Joyful, exuberant, kind – these are words commonly used to describe Richard E. Weber Jr. who passed away from complications related to coronavirus on March 18.
Weber, 57, was a partner at Gallo Vitucci Klar in Lower Manhattan and was also admitted to practice in New Jersey. The focus of Weber’s practice included general liability defense, premises liability and defense of false arrest and wrongful detention claims.
“Everyone at Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP is heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Richard,” the firm said in a statement. “He was a wonderful attorney and shining light at our firm. Our thoughts right now are with his family.”
Weber, a Seton Hall Law School graduate, 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.
Eric Lesh, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL), said Weber was on their Board of Directors and worked closely with him on all events.
“Richard was just a joyful, exuberant, lighthearted, kind human,” said Lesh. “He brought smiles to others faces, he was always the life of the party and his kindness was clear in his actions.”
Lesh said Weber, for years, volunteered at LeGaL’s free weekly legal clinic and also helped fundraise. How generous Weber was with his time really stood out to Lesh.
“That was who Richard was. His spirit was to give to others,” said Lesh. “He was loved by everyone who were lucky enough to be touched by his grace and kindness.”
Matthew J. Skinner, executive director for the Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission of the New York State Courts, also became friends with Weber through their involvement with LeGaL. Over the past eight years, they have worked on dozens of projects, committees, and other LeGaL events.
Skinner recalled that in 2014, Weber spearheaded a legal clinic for the LGBTQ community in New Jersey modeled after LeGaL’s clinic in Manhattan. The effort was in partnership with Rutgers Law School in Newark and the New Jersey Bar Association’s LGBT Section.
“He put his whole heart and soul into that project,” Skinner said.
Skinner said Weber moved to New York City to practice in his 50s after living in New Jersey most of his life.
“He built up a whole career here out of nothing, created a new network of friends and colleagues late in life,” said Skinner. “He defied the conventions that were typical for someone.”
Skinner said Weber aspired to become a judge and was recently trying to network and meet the right people. He described him as a “social butterfly.”
“He would overshare on social media and we would all make fun of him for it,” said Skinner. “But I miss it so much all of a sudden. He had no qualms with telling you what’s going on in his life.”