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May 24, 2010

STATE BAR MOURNS PASSING OF ROBERT J. SALTZMAN

Served as Chair of State Bar's Committee on Mass Disaster Response From 2002-2009; Provided Countless Hours of Service to Victims of Mass Disasters

With great sadness and regret, the New York State Bar Association mourns the passing of Robert J. Saltzman, Esq. Mr. Saltzman was immediate past chair of the State Bar's Committee on Mass Disaster Response and served most recently as the Deputy Chief Counsel of the New York State Grievance Committee for the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts in Brooklyn.

"The citizens of New York, as well as the legal community, have lost one of their finest representatives," said State Bar President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City). "Bob's dedication in responding to some of this state's worst incidents - including September 11th among many others - truly exemplifies the commitment and compassion he possessed in order to help disaster victims and their families and loved ones in their hour of need. We are extremely grateful for the service that Bob has given to the State Bar and wish to express our thoughts and prayers to Bob's family and many friends at this most difficult time."

Saltzman was a member of the Committee on Mass Disaster Response beginning in 1999.  He recently stepped down as committee chair after serving in that capacity for seven years (2002-2009). After September 11th, he helped coordinate the State Bar's response to the World Trade Center disaster.  In November 2001, following the American Airlines flight 587 tragedy in the Rockaways, Saltzman coordinated the State Bar's disaster assistance effort at the Javits Center.

In the past year, Saltzman lead the committee through a number of significant responses including the crash of Continental Flight 3407 on February 12, 2009 near Buffalo and the shooting at the American Civic Association in Binghamton on April 3, 2009.  He singlehandedly responded to the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 emergency landing in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009.
  
He was an invaluable resource to the committee due, in part, to his vast knowledge of the subject matter and the numerous contacts he made through the disaster response community, including the National Transportation Safety Board, New York State Emergency Management Office, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

In recognition of his tremendous service to the committee and to the State Bar, and for his sustained commitment to helping victims of mass disasters, Saltzman was awarded the Douglas C. Johnston Memorial Award by members of the committee this past January in New York City.

A graduate of Brooklyn Law School and St. John's University, Saltzman was an adjunct associate professor at St. John's since 1989.  He was a frequent lecturer at ABA workshops on professional responsibility and local bar association continuing legal education programs and is considered a leader in the field of ethics in New York and nationally, particularly when it comes to the areas of improper solicitation of accident victim by attorneys.

Saltzman was past president of the National Organization of Bar Counsel, which represents all lawyer disciplinary agencies in the United States, plus agencies in Canada and Australia. He served on the State Bar Association's Committee on Professional Discipline, as well as the American Bar Association's Coordinating Committee for the Center for Professional Responsibility. He also was a member of the State Bar's General Practice Section.

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