Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jack Litman - One of a Kind - 1943-2010

  Jack Litman, a former and long-time member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Jack_dinner[1] (NACDL) board of directors and a past president of the NYSACDL passed away Saturday. Ted Simon, Secretary of NACDL and dear friend of Jack, described him as "an incomparable lawyer, father, and friend." As a member of the law firm of Litman, Asche & Gioiella, LLP, he handled major felony cases in New York, like the defense of Robert E. Chambers Jr.  He also represented individuals charged with  white collar related crimes.  Past NACDL President Barry Scheck, described him as a man with a Jack alone MG_0530[1]

"first rate intellect, a love of art, history, and all things Fench. But perhaps most impressive of all, sometimes with gestures of kindness and loyalty unknown to many, he delivered when it counted for his friends, his clients, and the cause of liberty.  Jack never buckled trying one of the most notorious murder cases in the history of New York City."

Jack was special to so many.  For me he was the extraordinary lawyer with whom I could discuss arcane legal issues, talk about the art museum in Vegas or just talk about life.  He was a crucial part of my NACDL family.   He was one of the nicest most caring individuals one could come across in life.  He will be missed, and my tears are for him. He was one of a kind. 

(esp) With a special thank you to his dear friend, Ted Simon, for the photographs. See also Anemona Hartocollis, NYTimes, Jack T. Litman, Lawyer for ‘Preppy Killer’ and Others, Is Dead at 66; Talkleft here; Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky reminded me of the Ethics in America, Vol. 2: To Defend a Killer program that includes Jack Litman, Justice Scalia and others as panelists.

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Jack's office informs me that the funeral is Monday, 1/25 at 11:15 at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism at 15 West 86 St., NYC. The family will be there at 10:30.

Posted by: stephen gillers | Jan 24, 2010 2:08:36 PM

The photos are great--thanks also for writing this. Jack was a wonderful man. His sister Rose was my extra mom, my dad's closest scientist colleague, my mom's best friend. When I was eight, Jackie lived with my family one summer in Denver. He painted the kitchen. He was incredibly strong--we climbed on him as if he were a jungle gym. When I went to New York for college, I babysat for his kids. At one point I had a frightening encounter with a pimp and became a complaining witness in a criminal case. Jack, then an asst. DA, watched over the progress of my case and helped me a lot. He was truly a sweet and caring guy.

When Jack's mother Sarah died, I went to his apartment where the family was sitting shiva. Jack was in the kitchen with me and some other friends. Some of his not-very-popular clients were in the living room. Helena, then Jack's wife, came into the kitchen and said "Go talk to your clients, Jack. Nobody else wants to."

Posted by: Lisa Lerman | Jan 25, 2010 7:29:37 AM

I attended Jack's funeral today. It was difficult, but fulfilling, important and worthwhile. As they say, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Jack's sons, Ben and Sacha spoke, as did his partner, Dick Asche. They each were able to channel some of what made Jack so extraordinary; not by speaking at length about his amazing courtroom victories, but by relating the marvelous, heartfelt stories of Jack's warmth and boundless humanity. I knew Jack for 35 years as a very special and talented colleague. Today, from those closest to him, I learned about Jack, the father and friend, also very special and talented in those roles, as well.

As a profession, we are profoundly poorer without him. But all of us who were touched by him, in ways great and small, are profoundly better for that experience. My deepest condolences to Ben and Sacha. Any father, but especially your father, is irreplaceable. But through you and the memories of your father that you will pass on to others, Jack will live forever.

Posted by: Michael Shapiro | Jan 25, 2010 2:34:03 PM

A few years ago, our office had Jack as one of our presenters in an annual day-long criminal law seminar for about 350-400 lawyers here in Cleveland. His presentation was terrific. Afterwards while he enjoyed a short meal with me before he headed for the airport, he recounted what he was doing on 9/11/2001 -- and how he had to persuade a NY judge that it might not be the best thing to proceed with a trial that day. He had tears in his eyes just telling the story. He was every bit what every defense lawyer (heck, every lawyer) should emulate and so much more.

Dennis Terez
Federal Public Defender

Posted by: Dennis Terez | Jan 26, 2010 2:35:26 PM

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