JUSTIN N. FELDMAN

Obituary
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  • "I met Justin some time in the late 1950's when the New..."
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FELDMAN--Justin N, 92 years of age, died peacefully at his home in New York on September 21, 2011, with his adoring wife of twenty-five years, Linda Fairstein, at his side. He is survived by three children, Jane Feldman of Denver, Colorado, Diane Feldman of Washington, DC, and Geoffrey Feldman of Lowell, Massachusetts, and by two grandsons, Matthew and Alexander Zavislan of Denver, Colorado. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Guy and Marisa Fairstein; Lisa, Marc, Suzy, Isla and Mila Fairstein, and by his devoted friend, Rabin Sooklall. Justin was born in Manhattan on May 25, 1919, graduated from Columbia College (1940) and Columbia Law School (1942), then served from 1943-1946 in the United States Army Air Force as a Trial Judge Advocate for Courts-Martial. In 1946, he was Director of Veterans Affairs for the American Veterans Committee, supervising the establishment of a national legal assistance clinic for returning WWII veterans. From 1952-1955, Justin was Administrative Assistant to Congressman Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., with whom he later practiced law. He was a founding member of the firm of Landis, Feldman, Reilly and Akins, which merged into Poletti, Freidin, Prashker, Feldman and Gartner. In 1982 he joined Kronish Lieb Weiner and Hellman as head of the litigation department. He remained of counsel to that firm - now Cooley LLP - until his retirement from the bar at the age of 90. Justin was a leader in the movement to reform the Democratic Party in Manhattan. His article in the National Municipal Review in 1949 - "How Tammany Holds Power" - ignited the drive for direct election of Manhattan district leaders. He was the Fair Deal candidate for Manhattan Borough President, which forced the withdrawal of the Tammany candidate in favor of Robert Wagner. In 1960, Justin was a member of the special task-force on the reorganization of federal regulatory agencies for President John Kennedy, and was later instrumental in persuading Robert Kennedy to run for the Senate from New York. In 1970, Governor Rockefeller appointed Justin to the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and by appointment of Mayor Koch in 1983 he was a member of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. He was Chair of the City Bar Association's Committee on the Judiciary, on which he served for ten years. In addition to his long record of public service and his distinguished career as a litigator and corporate lawyer, Justin had indomitable spirit and courage, great good humor, profound love of family, friends, the law, life and Martha's Vineyard. He had a great run, to the very last day. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in support of the Justin Feldman '42 Public Service Fellowship and sent to Columbia Law School, 435 W. 116th Street - Box A2, New York, New York 10027. Funeral will be private and a memorial service to be announced at a later date.

Published in The New York Times on Sept. 23, 2011
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