Leonard Schroeter – the passing of a legal giant

Leonard Schroeter, a lawyer who fought for access to justice for everyone and was a protector of our Constitutional Rights passed away on April 28, 2014.

Leonard had an extraordinary legal career which began after he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1951.  He prepared the school segregation cases for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, then headed by the late United States Supreme Justice Thurgood Marshall.  This was just the start of a legal career centered on protecting the rights of individuals and righting wrongs.

Leonard practiced at Schroeter Goldmark & Bender until his retirement in 1989.  I joined the firm shortly after his retirement and am sad to say that I never was able to work on a case with him.  I have enjoyed many stories of Leonard in depositions and trial.  He was clearly one of the best trial lawyers to have practiced in the Country.

Leonard remained of counsel to the firm until he was given the opportunity to join Paul Whelan, Mike Withey and me in forming a new firm which became Stritmatter Kessler Whelan Withey Coluccio.  At our new firm, he started the Schroeter Constitutional Law Center and continued to work on access to justice issues across the country.

Many referred to Leonard as being a radical.  Leonard embraced this label because as the late Washington State Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers wrote, to Leonard, being a radical meant:

“. . . a willingness to criticize any person, any group, or any concept with which you disagree no matter how influential, powerful or sacred that person, group or concept may seem.”

I feel lucky and blessed to have spent many years along side Leonard after he joined Paul, Mike and me.


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