In Memoriam: Mario M. Cuomo (1932-2015)

January 2, 2015

It is with great sadness that the partners, counsel, associates, and staff of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP mourn the passing of our distinguished friend, partner and counsel, Mario M. Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo exemplified our firm’s 125-year tradition of practicing law at the highest level.  His 20 years of service to clients epitomizes the true pinnacle of our profession: sage advisor and formidable adversary. Governor Cuomo gave generously of his time to colleagues and staff  at Willkie and we admired him greatly. At our firm, he continued his legendary oratory, with talks that were thought-provoking, intellectually elegant, and always entertaining. He frequently devoted time to speak with those whose path he crossed daily in our offices, and particularly enjoyed speaking with young lawyers starting out in their careers, sharing his insights about the rule of law and its place in society, the contribution and influence of immigrants, and state and national politics.

Following an illustrious career in public service, Governor Cuomo  joined our firm as a partner on February 15, 1995 having served as Governor of New York State for three terms, and he remained a valued member of the Willkie family until his death.  He was elected New York State's 52nd Governor in 1982 and won re-election in both 1986 and 1990. He was the longest serving Democratic governor in the modern history of New York State.  At Willkie, he specialized in litigation, corporate transactions, special corporate investigations, and mediations.

Governor Cuomo was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. He received a J.D. (summa cum laude) from St. John's University School of Law in 1956, where he tied for top-of-the-class honors, and a B.A. (summa cum laude) from St. John’s University in 1953.

He served 13 years as an adjunct professor at St. John’s University School of Law and clerked for New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals, under Judge Adrian P. Burke.

Governor Cuomo was the recent recipient of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the New York Law Journal in recognition of his career accomplishments and the profound impact he has made on the law, in New York’s legal community, and as New York State’s Governor.

We send our deepest sympathies to Mario’s wife, Matilda, to his children, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Margaret Cuomo, Maria Cuomo Cole, Madeline Cuomo O'Donoghue, Christopher Cuomo, and to all of his extended family.