April 24, 2014: New York State Bar Association Mourns Passing of Former President Angelo T. Cometa

The New York State Bar Association today extends its sympathy to the family and friends of Angelo T. Cometa, who served as its president between 1990 and 1991. He passed away April 16, near Baltimore. 

“Angelo Cometa made an indelible impact on the legal profession and public during his years of bar leadership. He helped the State Bar navigate issues of great concern to the profession and helped thousands of New Yorkers obtain access to justice through the Lawyer Referral and Information Service,” said State Bar President David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody). “He is remembered for his thoughtfulness and guidance.”  

“We extend our condolences to his wife, Betty Jane, and his children, Ariane K. Cometa, Allison Cometa Schnalzer, Thomas More Cometa and Victoria White, as well as his five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.” 

During his presidency, Mr. Cometa advocated for increased compensation for judges and adequate funding for the Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund. He also led the Bar’s successful effort to oppose a proposed sales tax on legal services. Under his leadership, the State Bar created its Lawyer Assistance Program, Pro Bono Department and what is now known as the Department of Law Practice Management, all in 1990.  

In 2007, he was honored with the inaugural Angelo T. Cometa Award, named to recognize his leadership of the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service. The service helps members of the public find an attorney for their legal matters. 

Mr. Cometa also chaired the Association’s Nominating Committee, as well as the Committees on Election Law, Grievances and Professional Discipline, and Group and Prepaid Legal Services. He was a member of the Bar’s House of Delegates for 49 years.

Mr. Cometa was a cum laude graduate of Fordham University and earned his law degree from Fordham Law School in 1956. 

An Army veteran, Mr. Cometa was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, an assistant counsel at the State Commission of Investigation and chief counsel of the Coordinating Committee on Discipline, Appellate Division, First Department. He was a partner of Philips Nizer from 1969 to 1994. He concentrated his practice in matrimonial law, white-collar crime and attorney misconduct.

The New York State Bar Association, with 75,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.

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Contact: Brandon J. Vogel 
Media Writer
bvogel@nysba.org
518-487-5535