Lawyer Richard Bieder von Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder in Bridgeport. Courtesy photo
Longtime Connecticut attorney Richard Bieder died on Jan. 16 as a socially conscious attorney who advised many and represented clients in class actions related to state and national mass disasters.
Bieder, a resident of Stamford, was 80 years old. He has been ill for the past few years and died of complications from Lewy dementia.
As a senior partner at Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder in Bridgeport, Bieder represented victims and families of the collapse of the L’Ambiance Plaza building in Bridgeport from 1972. the fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Survivors and relatives of people killed and injured in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; and families of people killed in the Oklahoma City bombings, among others.
“Richard Bieder, more than any other lawyer in Connecticut, made the causes of mass harm a reality. There’s a reason Ralph Nader was drawn to crime attorneys for justice in public safety and economic reparation, and Richard Bieder did a good job helping ordinary people compete against big corporations, ”said Thomas Scheffey, a friend of Bieder and an attorney in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and a member of the editorial board of the Connecticut Law Tribune.
James Horwitz, managing partner of Koskoff, joined the company 35 years ago and said Bieder had become a quick friend and mentor.
“He was the heart and soul of our office. As a young attorney, if I had a question that I wanted to find out, he would write down what he did, sit down with you, and spend as much time as it took to solve the problem. Said Horwitz on Tuesday.
Horwitz continued, “His legacy is to remind us that as lawyers we have a great responsibility and should be ready to take up the fight for the little guy. for the people affected by greed or injustice. He was a gentleman, but not a pushover. He was persistent. “
Horwitz said it was Bieder’s commitment to creating Trial Lawyers Care that meant so much to him. Shortly after September 11, 2001, Bieder helped organize a nationwide network of lawyers to create the litigation attorney service that is considered the largest pro bono legal program in the country’s history. Horwitz said the group supported families who were eligible to file claims from the government’s 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
“He felt that reaching out to other people in need was part of the responsibility of good citizens and good lawyers. He thought it was the right thing to do. You have contributed to receiving billions in compensation for this fund, ”said Horwitz.
Lawyers Alex Knopp and Robert Reardon Jr. were friends of Bieder, and both said they were hard hit by his loss over the weekend.
“Richard Bieder embodied the socially conscious crusade attorney who wanted to use tort law as a sword against unjust laws and inexplicable evildoers and who wanted to contribute to a safer society. He has been forceful and tenacious in representing clients against large institutions, ”said Knopp, a retired attorney and former mayor of Norwalk.
Reardon, director of the Reardon law firm in New London, had known Bieder for 40 years. The two men and their wives, and often Reardon’s two daughters, traveled together to attend various conventions sponsored by either the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association or the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. In fact, they traveled together at least once a year from 1982 to 2015.
Reardon said he and Bieder had a bond in Brooklyn, New York, because both fathers were from the borough and often “shared stories about what old Brooklyn people shared.” Her wives both enjoyed the arts and connected through it.
“Whenever you saw Richard across the room, he would break out with a big smile. He never seemed downcast; always on top. He also hugged us every time he saw us. He was just a warm and loving guy, ”Reardon said.
Honors pour in after the litigator’s death in Connecticut: “He made you believe”