Howard S. Finkelstein (1933-2017)
Doing what's right for clients and community is a family tradition at Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. It's a tradition established by firm founder Howard S. Finkelstein when he launched his practice in 1961. It's a tradition carried on today by Howard's son Andrew and the more than 200 attorneys and legal support professionals at Finkelstein & Partners, now one of New York State's most respected personal injury law firms.
Howard Finkelstein's life was one steeped in tradition and value. Like millions of Americans, Howard's story began in Brooklyn where he was born in 1933 to parents Fay and Jules. He earned his Bachelor's degree at Brooklyn College and went on to serve his country as a soldier in the Korean War as part of the GI Bill. After the war and because of the benefits provided in the GI Bill, Howard was able to attend Brooklyn Law School where he earned a law degree in 1959. Two years later, he founded his law firm in the City of Newburgh after moving there with wife Diane whose father owned a Suntag Drugs Pharmacy on Broadway. Diane and Howard were married for 35 years and lived in Newburgh until her passing in 1992. They raised three sons - Andrew, Ron and Joel, and have 7 grandchildren.
Not a man of means, Howard earned his success one case at a time. He began his practice as a criminal trial lawyer and tried 38 murder cases and scores of lesser crimes. He was a fighter and a champion for the everyday man and woman. As his reputation grew, so did his practice. Attorney Jules Levine was the first to join the firm. Together, they went on to grow the law practice into one of the most respected and prominent firms in New York State with 16 offices in two states. Today, more than 300 law firms refer their most significant cases to Finkelstein & Partners. The firm's attorneys are highly sought after, and they count numerous legal and scholarly achievements among their ranks. The firm’s Center for Continuing Legal Education teaches lawyers throughout the Hudson Valley the latest changes in the law as well as advancements in trial practice. In 2017 fifteen attorneys have been recognized by their peers as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.
Building on his deep sense of family, Howard ensured that each client is treated like a family member, always showing caring, compassion and concern because each client is also a member of the community he lived in. Guided by those principles, Finkelstein & Partners takes on extensive pro bono work. The firm represented several families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and established a Veterans Services Group to provide legal assistance to veterans of the armed services. They also support many local non-profits through employee events and fundraisers. Those that have benefitted from the firm's generosity include the Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, American Cancer Society, Hudson Valley Humane Society, the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, and Castle Point Veterans Hospital.
Howard served as President of the Greater Newburgh Bar Association, President of the Orange County Bar Association, President of B’nai B’rith, and Governor of the New York State Association of Plaintiffs Trial Lawyers. He has been on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the Advisory Board of the Bank of New York, and served as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He is also a member of Brooklyn Law School’s President’s Advisory Council.
He has endowed Brooklyn Law School with two scholarships, and has also endowed a scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. In 2010, Howard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Orange County Bar Association and was named Alumnus of the Year by Brooklyn Law School.
In 1998, Howard passed the baton to son Andrew, who serves as the firm's managing partner. Under Andrew's leadership, Finkelstein & Partners continues to grow and expand, staying true to Howard's legacy of doing what's right for clients and the community.
Confident in the knowledge that the firm's future was in good hands, Howard retired in 2002 to enjoy time with his grandchildren and work on his golf game. The tradition and values on which Howard built Finkelstein & Partners, LLP more than half a century ago continue to serve as the firm's foundation and guiding principles for a bright future.