Past President Henry G. Miller Remembered

By Brendan Kennedy

Henry Miller

Henry G. Miller, the 88th president of the New York State Bar Association, passed away in April due to complications caused by COVID-19. He was 89 years old.

At the time of this death, Miller was a senior member at Clark, Gagliardi & Miller in White Plains where he practiced for over 50 years.

Known as one of New York’s most distinguished trial attorneys and gifted orators, Miller handled all types of cases throughout his five-decade career, including personal injury, commercial and mass tort cases.

At NYSBA’s June 13 virtual House of Delegates meeting, Miller was remembered by friend and colleague, retired Court of Appeals Judge Albert M. Rosenblatt.

Rosenblatt recalled the first time he encountered Miller, which was not in any formal legal setting or trial, but rather at a Westchester County Bar Association dinner where Miller was the after-dinner speaker.

“It was always different when Henry was the after-dinner speaker,” he said. “The first time I heard him speak, I was completely taken in by his charm and his wit. He would give the most delightful and entertaining talks that would leave people falling off their chairs with laughter.”

After that first meeting, they became friends, which opened up a whole new dimension of Miller’s personality, Rosenblatt recalled.

Away from the court, Miller wrote and performed many of his own plays, including a one-man show titled “All Too Human,” about the life of Clarence Darrow. Originally performed at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, Miller also performed off-Broadway at the 45th Street Theater in Manhattan.

Miller certainly had a stage presence but as Rosenblatt recalls, he was anything but a show-off.

“Henry could project in a way that few other attorneys can,” he said. “To be able to keep an audience enraptured on stage by himself for over an hour and fully project himself as Clarence Darrow was overwhelming to see, and only something Henry Miller could do.”

Miller also wrote articles for legal publications, including the NYSBA Journal, wrote numerous columns for the New York Law Journal and authored a book called, “On Trial – Lessons from a Lifetime in the Courtroom,” which garnered national attention.

He was known to love sharing knowledge of the law by giving continuing legal education programs for NYSBA and other organizations. His signature CLE program, aptly titled “The Trial,” was among the most popular CLE programs in the history of the State Bar Association.

“You can have all the gravitas and all the skills of a lawyer in the world and not attract the same level of deference and affection,” Rosenblatt said. “There was another dimension Henry brought, which was credibility, honesty, and decency.”

 

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