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June 22, 2021
Contact: Toni Valenti
The New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA) today issued the following statement on the passing of Judge Jack B. Weinstein, Senior Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York where he served from 1967 until his passing on June 15, 2021, at age 99. NYCLA and its officers, directors and members mourn the passing of this pathbreaking and dedicated jurist, extraordinary legal scholar, and true mentor and friend to generations of judges, lawyers, and law clerks.
“Judge Weinstein was a force of nature in his commitment to the rule of law for over 5 decades. Known for his approachability, he was widely respected as a creative and far-thinking jurist and champion for the rights of the less fortunate, and an advocate for increased opportunities in his courtroom for younger attorneys. His wisdom, sense of fairness, and deep understanding of the law will be missed” said Vincent T. Chang, NYCLA President.
Across the many decades of his remarkable career, Judge Weinstein was a true friend to NYCLA. In 2004, Judge Weinstein was recognized with the NYCLA Federal Courts Committee’s Edward Weinfeld Award. In October 2008 he presented the award to then-Eastern District of New York District Judge John Gleeson, and in November 2018, at the age of 95, Judge Weinstein presented the award to Judge Dora Irizarry, then the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of New York, for her distinguished contributions to the administration of justice. Judge Weinstein also generously assisted NYCLA’s Federal Courts Committee when it prepared its Retrospective covering the history of the Eastern District of New York from 1990 to 2015.
Appointed to the federal bench by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967, Judge Weinstein served as the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 1980 to 1988. In March 1993, Judge Weinstein took senior status, and continued to hear cases until March 2020, at the age of 98.
Judge Weinstein was known for many significant contributions to the law, including many innovations in case management and resolution. His creation of a settlement structure that is still used today to bring justice to people harmed by a product or company. Judge Weinstein’s history of public service began with his service as a U.S. Navy Lieutenant during World War II. Thereafter, he worked for the NAACP under civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall, on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. During his decades of service on the federal bench, Judge Weinstein presided over many high-profile mass tort cases, including cases addressing liability arising from Agent Orange, asbestos, tobacco, breast implants, and handguns. His scholarship includes two landmark treatises, which continue to be consulted by practitioners and judges alike, Weinstein on Evidence and Weinstein on New York Civil Practice. He served on the faculty at Columbia University Law School and Brooklyn Law School.
Judge Weinstein’s history of public service began with his service as a U. S. Navy Lieutenant during World War II; later, he subsequently worked for the NAACP under civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall, on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. As a federal judge, he worked on several high-profile mass tort cases, involving Agent Orange, asbestos, tobacco, breast implants, and handguns. His legal academic activities included two great treatises, Weinstein on Evidence and Weinstein on New York Civil Practice. He served on the faculty at Columbia University Law School and Brooklyn Law School. He is survived by his wife Susan Berk and his sons Seth, Michael, and Howard and their families.
About the New York County Lawyers Association
The New York County Lawyers Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.