Jack Nusbaum, Longtime Willkie Chairman, Has Died at 80

Jack Nusbaum, who led Willkie Farr & Gallagher for 23 years before stepping down in 2010, has died at the age of 80, the firm announced Tuesday.

Nusbaum first joined Willkie as an accounting clerk in 1962. Three years later, he was promoted to an associate, and in 1971 he made partner. This year was his 50th year as a Willkie partner.

“Jack was a gifted lawyer and leader, and his contributions to Willkie were unparalleled. He was responsible for building our culture of collegiality, tolerance and equity, and held us to the highest standards both professionally and personally,” Willkie co-chairman Thomas Cerabino said in a statement. “He remained vibrant and fully involved in the firm and in living life right up to the moment of his passing.”

The firm gave no cause of death.

Nusbaum served as Willkie’s chairman from 1987 through 2009, overseeing the firm’s expansion into Europe and establishing offices in London, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome and Brussels. A mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Nusbaum was involved in the merger of NASDAQ with the American Stock Exchange; the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco and the acquisition of McCaw Cellular Communications by AT&T.

Nusbaum was also director of publicly held companies W. R. Berkley Corp. and Cowen Inc. and served as an adviser to the board of Citigroup. He served as president of The Joseph Collins Foundation. Additionally, he was a member of the legal advisory committee to the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the board of advisers of the New York University Center for Law & Business.

He maintained an active practice after he stepped down in 2010, and was sought after by the executive committee and colleagues for advice.

“Jack was a true senior statesman of the national M&A bar, an expert in corporate governance matters, and the consummate business lawyer whose guidance and judgment has been relied upon by boards of directors and clients in connection with a wide range of business and legal issues,” firm co-chairman Matthew Feldman said. “He was a sage adviser and formidable adversary. Among Jack’s many impressive attributes were his sound judgment and his ability to maintain patience, determination and perspective.”

Nusbaum is survived his wife Nora Ann Wallace, who is also an attorney at Willkie, his son Gary and daughter-in-law Jennifer, his daughter Lisa, his grandchildren, Andrew and Allison, and his step-grandchildren Andrew and Michael.

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