In Memoriam

Jennifer Kuo Baxter (1959–2022)

After joining Columbia Pictures in 1986, Jennifer Kuo Baxter ’83 spent some 30 years in the motion picture industry. With special expertise in films featuring animation and special effects, she served as co-head of the business and legal affairs group for Sony Pictures Digital and in a senior role at DreamWorks Animation.

Thomas Buergenthal (1934–2023)

A survivor of Nazi concentration camps, Thomas Buergenthal ’60, LLD ’08 was a judge at the International Court of Justice as well as professor of comparative law at George Washington University Law School. A pioneer in international human rights law, he coauthored the first casebook in the area and served as a judge at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Ashley Doherty (1949–2022)

Ashley Doherty ’75 worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as a litigation attorney in the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s and rose to assistant general counsel. Earlier in her career, she was a trial attorney at the US Department of Justice’s Environmental Defense Section.

John Eastman (1939–2022)

Entertainment lawyer John Eastman ’64 represented Paul McCartney, the family of Willem de Kooning, and the estate of Francis Bacon, among other clients. Throughout his career, Eastman remained actively involved with NYU Law, serving on his class’s Reunion Committee and—as co-president of the Willem de Kooning Foundation’s board of directors—helping to arrange the loan of de Kooning’s painting The Key and the Parade to the Law School.

Mitchell Engler (1964–2022)

Focusing his scholarship on tax policy, Mitchell Engler ’90, LLM ’91 was a professor of law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, as well as a longtime adjunct professor and a former acting assistant professor at NYU Law. A dedicated teacher, he received a Best Professor Award at Cardozo in 2005.

Gretchen Feltes (1954–2022)

Joining the NYU Law Library in 1984 as a preservation specialist, Gretchen Feltes pivoted to reference work and was instrumental in expanding the Faculty Services and Liaison Program, which oversees faculty research support. When she retired in 2020, she was recognized as “Queen of the Footnotes” for the many times she was acknowledged by scholars for contributions to their work.

Robert Constantino Fernandez (1940–2022)

Robert Constantino Fernandez LLM ’66 practiced as a tax and estate attorney for nearly 50 years, much of that time at McGrory, Wentz, Fernandez & Albright in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. He served in the Army Reserves before the beginning of his legal career, which ended with helping to establish the Genuardi Family Foundation.

Leonard Finz (1924–2023)

Former New York State Supreme Court Justice Leonard Finz ’51 began his career in the US Army during World War II. In 1965, Finz became a New York City civil court judge, and in 1973 he was elected to the New York State Supreme Court. After retiring in 1978, Finz worked in private practice, founding his own firm in 1984.

Donald Flexner (1941–2023)

Donald Flexner ’67, a preeminent antitrust lawyer, represented American Express, AT&T, Delta Air Lines, and other Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters. A former deputy assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, Flexner headed the antitrust group at Crowell & Moring before joining Boies Schiller Flexner as a name partner.

Francis Fornelli (1941–2022)

Francis Fornelli ’66 served for nearly three decades on the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania, one of the longest-serving judges in that county’s history, and was president judge for 21 years. He was also a member of the State Judicial Ethics Committee for some three decades. At NYU Law, he studied as a Root-Tilden Scholar.

Helene Kaplan (1933–2023)

Longtime Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom attorney Helene Kaplan ’67 was deeply involved in board service, becoming the first woman to chair the board of the Carnegie Corporation—where she became one of only two people to be elected an honorary trustee after retirement—among other extensive board memberships. She joined Skadden in 1991 and retired from the firm as of counsel in 2014.

Joseph Lesser (1928–2022)

Chair and CEO of Loeb Partners Realty, Joseph Lesser LLM ’57 worked on the acquisition, financing, and sale of $15 billion worth of properties during a 50-year career. Before founding Loeb Partners Realty, he led the real estate department of Loeb Rhoades & Co. He was a longtime supporter of the Weinfeld Fund and the NYU Furman Center.

Richard Lieb (1930–2022)

Richard Lieb ’53, a leading bankruptcy lawyer and respected bankruptcy scholar, co-founded Kronish Lieb in 1958 with NYU Law classmate Herbert Kronish ’53. In 2006, the firm merged with Cooley, where Lieb continued as a partner before retiring. He taught at both NYU Law and St. John’s University School of Law.

Nancy Lieberman (1957–2023)

Nancy Lieberman LLM ’81 was a leader in the field of mergers and acquisitions and an activist for the disabled. After a spinal cord injury left her a quadriplegic, Lieberman co-founded New Yorkers to Cure Paralysis and continued an active legal practice; her work on the $7 billion sale of Amylin Pharmaceuticals earned her a Dealmaker of the Year award from American Lawyer magazine in 2013.

Mary Shannon Little (1957–2022)

As an assistant US attorney, Mary Shannon Little ’82 led the investigation and prosecution in the 1980s Wedtech scandal, which resulted in the conviction of two congressmen and a New York City borough president on corruption charges. Later, Little became the managing director of corporate investigation firm Kroll Associates and worked for consulting and risk management firms.

Herbert Paul (1931–2023)

Before starting his own tax law firm, Herbert Paul LLM ’61 was a senior tax partner and national coordinator of personal financial counseling services at Touche Ross & Co. A graduate of NYU Stern, he was an NYU life trustee.

Steven Polan (1951–2023)

Steven Polan ’76, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, served as general counsel of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and as New York City’s commissioner of sanitation. He helped establish the Sylvia A. Law Fellowship in Economic Justice in the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program.

Susan Scheman Ratner (1964–2022)

Susan Scheman Ratner ’89 was a member of the President’s Advisory Council of Barnard College and endowed a scholarship in her grandmother’s honor. She also sponsored a writing and speaking pedagogy series at Barnard.

Dennis Riordan (1948–2022)

Top Bay Area criminal appellate attorney Dennis Riordan ’74 worked throughout his career to regain freedom for wrongfully incarcerated persons convicted of serious felonies. Riordan was a Root-Tilden Scholar and an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow at NYU Law.

Lawrence Ross (1941–2022)

Lawrence Ross ’64, LLM ’65 was a founding principal of the firm Bressler, Amery & Ross in New Jersey. Earlier in his career, he served as acting chief counsel of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Jackson, Mississippi, before teaching as an associate professor at Hofstra University School of Law and working in AT&T’s federal regulatory group.

Alain Rozan (1957–2022)

A member of the French bar, Alain Rozan MCJ ’82 practiced international corporate and commercial law in New York at his own firm, Rozan & Nilson, and worked as in-house counsel at CHD-CREGO SAS. In recent years, he was a discovery attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Henry Silberberg (1944–2022)

A seasoned litigator, Henry Silberberg ’68 practiced law for 37 years, serving as managing partner of the Los Angeles offices of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and then of the Los Angeles offices of Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner. In his later career, he became an arbitrator and mediator in commercial cases. At the Law School, Silberberg was a Pomeroy Scholar and an editor of the NYU Law Review. He graduated Order of the Coif.

Billy Sothern (1977–2022)

Billy Sothern ’01 was a renowned capital defense lawyer in Louisiana, perhaps most well-known for his work to overturn the wrongful conviction of Albert Woodfox, who had spent 42 years in prison. Sothern was also the author of Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City, a memoir about the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Donald Statland (1938–2022)

Early in his career, Donald Statland ’62 worked as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the US Department of Justice. In private practice, he formed his own firm in Chicago and was an active member of the Chicago Bar Association, where he chaired the Federal Court Procedure Committee.

William Sterling Jr. (1934–2023)

As a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, William Sterling Jr. ’59 specialized in corporate litigation, particularly corporate takeover work. He began his legal career as an associate at Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood. A Root-Tilden Scholar at NYU Law, he later established the William & Mary Sterling Scholarship within the Root-Tilden-Kern Program.

Eric Taussig (1944–2022)

Eric Taussig ’71 began his career as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of New York and later joined multinational tobacco company Philip Morris, where he worked for 25 years, eventually serving as vice president and associate general counsel. Taussig retired from Philip Morris in 2002 and started a firm where he practiced law with his son.

James Tierney (1957–2023)

James Tierney ’81, LLM ’84, a contract and taxation law specialist, was a professor at the University of Toledo School of Law for 25 years and won an Outstanding Teacher Award in 2005. Before entering academia, he clerked for Judge William Fay of the United States Tax Court and worked for Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York and Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, DC.

Howard Tytel (1946–2022)

During a long career in the entertainment industry, Howard Tytel ’71 was general counsel of SFX Entertainment as well as counsel in the corporate and securities group of Reed Smith. Previously, he worked in top in-house positions at media investment firms CKX and FXM and as of counsel at Baker McKenzie.

Posted September 11, 2023.