April 25, 2020

In Memorium

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken so many lives, now more than 13,000 in New York. All of us know a friend, family member, or relative who has been affected by this tragedy. We salute our health care workers and first responders on the front lines. We mourn for the lives lost and pray for an end to this scourge. 

The legal community in New York mourns the loss of Justice Johnny Lee Baynes, Judge Noach Dear from Kings County and Thomas Leonard, my classmate from Fordham University, a partner at Barry, McTiernan & Moore, a prince of a man. 

The Lion of The Bronx Bar, my dear friend, Harold Weissman, has also passed. Our condolences and prayers go out to his wife Sally, his children Michael and Diane, and his extended family.

Like many of you, Harold was the person I most admired, the lawyer I aspired to be, and a man I loved. I first met Harold in the early 1980s as a young lawyer in the Bronx appearing before Judge Fusco (settle or select) in the Trial Assignment Part. Harold met me in the hall before the conference and told me his plans to adjourn the case, and asked for my consent. I told him I would follow his lead, which I ended up doing for the next 35 years. At the conference, Harold said something to Judge Fusco which set him off. The conference devolved into a shouting match and Harold turned bright red. After the Conference, I said to Harold, "Mr. Weisman, I hope that was nothing I said to cause that argument"; to which Harold replied, 'What's your name kid ?'  Harold went on to tell me the history between him and Judge Fusco, which was colorful to say the least.

That was the start of a lifelong friendship for me. I became a 'made man' in the  Bronx as I was a friend of Harold's. I was fortunate to be close to him and Sally, sharing many special dinners at Primolo, concerts at Lincoln Center, and visits to his homes in Pelham and East Hampton. The best story about Harold is his 65-year love affair with Sally, his beautiful wife. Every step I take in the Bronx Courthouse, I will think of Harold.

God Bless you, my friend.

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