Lifland, Longest-Serving Southern District Bankruptcy Court Judge, Dies

, New York Law Journal


Burton R. Lifland
Burton R. Lifland

On Monday, the Second Circuit appeals court upheld Lifland's authority to block private plaintiffs from suing the estate of Madoff investor Jeffry Picower because their claims were derivative to those brought by Picard.

Lifland was appointed to the bankruptcy court bench in 1980 and became its chief judge shortly afterward. He served as chief judge of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Second Circuit in the late 1990s.

He established fee guidelines for professionals in Chapter 11 cases, implemented a mediation program for the bankruptcy court, and in the mid-1990s started one of the court system's first electronic case filing systems.

Outside the courtroom, Lifland helped shape the field by helping to develop and write Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) legislative guide on insolvency law. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to UNCITRAL.

Lifland served as a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, helped found the International Insolvency Institute, and served as a member of the Judicial Conference Subcommittee on Bankruptcy Case Management.

Lifland earned his undergraduate degree in 1951 from Syracuse University and his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1954. Before he became a judge, he worked as an attorney for three firms: Lifland, Marcus & Angel; Levy, Levy & Ruback; and Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg & Casey.

He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Elaine; two sons, Howard, a doctor, and Craig, a bankruptcy lawyer with Zeisler & Zeisler in Bridgeport, Conn.; five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Funeral arrangements are private. The court will host a memorial for friends and colleagues at a later date.

What's being said

Comments are not moderated. To report offensive comments, click here.

Preparing comment abuse report for Article# 1202638148691

Thank you!

This article's comments will be reviewed.