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In Memoriam, Henry Bernis “Bernie” Alsobrook, Jr.

11/17/2015

“Bernie Alsobrook helped create the foundation of Adams and Reese. He was one of the pillars upon which this firm was built. Without his vision, determination and exceptional legal skills, we would not be where we are today” - Gif Thornton, Managing Partner

We are deeply saddened by the death of our partner, colleague and friend, Henry Bernis Alsobrook, Jr. on Friday, November 13, 2015. Bernie touched many lives, personally and professionally. He will be deeply missed, but fondly remembered, by everyone who ever met him.

Bernie joined Adams and Reese as a law clerk in 1954, while attending law school at Tulane. After graduation in 1957, six years after the firm’s founding partners St. Clair Adams, Jr. and W. Ford Reese announced the formation of the law partnership of Adams and Reese, Bernie was made the firm’s first associate. He became a partner in 1958 and later served as Managing Partner of the firm from 1970-1983. Strong leaders like Bernie gave the firm its foundation, the groundwork to build upon and keep Adams and Reese growing to where it is today.

Bernie was listed in Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) in the Personal Injury Defense category, and in Best Lawyers (by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners), he was listed for Medical Malpractice Law and Personal Injury Litigation in every edition since the list’s inception. In a 2014 interview for Best Lawyers magazine, he was asked “What has been the key to your success?” Ever the innovator, Bernie’s reply was simply, “Using my general knowledge to fit in with the case, but most important is to think outside the box.”

For nearly 60 years, Bernie was a pillar of the legal community and until recently, he could be seen in the firm’s offices. For decades, he played a significant role in training young associates and especially in preparing them for the courtroom. His law practice focused on products liability; pharmaceutical and medical device law; class actions; mass tort, toxic tort, and pesticides and herbicides law. Many of the clients Bernie represented early in his career are still clients of the firm today.

Bernie enjoyed a long, distinguished career with a significant list of accomplishments and numerous honors. Among them, he served as Past President of the Louisiana State Bar Association 1982-83; Board of Governors 1964-72, 1979-84; Louisiana Bar Journal Editor 1967-69; House of Delegates 1965-67; Outstanding Young Lawyer of Louisiana 1968. He was a Fellow for the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as State Chairman in 1982 and served from 1986-87 as President of the International Association of Defense Counsel and on the Executive Committee from 1982-85. He served as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Commerce for the American Bar Association from 1967-70 and on the House of Delegates from 1984-89. He was Chairman of the Medical-Legal Committee from 1967-82 of the Defense Research Institute, and the Director from 1978-81 and on the Executive Committee from 1986-87. He also served as First President in 1965 of the New Orleans Association of Defense Counsel and a member of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel. Bernie was also active in the Products Liability Advisory Council, the International Bar Association, the Unions Internationale des Avocats, the Louisiana Medical Disclosure Panel 1991-98, the Federation of Insurance Counsel, the Governor’s Commission of Medical Malpractice from 1982-85 and 1989-91, the Bar Association of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Louisiana State Law Institute Counsel from 1963-64, 1983-89; a past member of the Faculty of Tulane University School of Law and past Chairman of the Dean's Council of Tulane University School of Law from 1982-87.

Bernie was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his distinguished career including the United States Supreme Court Historical Society Louisiana Chairman Award presented by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for two consecutive years in 1986-87.

For years, every November, Bernie traveled to Beaune, France in the heart of Bourgogne to bid at the famous Hospices de Beaune wine auction, the largest charity auction in the world and one of the most sought after and difficult auctions to gain attendance. Bernie served 11 years as Cellar Master for the United States for the Burgundy Wine Society.

Bernie was a graduate of New Orleans Academy and completed his undergraduate studies at Tulane University where he earned his J.D. from Tulane Law School. He served his country in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bernie’s legacy, his three children Eugenie, Emily, and John, their families, his colleagues and his many friends.

Arrangements and service information can be found at the following link:
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/theneworleansadvocate/obituary.aspx?n=henry-bernis-alsobrook&pid=176516570&fhid=5630