. In 1994, Reiss started the Reiss Family Scholarship Fund. Along with her husband, Richard Reiss ’69, Reiss also endowed the Bonnie and Richard Reiss Chair in Constitutional Law at NYU Law, currently held by Samuel Issacharoff.

Sandor Schweiger
Sandor Schweiger ’61 (1938–2017)

Sandor Schweiger ’61, Law Alumni Association (LAA) board member, passed away on December 12, 2017, at age 79. Schweiger served the LAA community in many capacities, chairing committees and holding a tenure as an honorary director. Schweiger advocated for social justice and his clients in international corporate law. His practice was based in Great Neck, New York. Schweiger was also an accomplished jazz pianist and enjoyed playing for family and friends.

Irving Seidman
Irving P. Seidman ’58 (1934–2017)

Irving Philip Seidman ’58, public corruption prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer, passed away on September 28, 2017, at age 83. Seidman began his career in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in 1961, where he prosecuted mob-related crime and corruption among city officials, before moving to private practice in 1971. In 1978, Seidman represented Estelle Jacobs before the US Supreme Court in United States v. Jacobs, a case that affirmed a defendant’s constitutional right against self-incrimination. Seidman also advised the estates of Lee Strasberg and Marilyn Monroe, among others.

Michael Weinberg
Michael B. Weinberg ’64, LLM ’67 (1938–2017)

Michael B. Weinberg ’64, LLM ’67, tax lawyer and CPA, passed away on December 27, 2017. Weinberg's career included stints at Big Eight accounting firms, a law firm partnership, and positions as tax counsel to numerous privately held corporations, most recently the Gilman Paper Company. Weinberg was also a generous pro bono adviser, especially to artists, curators, scholars, and their families. A lifelong New Yorker, he derived pleasure from the city’s cultural offerings, and also enjoyed country living and extensive travel.

Leonard Wexler
Leonard Wexler ’50, MCJ ’56 (1924–2018)

Leonard Wexler ’50, MCJ ’56, senior judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, passed away on March 31, 2018, at age 93. Wexler was a criminal defense lawyer for 33 years before taking the bench in 1983. In a New York Law Journal interview earlier in 2018, Wexler said, “When I’m not trying cases, I’m bored. During the month of June, I try five to six jury cases. Some judges don’t do that in a year.” Wexler earned a Purple Heart during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.

John Zampino
John Zampino LLM ’74 (1944–2018)

John Zampino LLM ’74 passed away on March 4, 2018, at age 73. Zampino spent his career in private practice, specializing in international tax and general cor- porate law, while also performing pro bono work throughout his life. Zampino was born in Bronx, New York, in 1944, and he attended Fordham Prep School and earned his BA and JD at Fordham University before completing an LLM at NYU Law in 1974. He was recently inducted into the Fordham Prep Football Hall of Fame. During his years on the team, he was a two-time recipient of the Lou Gehrig Award, awarded for sportsmanship, courage, and “gentlemanly conduct on and off the gridiron,” according to the Journal News. He was the father of Ana Zampino O’Neill ’07, LLM ’10.

Posted September 4, 2018