Blair C. Fensterstock ’72 died on October 24, 2017, in New York, New York.
(The following appeared online at fensterstock.com:)
Blair C. Fensterstock, a lifelong native of New York City, passed away on October 24, 2017, after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 67.
Blair was born to Nathaniel and Gertrude Fensterstock on August 20, 1950. After attending Friends Seminary in NYC through high school he went on to attend Bowdoin College in Maine graduating with a Major in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa and was a James Bowdoin Scholar. He was also a Rhodes finalist. Blair went on to attend Columbia Law School in the tradition of his father, Nathaniel, graduating as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar where he also served on the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems.
Following law school Blair spent his entire career as a litigator which he often described as an intellectual sport. Prior to founding his own litigation boutique in 1998 Blair was with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Dewey Ballantine, and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. From 1984 – 1992, he served as head of litigation for Saul Steinberg’s Reliance Group and then General Counsel of Frank B. Hall & Co. Inc. He also served as President of the New York American Inn of Court and on several boards. Having litigated in both the corporate and private law firm environments, he successfully merged his extensive economic background with his over-35-years of litigation expertise to create novel and cost-effective means to litigate “out of the box” in a David v. Goliath world. His accomplishments include successfully trying the largest tax shelter cases in the U.S., all of the civil cases arising from the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, represented all of the retired partners of Arthur Anderson in successfully reclaiming their retirement benefits, a plethora of securities, intellectual property and trade secret litigations across the U.S., as well as cases in the Hague and Brazil. He was often quoted in the press and on multiple news channels. He has been honored as a NY Super lawyer, was listed in a number of Who’s Who publications including as Professional of the Year for Commercial and Civil Litigation, and was the author of the chapter on Complaints in the leading West publication, Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts. He was named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in America by the Top 100 Business Magazine. On May 3, 2017 Columbia Law School celebrated the members of the Harlan Fiske Stone Society, the Law School’s most generous and ardent supporters, with a reception at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. The occasion also marked the introduction of the Harlan Fiske Stone Society Award, a newly established honor that recognizes an individual with consistent leadership in annual giving, volunteer service, and community engagement with the Law School. Dean Gillian Lester presented the inaugural award to Blair Fensterstock for his “unstinting commitment to Columbia Law School. “Always with a confident smile, always asking what more he can do, Blair is the ultimate Law School citizen who dedicates his time and energy to all of us,” said Dean Lester. He also set an example with leadership Annual Fund gifts for two decades, co-chaired multiple reunions, and served on the Law School’s Board of Visitors and was a leader in the legal and business communities, as well as in philanthropic circles.
Blair had a life-long interest in sports which included basketball, tennis, soccer, squash and golf as well as being a New York Yankees fan. He was a member of the Bayonne Golf Club in Bayonne, NJ, The Eden Club in St. Andrews, Scotland, The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Scotland, The St. Andrews Golf Club in St. Andrews, Pinehurst Country Club in Pinehurst, NC, the University Club of New York and the Penn Club of New York. Blair’s love of golf took him to Scotland several times annually and he also owned a home in Pinehurst, NC, which he visited as often as possible. He also served on the Board of Beyond the Boroughs and the London Center for Policy Research and was a CEO Member of the Job Creators Network. Blair was also a member of the Tin Whistles in Pinehurst, NC, which awards four scholarships each year to deserving students from the local communities. In 2016 he was on the interview committee and described the experience as one of the most rewarding things he had been involved with in a very long time.
A memorial service to honor Blair’s life will take place at Pier A Harbor House at 22 Battery Place, New York, NY on February 1, 2018 from 6 to 10 pm. Pier A is located in downtown Manhattan across from the Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park. All who wish to attend are welcome. In addition, in April, 2018 Blair’s wife, Connie and three adult children, Michael, Evan and Laurel will embark on a pilgrimage to scatter some of Blair’s ashes in two of his favorite places on earth, St. Andrews, Scotland, and at Skibo Castle, also in Scotland.
Blair was preceded in death by his parents, Nathaniel and Gertrude, his older brother Lyle, and his first-born child, a daughter, shortly after birth. Blair is survived by his wife Connie; sons Michael and Evan; daughter Laurel; younger brother Jason; several nieces and nephews; and grandchildren Sydney Rose and Parker, as well as his ex-wife, Joyce, and literally hundreds of friends the world over. The light in the world became a little dimmer with his passing and, although he is severely missed, his impact on those whose lives he touched will be felt for generations.