Hon. Leonard L. Finz
Former NYS Supreme Court Justice
Honorable Leonard L. Finz is a former New York State Supreme Court Justice, and a preeminent trial lawyer who has earned the reputation as a master trial advocate in the courtroom. He is a true product of New York City, having been born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and moving to Brooklyn at an early age. With a unique talent and formal training in music, Judge Finz was accepted into the High school of Music and Art, a special public school for the gifted. Entering the Army during WWII, he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. He served in the Philippine Islands, and following Japan's surrender was sent home a First Lieutenant. In all, he served 44 months on active duty with the U.S. Army during the war.
Judge Finz graduated from NYU with a B.A. Degree and thereafter, he attended and received his law degree from NYU School of Law. As a lawyer, Judge Finz gravitated to the personal injury field where his unique trial talents were quickly recognized. Elected a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York was the next step in a brilliant career that led 8 years later to his election as a New York State Supreme Court Justice. Throughout his years as a judge, he authored opinions that were so highly regarded as to have them specifically selected for publication in the Official Reports of the State of New York, with many being featured on the front page of the New York Law Journal. In all, more than 100 opinions were published during his almost 13 years of judicial tenure - a rare accomplishment at the time.
Judge Finz voluntarily left the bench in 1978 to become a partner and trial lawyer in a prominent personal injury firm where, in one of his first trials upon leaving the bench, he scored a verdict in the sum of 1.5 million dollars which was reported in the New York Times and described as the highest medical malpractice verdict at the time. Since then, he has had verdicts in the millions of dollars, combined with settlements in excess of 100 million dollars, and is recognized by the Bar as one of the nation's pre-eminent lawyers.
A prolific writer, Judge Finz has written many articles which have been published in a host of publications. He has written on such subjects as Aiming for the Million Dollar Verdict; Justice for DES Victims; The Expert Witness in Medical Malpractice Litigation; Accident Reconstruction - An Art and Challenge; Art of the Opening Statement; A Trial Where Both Sides Win; Summation - The Fire Power of Words, and more.
Judge Finz is a skilled teacher of the law having taught trial advocacy, trial techniques, and medical practice as an Adjunct Professor of Law, in addition to teaching judges throughout the nation at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Throughout his career, he has chaired many legal seminars and has been a feature lecturer before many Bar groups covering almost every subject dealing with trial advocacy, and courtroom strategy.
Areas of Practice
- Personal Injury
- 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- New York, 1953
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 1955
- U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 1955
- U.S. District Court Western District of New York, 1955
- U.S. District Court Northern District of New York, 1955
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1960
- New York University School of Law, New York, New York
- New York University, New York, New York