Herrick Salutes Hon. Milton Mollen on His Retirement

November 15, 2016

The Honorable Milton Mollen tirelessly dedicated his life to public service and the pursuit of justice. We are proud to salute one of New York’s greatest public servants on his retirement.

Fifteen years ago you came to us a colossus of immeasurable accomplishments, with an unblemished reputation for fearlessly tackling the city’s most essential problems.

When the world went to war, you joined the Army Air Corps and were shot down over occupied France. You parachuted, were wounded by shrapnel and captured. Only four out of the 12 men on your bomber survived. Undaunted, you later escaped from a German prison camp, displaying the tenacity that would fuel your life’s work.

As the top housing official in the Wagner administration, you played a key role in urban renewal programs in Kips Bay, Downtown Brooklyn and the Upper West Side, and spearheaded the most successful middle income housing program in the country, Mitchell-Lama, which built more than 100,000 housing units.

In your 24 years on the bench, you rendered countless civil and criminal decisions that affected the lives of New Yorkers. As Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, you deftly confronted highly-charged subjects, such as the right to remove life support; while as a designated judge of the Court of Appeals, you wrote a leading decision on breach of contract damages.

As Deputy Mayor in the Dinkins administration, you led the effort to enact the Safe Streets, Safe City legislation in Albany, which provided funding for more than 6,000 new police officers who helped materially reduce the city’s crime rate.

As Chair of the “Mollen Commission,” you exposed significant police corruption, and your recommendations to combat it positively affected the nation’s largest municipal police force. And then you munificently shared your recommendations with the FBI, DEA and other cities around the country, as well as law enforcement officials in places as far as India and Germany.

As founder of the New York office of JAMS, you helped thousands of businesses and individuals resolve their disputes through mediation and arbitration.

Throughout it all, mayors, governors and political leaders of both parties benefitted from your pragmatic counsel.

And so did we. Herrick lawyers frequently sought your sage advice on mediation, arbitration, trial and appellate strategy, and you never failed to find the right path forward. You also compassionately helped every one of us when we sought your assistance – no matter what the situation entailed.

Today, you remain a colossus. But you’re also a friend, and an inspiration to all of us who seek to conduct our lives with passion and integrity. Everyone at Herrick will miss you, but at 96, you’ve more than earned some rest and relaxation.