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Quotations from Judith Vladeck

One of the more colorful and quotable members of the plaintiff's employment bar was Judith Vladeck of Manhattan, who died last month at 83. A few anecdotes from the obits:

  • "Employment lawyer Larry Lorber recalls one case in which he represented a financial-services company. Ms. Vladeck threatened 'to go through the 32nd floor and depose every executive in every office,' says Mr. Lorber, who convinced his client to settle. He wouldn't have done so, he adds, if a less-dogged lawyer had brought the case. 'If we didn't settle, it would have been World War III and why go through that?' Mr. Lorber says. [W$J]
  • "In the trial prior to the Western Electric settlement, she kept a red folder containing an obscene cartoon that depicted her client, who claimed it was dropped on her desk at work by a co-worker. 'Whenever I thought the judge's attention was flagging, I'd start to wave it around,' Ms. Vladeck told the New York Times in 1994." [W$J]
  • Regarding her demands in a discrimination case against City University of New York: "'If we were to calculate the real back pay in this case, they'd have to take Brooklyn College and City College and auction them off to pay the damages.' This despite � or perhaps because � she was an alumna of [CUNY campus] Hunter College." [NY Sun]
  • "She would refer to the firm � Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard � as 'the last socialist law firm in America,' her nephew Charney Bromberg told the Forward." [The Forward, of which she was longtime general counsel] Asked if she had ever represented an employer, Ms. Vladeck once told a reporter: �Are you kidding? Never.� [NYT]
  • "Ms. Vladeck was one of the original plaintiff's side attorneys who was in it because of her passion for advocating for the rights of those she believed were discriminated against. In the early days, this was a time when there were no compensatory and punitive damages like there are today. Sadly, unlike Ms. Vladeck some of the plaintiff's lawyers today joined the fray because of the availability of compensatory and punitive damages available after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, not because they are passionate about employee rights." [Diane Pfadenhauer]



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.