The Officers, Board of Directors, and staff of the Fund for Modern Courts mourn the passing of Roy L. Reardon, Esq., who served as a Director of the Fund for Modern Courts for many years.
Throughout his tenure as a Director, Roy was an active participant in the work of Modern Courts and both he and his firm, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, contributed generously to advance Modern Courts’ mission.
In 2004, Modern Courts honored Roy with the John J. McCloy Memorial Award, named in honor of John J. McCloy, who served as Chair of the Fund and Committee for Modern Courts from 1961-1978. That award recognized Roy’s tireless and unwavering commitment to the improvement of the administration of justice in New York State.
Victor A. Kovner, former Chair of Modern Courts, said, “Roy Reardon was truly the most outstanding of leaders of the bar. He set the highest of professional standards, and invariably did so with his nuanced sense of humor. His contributions to the bar and the judiciary in general and to the Fund for Modern Courts in particular were invaluable. Those who were fortunate enough to know and work with him will always find that his standards and his wisdom bear upon the manner in which they practice law and fulfill their commitment to the independence of the judiciary.”
Stephen P. Younger, a current Director of Modern Courts, said, “Roy was as an adversary, a mentor, a friend and a colleague in many mutual endeavors. His passing is a huge loss for the profession, our courts and so many institutions in our City. I have so many memories of him as a lawyer and a friend. This includes negotiating a law firm divorce with him. Roy told me that he would not have taken on the assignment except that he heard I was on the other side. Think I first met Roy in mediation training in the SDNY three decades ago. His low-key but extremely impactful demeanor was so striking to me. I had already known of him, including through a legendary case that he handled – the GTE/HSN dispute. In that case, my firm was representing Drexel Burnham in a failed financing with Home Shopping Network. HSN had sued Roy’s client GTE blaming their operational and financial ills on their GTE phone systems. GTE counterclaimed for libel. It is still extraordinary to me that when the jury went back to deliberate, all they asked the judge to do was to read back Roy’s closing! This was of course not allowed but the jury did come back with a substantial libel award in Roy’s favor. And many of us remember the movie produced by the Court of Appeals – called Three Appeals. Watching Roy in that film was my first real lesson in appellate advocacy watching Roy’s low-key but quite effective points made to the court. Roy’s quiet but impactful contributions were felt personally by me when he and his wife (I think anonymously) contributed to the Modern Courts gala at the last minute. He did so to make sure that his silent contribution was in an amount that would put us over the top for the evening. We were all eternally grateful for this but of course, only a few of us even know of his donation — as it was not about him but the work of our institution. Hopefully, our next generation of lawyers can learn from Roy’s life lessons. Missing him already….”
The Fund for Modern Courts will miss Roy’s wise counsel and will be forever grateful for all that he did to ensure that the New York State courts are just and equitable for all.