Retired Court of Claims Judge Albert A. Blinder died on September 23, 2020. He was just short of 95 and had an illustrious legal career. I was lucky to have been recommended to him as a law clerk when he was first appointed to the bench by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1973. I was an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York serving in the Condemnation Division and had just completed a trial in the Court of Claim, City of New York v State of New York, 49 AD2d 659 (1975). Judge Blinder wanted a law clerk with eminent domain experience. Happily, I fit the requirement. Judge Blinder was incredibly bright and an incredible lawyer. He was also a great friend. He never raised his voice at any lawyer who appeared before him. He always considered all arguments presented and never made his mind up until after hearing everyone.
His background was remarkable. He graduated from New York University at age 19. He was too young for law school so he obtained a Masters Degree from NYU, then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1948.
He began his legal career as an Assistant US Attorney working on Japanese war crimes cases. He worked on the John David Provo treason case and other important matters.
He left the US Attorney’s Office and became an Assistant District Attorney for Bronx County where he headed the Homicide Division. While at the DA, Judge Blinder worked on many notorious cases including the Anastasia case.
He entered private practice and was a partner in Saxe Bacon and O’Shea along with Roy M. Cohn who he knew from the US Attorney’s Office. He then was a partner in the law firm of Blinder and Steinhaus, Esqs., where he developed an international law practice.
In 1973, he was appointed to the Court of Claims where he sat until 1996 when he reached the mandatory retirement age. He served as a Judicial Hearing Officer and Special Referee for the Appellate Divisions for lawyer disciplinary matters. Thereafter, he was counsel to Sexter and Warmflash. He was active in many bar associations.
I learned a great deal from my seven years serving as his law clerk. Years later, when I would tell someone I was his law clerk, I heard nothing but praise from lawyers that appeared before him. He will be missed.