Legal Law

93-Yr-Outdated Skadden Lawyer With Ties To Agency’s Title Companions Was Nonetheless Working On Instances When He Handed Away

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There comes a time in every lawyer’s life when they wish they could leave their firm because it feels like they’ve been there forever. Barry Garfinkel, a litigator who celebrated his 65th anniversary with Skadden less than two weeks ago, was at his firm forever, and he credited the firm with enriching his very long life.

Garfinkel, 93, passed away on August 29. He was Skadden’s oldest active attorney, and the ninth lawyer to be hired by the firm. “He really had Skadden in his blood,” partner John Gardiner, global head of Skadden’s international litigation and arbitration practice, said. Jay Kasner, Skadden’s securities litigation practice leader, referred to Garfinkel as “the embodiment of the history of the firm,” calling his passing “the end of an era.”

Garfinkel was the last attorney at the firm to have known and worked with all five of the name partners at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In the past, he served as the head of the firm’s litigation practice and led its international arbitration practice. “He never wanted to retire,” Gardiner said. In fact, Garfinkel was still working on a major case with Gardiner when he passed.

Fourteen of Skadden’s litigators published the following in a New York Times obituary for Garfinkel:

Personally, he was a mentor and friend to so many of us in the New York litigation group. Barry’s deep, baritone voice will continue to echo through the halls of Skadden as we endeavor to continue to uphold the ideals of the profession and the “upper margin work” that Barry personified in his 65 years at the firm.

At a dinner celebrating his 50th anniversary at the firm, Garfinkel said, “Fifty years, when you enjoy what you are doing, goes in a flash.”

We here at Above the Law would like to extend our condolences to Barry Garfinkel’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.

‘Skadden in his blood’: After 65 years at firm, Barry Garfinkel has died [Reuters]


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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