Judge Harold Baer Jr., Advocate of Diversity, Dies at 81

, New York Law Journal


Judge Harold Baer Jr., who served on the bench in the Southern District for 20 years, died Tuesday night, leaving a legacy of commitment to civil rights and diversity.

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What's being said

  • Ravi Batra

    Judge Harold Baer, Jr. was a "blue blood" jurist of the highest order, and an easygoing nobleman. Crumbling paint in then-60 Centre Street, however, was much too much to bear as it devalued the institutional interests of justice, and Justice Baer resigned and re-entered private practice.

    I‘ve been blessed with his warm friendship through the decades and have benefited from his principled-based positions - even as he undertook to push the envelope a la Judge Jack Weinstein - and was recognized for same by a Justice of the United States Supreme Court for such remedial efforts. Now, our next lunch will now have to wait awhile, even as his loss will be felt always.

    I had the pleasure of serving with him on the City Bar‘s Judiciary Committee as a NYCLA Designee where our friendship took root, even as he informed and fine-tuned my judge-screening or judicial candidate-screening standard - which stood me in great stead.

    He was always generous with his time and mentoring, taking pride in those he nurtured and molded. His service on the bench has proven that the American Judiciary is the finest in the world, as he brought judicial sunshine to bear on the merits of any dispute. A great judge; a great New Yorker; a great American. Given the loss of Justice Israel "Russ" Rubin just a few days ago, this is a double loss, with singular pain, of two jewels in the crown of justice.

    Dated: 5/28/14
    Ravi Batra

  • Br. Hal Weiner, JD, OUM

    As one of the few lawyers who practiced before both his father and Judge Baer Jr., I am shocked and incredibly saddened by this news of his apparent accidental death resulting from a fall at home in Fire Island. He was a pleasure to argue before and appear before and always gave my clients from GAA a fair shake. My one appearance in the criminal court system before his father in a sit-in case was a landmark of frivolity in my otherwise mundane LGBTQ civil rights career as their General Counsel. He will be sorely missed.

  • Tina and Stanley Back

    Harold and family were neighbors along time ago. Tina and I are saddened by his death and offer our condolences to his family. He introduced me to the non-profit world when he "suggested" I volunteer at the Community Service Society. I did and as a result pro bono is a significant part of my work.

  • grifhunter

    It was an honor to practice before him.

  • Raymond J. Dowd - President

    Judge Harold Baer founded Network of Bar Leaders www.networkofbarleaders.org. We celebrated his life and achievements last Monday. He was a mentor to us all and we mourn his loss.

  • PJC

    Not only brilliant and dedicated, but the finest sense of humor on the bench.

  • B. Bank

    Judge Baer was a kind, personal man as much out of the Courtroom as in. For years he presided over the board of my condominium, leading it through hard times. Such a scholar and gentleman I have rarely known.

  • Joseph Nicholson

    Whether litigating in his court or having brunch, it was a great pleasure to be in his presence. Insightful, witty and genuine in everything he did.

  • Stephen Simoni

    Very sad news. A brilliant Judge and kind-hearted person who succeeded in his efforts to ensure all who came into his court room received justice. He has left us too soon.

  • Joanne Matthews Forbes

    Judge Harold Baer was one of my first mentors. A no-nonsense brilliant jurist, a humanitarian, a scholar, witty and wise. New York’s legal community has suffered a great loss.

  • John Hancock

    Judge Baer was one of the finest judges and men. I am terribly saddened to hear this news.

  • James Kousouros

    We have lost a good man and a fine jurist.

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