New York, NY (January 12, 2021) --- 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 former Chairman, Jack H. Nusbaum.
Mr. Nusbaum led the Firm successfully for 23 years and was instrumental in the evolution of Willkie to what it has become today. Since stepping down as Chairman in January 2010, Jack remained an important contributor to the business of the Firm and a voice of wisdom and experience that was sought after and relied upon by our Executive Committee, colleagues and clients. He was starting his 50th year as a partner of Willkie.
“Jack was a gifted lawyer and leader, and his contributions to Willkie were unparalleled. He was responsible for building our culture of collegiality, tolerance and equity, and held us to the highest standards both professionally and personally,” said Firm Chairman Thomas Cerabino. “He remained vibrant and fully involved in the Firm and in living life right up to the moment of his passing. Willkie and its people meant the world to him, and we along with his many clients and friends will miss his great wisdom, good cheer, and friendship. Our sympathies are with his wife and our colleague Nora Ann Wallace and his family at this very sad time.”
Firm Chairman Matthew Feldman added: “Jack was a true senior statesman of the national M&A bar, an expert in corporate governance matters, and the consummate business lawyer whose guidance and judgment has been relied upon by boards of directors and clients in connection with a wide range of business and legal issues. He was a sage advisor and formidable adversary. Among Jack’s many impressive attributes were his sound judgment and his ability to maintain patience, determination and perspective.”
He lived by, and encouraged others to live by, his “Golden Rules” of being a good lawyer and citizen: understand your client’s needs, fulfill your responsibilities promptly and ethically, have respect for the other side’s position, respect your role in society, and live your life the way you would like your children to live theirs.
Mr. Nusbaum joined Willkie as an accounting clerk in 1962, working his way up to associate in 1965 and partner in 1971, eventually becoming Chairman. He served as Willkie’s Chairman from 1987 through 2009, during which time he led the Firm’s significant expansion in Europe, growing Willkie’s Paris office and establishing offices in London, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome and Brussels. He stepped down as Chairman in January 2010, and maintained an active practice counseling clients on a wide range of matters.
His practice was focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and fiduciary duties, and internal investigations. He was involved in the historic merger of NASDAQ with the American Stock Exchange; the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco and the acquisition of McCaw Cellular Communications by AT&T. He also served as lead counsel on corporate internal investigations including responsibility for the often cited Cendant Report, which has been called a definitive case study in the area of accounting irregularities and fraud.
He was a director of publicly held companies W. R. Berkley Corporation and Cowen Inc. and served as an advisor to the board of Citigroup. He also served as President of The Joseph Collins Foundation. Additionally, he was a member of the Legal Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the Board of Advisors of the New York University Center for Law & Business. He was a patron of many organizations, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Vassar College and Prep for Prep.
He received a J.D. from Columbia School of Law in 1965 and a B.S. degree from The University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School in 1962. He was a member of the American Bar Association.
Our sympathies are with his wife and our colleague Nora Ann Wallace, his son Gary and daughter-in-law Jennifer, his daughter Lisa, his grandchildren, Andrew and Allison, and his step-grandchildren Andrew and Michael, at this very sad time.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is an international law firm of approximately 750 attorneys with offices in New York, Washington, Houston, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan and Rome. The Firm is headquartered in New York City at 787 Seventh Avenue.