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New York LGBT Bar Board Member Dies of Coronavirus Complications

March 19, 2020, 10:34 PM

Richard E. Weber, a litigation partner and longtime board member of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, has died due to complications of coronavirus, the association said.

Weber, 57, had been a board member of the bar group, known as LeGaL, since 2013. He also served on the organization’s judicial committee, and as the organization’s secretary and second vice president.

As a board member, Weber helped manage LeGaL’s free legal clinic, which was established after the AIDS epidemic and serves low-income LGBT people in New York.

“That was the kind of work he was involved with, making sure that vulnerable people were protected from devastating legal consequences,” said Eric Lesh, the executive director of LeGaL. “In an age where we’re trying to focus on social responsibility and taking care of others, that was who Richard was.”

Weber brought “joy and exuberance” to everything he did, according to Lesh. “He was kind, thought of others first, and was always smiling,” Lesh said.

Weber had been in the hospital and tested positive for Covid-19, according to Lesh, who learned of Weber’s death on Thursday.

Lesh last communicated with Weber approximately three days before he died. “He did convey to me that this was the sickest he’d ever been and that he was recovering and on the mend,” Lesh said.

The association said Weber died from complications related to coronavirus.

“We cherish Richard’s memory and hold his partner, Antonio, and family in our hearts,” Lesh wrote in a statement on behalf of the bar association co-authored by board president Kristen Prata Browde. “Richard gave generously of his time and talents to improve the lives of LGBTQ New Yorkers.”

A partner at Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP, Weber focused his practice on general liability defense, premises liability, wrongful detention claims, transportation defense, and other claims.

He previously practiced at Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer, where he also handled toxic tort defense, including asbestos litigation, liquor liability claims, and declaratory judgment coverage actions.

“Everyone at Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP is heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Richard,” senior partner Howard P. Klar said in an emailed statement. “He was a wonderful attorney and shining light at our firm. Our thoughts right now are with his family.”

Klar said the firm’s Manhattan office has been closed since Weber disclosed his symptoms on March 10. Attorneys and staff have been working remotely and the office was deep cleaned and disinfected. No one else at that office or the firm has had any Covid-19 symptoms or a positive diagnosis, he said.

Weber graduated law school from Seton Hall in 1991 after earning a masters from Drew University and his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest. Before joining private practice, he served as a law clerk to the Judge Alexander J. Menza of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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