Arthur S. Feld
September 18, 1919 – March 4, 1979
JUDGE MATHIAS: I call upon Maurice Dunie to speak in meory of Arthur Feld.
MR. DUNIE: May it please the Court, ladies and gentlemen
Arthur Feld died on March 4, 1979, two years ago, at the age of fifty-nine, very suddenly.
He was my partner, my mentor, my colleague, my friend and sometimes my conscience.
He was a superb trial lawyer and a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
A native of New York City, he went to New York University. He had been in the Air Force and then the National University School of Law here and serveral years ago he was honored by the George Washington Law School Alumni Association with its distinguished alumni award.
He was very active in all kinds of bar activities and indicative of that, the basis of the work of the committee which brought up the recent version of Pattern Jury Instructions. You will note that the 1978 instructions is dedicated to Arthur Feld.
Now, many of these things I said two years ago at his funeral. In a sense with this time having passed I feel like the jury has been out for two years because when a person dies suddenly and the funeral is a few days later and someone speaks at that time he rarely has enough time to assess the full impact of one’s life , of the person of whom he is speaking. The jury is now in and I honestly did not realize and I’m certain that the members of my office di not and many other people in this community that were touched by Arthur Feld did not realize the impact of the loss of that superb human being.
You can go to the dictionary and pick out words like integrity and moral recitude, courage, charity, just, wisdom and use them over and over again and it would be meaningless. I think however those of you today, the members of this court who knew Arthur Feld would agree that when applied to this man they were not meaningless and even today I find myself asking myself faced with various situations in our office how he would act, what he would say and whether he would incur my own impetuosity and I know that he would.
He recognized that the law did not stand still, that today’s morality may be tomorrow’s immorality and he understood the work of tolerance. He respected every human being, irrespective of race, color, creed, and every human feature of one person or another. He understood the other person’s point of view.
He was aggressive and he was competitive and he was a trial lawyer. In 1951 after he finished law school he was an attorney with the Federal Communications Commission for several years and in 1955 joined the law office of Joseph Bowman in the District of Columbia. In 1960 he was admitted to the Maryland Bar and in one of the very first jury trials he tried in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia around 1955 Mr. Bowman, who many of you may know as an excellent trial lawyer, was sitting next to him and somewhere in the middle of the trial Arthur came back to the counsel table and he said, How am I doing? What am I doing wrong? And Joe simply said to him, Will you please make a mistake, because he understood as any advocate understands that what makes a trial lawyer may be five percent talent, and other ninety-five percent is simply hard work and that’s how he prepared each and every case throughout the length of his career. He was a very fair person and if you summed up his life in one word I think it would be fairness.
He was blessed with a wonderful wife, Laura Feld, and three sons. Two of those sons, Alvin Feld who is a partner in our firm, as a lawyer of course; another son, Barry, is a law professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. Their younger son, Jeffrey, went astray and became a physician and he now practices medicine in the State of Washington.
In looking at this program today I was struck by the caliber and quality of the men we are memorializing and it came to me as to what tremendous losses these are to the bench and to the bar and I thought what a formidable law firm this group of men would make and I did not know all of them, only some. For example, it occurred to me suppose I was faced with trying a lawsuit against Art Feld and Bob Heeney, who were close friends, and I pondered that for a while and I decided I’d rather settle that case.
JUDGE MATHIAS: Thank you, Mr. Dunie.
Judge Frosh will respond for the bench.
JUDGE FROSH: The Psalmist asks what is a man that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you consider him? And one of the answers is made that the measure of a man is that he should beget children and that he should enable each of them to begin their own lives one rung higher on the ladder of success than he began his own. If such be true then Arthur S. Feld was indeed a man of whom we take note and whom our community considers and reveres.
I knew Arthur Feld as a lawyer, as a professor, as a community leader. At the bar of this court he had few peers. And thought I had had the pleasure of knowing only one of his children as a professional following in his father’s path, I have noted that he too is a lawyer of capacity, wisdom and ability.
Truly we may say that while a man is like a passing shadow, the shadow of Arthur S. Feld left rays of sunlight and hope in its breadth and he has truly merited the right that his name and his memory be enshrined in the Minutes of this court.
JUDGE MATHIAS: Thank you, Judge Frosh.
The remarks will be spread upon the permanent Minutes of this court in memory of Arthur Feld.