Monday, September 5, 2011

A Personal and Professional Loss

When the phone rang this morning at 6 A.M., I knew it was going to be ill tidings. When I answered, a friend advised : "Shep passed away yesterday."
"Shep" was the Honorable Albert W. Sheppard,Jr. He was the Judge I clerked for when I graduated form Law School. He was a mentor,a teacher, a gentleman and a stellar jurist of integrity and scholarly legal wisdom. He helped me hone my legal writing skills, told me which lawyers to watch in the court room to learn the chops of a litigator....and he was a friend. Furthermore, he officiated at our wedding ceremony 20 years ago this Wednesday.His son went to Lehigh with me and the Sheppards treated me like a trusted family member. Shep imparted to me the tenets of what he called "intellectual honesty" in the practice of Law and of loyalty to the client, the litigants and the black letter of the law itself. He convinced me that there is no such thing as great legal writing....only great legal RE-writing. He will be missed on the bench and in the community. I am profoundly saddened by this news.

The following is an excerpt from the Penna. Bar Association text when Shep was given the prestigious William Brenna award:

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Senior Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr. will receive the Association's Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award at the Association's Oct. 20 Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon.
The award recognizes a jurist who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service. Any member of the state or federal bench, whether active or retired, who has made a significant, positive impact on the quality or administration of justice in Philadelphia is eligible for consideration. Examples of accomplishments worthy of nomination include innovations in court administration, implementation of pioneering case management techniques, assumption of a leadership role in areas affecting the administration of justice, publication of a significant opinion, article, or other scholarly work, or the like.

P.S. Apologies for the poor photo quality of the image of Shep and I shaking hands on my last day of work in his Chambers....the scan did not work to well....but blurring my countenance is probably a good thing....and the point gets across...


Lucky Dog / The Commish said...

My Friend,
I am sorry to hear of you loss. You have good memories of an important person in your life and you will keep his spirit alive.


Preppy 101 said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope there is comfort for you in your memories and how your honor your profession with the things he taught you. xoxo

Ford said...

Well said, and my sincere condolences. Every day I am in court I see fewer and fewer attorneys concerned with honesty and integrity. Your friend and mentor sounds like one of the old guard.. Hopefully not a dying breed.

RulingPart said...

A lucky man to have such a good friend.