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Schnader Mourns the Loss of Retired Partner and Friend Judge Arlin M. Adams

On December 23, 2015 by Schnader in News

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is saddened to announce the passing of retired partner Judge Arlin M. Adams on December 22, 2015. Judge Adams was a respected advocate, mentor and friend.

“Judge Adams was larger than life. He brought a rare combination of brilliance, wisdom and understanding to the practice of law and public service. He was a wonderful mentor, who brought out the best in those who worked with him,” said chairman David Smith. “There are generations of former law clerks and lawyers in private practice who regard their time with Judge Adams as a badge of honor.”

Firm managing partner Nicholas LePore, III noted, “Judge Adams was unquestionably a giant in the law, one who left a legacy of fairness, compassion, and dedication. His many and varied accomplishments spoke to his legal savvy and scholarly understanding of the law and legal procedures. He leaves behind many who are better lawyers and members of the community due to his influence in the courtroom, the office, and the world in which he lived and worked.”

Judge Adams began his career at Schnader in 1947, after completing a clerkship with Chief Justice Horace Stern of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. His practice included numerous appellate and complex litigation matters, as well as sensitive governmental investigations. Judge Adams served as the trustee in the New Era bankruptcy, which, in 1995, was the largest nonprofit bankruptcy in history. He served as independent counsel for the investigation into the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1998-2002; conducted an investigation of the Pennsylvania attorney general for alleged criminal activity which led to the attorney general’s resignation and guilty plea; and led an inquiry regarding allegations of improper medical research at a medical center. He retired from Schnader in 2012 at the age of ninety.

Between 1969 and 1987, he was one of the most highly respected judges of the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Judge Adams was active in the legal community, having served as national president of the American Judicature Society and the American Philosophical Society and as chancellor for the Philadelphia Bar Association. He chaired the Judicial Fellows Commission for the United States Supreme Court, and was a member of the American Bar Foundation, the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute, and a past trustee of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, which honored his achievements in 2013. In addition, Judge Adams was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and for the American Institute of Banking.

Civic engagement was a hallmark of Judge Adams’ career, even from early on. He served as Gov. William Scranton’s secretary of public welfare, and managed Richard Nixon’s 1967 presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. He was considered for the United States Supreme Court when he was on the bench on three separate occasions during the Nixon, Ford and Regan years, after which he decided to return to private practice at Schnader. Because of his service to society, Judge Adams was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and a leading institution for policy research in the United States.

He served on a number of nonprofit boards, among which were those of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, the William Penn Foundation, and Bryn Mawr College. He received numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious Philadelphia Award and the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Bar Medal. In 2001, Susquehanna University created the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society to honor his many achievements. Additionally, the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Annenberg Foundation established the Arlin M. Adams Professorship on Constitutional Law in his honor in 2005.

He received his J.D. from the University Pennsylvania Law School in 1947 and earned a B.S., with highest honors, from Temple University in 1941.

He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Neysa Adams, daughters Carol Kirshner, Judith, and Jane, as well as four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A public memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2016, at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road in Elkins Park. 

Judge Adams’ passing was noted in the following publications:

The New York Times: Arlin Adams, Federal Judge Three Times on Supreme Court Short List, Dies at 94
Philadelphia Business Journal – “Longtime federal judge, Schnader Harrison partner Arlin Adams dies
The Philadelphia Inquirer – “Arlin M. Adams, 94, former judge
The Legal Intelligencer – “Arlin Adams, ‘Giant’ of Legal Community, Dies at 94
Law360 – “Judge Adams of 3rd Circ., Schnader Harrison Dies at 94

His legacy is also recalled in “The Antitrust Legacy of Former Third Circuit Judge Arlin Adams,” published in the February 11 edition of The Legal Intelligencer.

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