Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.

Sheldon Hurwitz

Sheldon Hurwitz, a well-known and respected insurance law and trial attorney, and a founder of Hurwitz & Fine, P.C., died October 11, 2002 after a lengthy illness at the age of 72.

Known as "Shelly" to family and friends, he was born in Buffalo, where he attended Bennett High School, the University at Buffalo, and the University at Buffalo School of Law, where he also later taught Insurance Law as an adjunct professor. He also received a Masters of Law Degree from George Washington University.

Retired from Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. since 1999, he stayed on as counsel and continued to work diligently as a Master Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He concentrated his practice in insurance law and civil litigation, lectured and wrote extensively on those subjects, with particular emphasis on insurance coverage, defense strategy, product and toxic substances liability and risk management.

He was indefatigable in his zeal for the law. He was an extremely quick thinker who would rapidly come to a conclusion without appearing to go through the logistical steps necessary to get there. He could be tough and was always direct in his approach, frequently very animated. He was also a gentleman. Physically, Shelly was a handsome, distinguished-looking man. Tall, slender, with a great shock of salt-and-pepper hair; always meticulously dressed with a handkerchief in the breast pocket of his suit coat.

Shelly was a very active man who loved to play tennis and to ski. He and his wife, Lynda, enjoyed traveling and particularly loved Europe where he served as an officer in the JAG Corps in the late 1950s. Throughout his life and career, he was always concerned with and trying to improve world affairs.

Later in his life, he took up golf and “birding”. Every summer, he and Lynda would spend two weeks at the Chautauqua Institute where he loved the mental challenges presented by the various speakers, experts in their field. Shelly was an engaging conversationalist with a great sense of humor.

Shelly took great pride in his family and their accomplishments. He has been a wonderful dad to Andrew, an attorney in NYC; Rick, an investment entrepreneur married to Sarah; and to Cindy, a school teacher married to Jay Matthews. He adored his four grandchildren and talked about them with a huge smile on his face and obvious love.

He was very well regarded in the legal community. He was honored by the New York State Bar Association, receiving the John E. Leach Award for outstanding accomplishments in Insurance Law, and extraordinary contributions to the legal profession, and was named the 1995 “Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year” by The Defense Trial Lawyers Association of Western New York.

He was special counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Insurance, a past Director of the Bar Association of Erie County, and President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Western New York.

He held several State Bar Association Chairmanships including Chair of the Insurance, Negligence and Compensation Law (now called the Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law) Section and Chair of the State Bar Insurance Programs Committee. He served on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel and chaired its Continuing Legal Education Board. He was also past Chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Defense Research Institute.

A Master Arbitrator of the New York State No-Fault Insurance Program since 1977, Hurwitz completed the Advanced Mediation Program at Hamline University Law School’s Dispute Resolution Institute, and was a founding member of the Alliance for Dispute Resolution.
He was also active in many Jewish charities and was a former president of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies and the Bureau of Jewish Education.

He has left many of us with his lessons, his love for life, learning and the law. We will all miss him deeply. Godspeed, Shelly.

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