Bernard S. Meyer - In Memoriam
June 7, 1916 - September 3, 2005
Bernard S. Meyer, an Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals from May, 1979, until December 31, 1986, practiced law with the firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., from 1987 until his death on September 3, 2005. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeals in 1979 by Governor Hugh Carey, he had been a senior partner of the firm.
Judge Meyer practiced law in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and New York until his election as a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in November, 1958. During his 14-year tenure as a Justice of that Court, he served as Chairman of the National Conference of State Trial Judges, President of the Association of Justices of the New York State Supreme Court, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts, Chairman of the New York State Bar Association's Judicial Section, and was a founder of the Council of Judicial Associations and of the New York Fair Trial Free Press Conference. Between 1968 and 1974, he also served as a member of the Board of the National College of the State Judiciary located in Reno, Nevada.
Judge Meyer served as Special Deputy Attorney General of New York in charge of the Special Attica Investigation; Special Counsel to the Moreland Commission to study Worker's Compensation Administration and Costs; Chairperson of the Advisory Panel to the Law Revision Commission on the New York Code of Evidence; Chairperson of the Chief Judge's Task Force on Permanency Planning for Foster Children; and a member of the Governor's Commission on Integrity in Government.
From 1962 to 1979, Judge Meyer served as Chairman of the Pattern Jury Instruction (Civil) Committee of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court, which published a two-volume compendium of instructions which has become known as a model in the field. He authored the 1962 amendments to the Domestic Relations Law and was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Joint Legislative Committee on Matrimonial & Family Law and Chair of the Committee on Matrimonial Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Judge Meyer was a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the New York Bar Foundation, and of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and was a member of the American Law Institute, Scribes (an organization of legal writers), the American Judicature Society, the Institute of Judicial Administration, the Supreme Court Historical Society, a Trustee of the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Nassau County Bar Association, and the Nassau County Lawyers' Association. He was rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest level in professional excellence and ethics. Judge Meyer also was active in a number of civic and community groups.
Judge Meyer was an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership fraternity, and received the 1963 award of the Nassau County Lawyers' Association, the 1964 Fraternity Achievement Citation in Law and Letters of Phi Epsilon Pi, the 1968 Long Island Press Distinguished Service Award, and the 1971 St. John's Law Society Award. In 1982, he received the Distinguished Service Medallion of the Bar Association of Nassau County, and in 1987, he was presented with the Hofstra University Presidential Medal. He received LL.D. degrees (Honora Causa) from Hofstra University in 1980, from Western State University College of Law in 1982, and from Albany Law School in 1984. The American Jewish Committee bestowed the Judge Learned Hand Award, its highest honor, on Judge Meyer in June 2003. This prestigious award is presented to outstanding members of the legal profession who exemplify the highest principles for which Judge Hand was renowned.
A consummate writer, Judge Meyer published articles on Exchange Controls, Zoning, Matrimonial Law, Fair Trial-Free Press, Public Relations and the Courts, Trial Practice, Expert Witnesses and Judicial Discretion, and is the author of the Chapter in the State Trial Judges' Book on News Reporting and Fair Trial. Prior to his death, Judge Meyer co-authored a history of the Court of Appeals.