Former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Allan H. Gordon died June 19 at the age of 77 from lung disease.
A Philadelphia native, Gordon attended Central High School. Upon graduating, he joined the Army for a short time then returned home to attend Temple University. He completed both his undergraduate and law degrees there.
“Allan overcame a lot of early obstacles in his life, and it’s amazing that he was able to overcome these things and succeed as much as he did,” said his son-in-law, Leonard Cohen.
Gordon’s mother — who was pregnant at the time — died of tuberculosis when he was 3, Cohen said. His father was so distraught that extended family raised Gordon for seven years until his father remarried.
Gordon was shy as a child, Cohen said. His high school counselor suggested he go into a field that required he work with his hands instead of his mind, but when he got to the Army, he met someone who taught him about law and he fell in love.
Cohen recalled that Gordon graduated at the top of his class at Temple Law School, and the year he took the Pennsylvania Bar Exam he received the highest score.
During his law career, Gordon was a partner in the firm of Kolsby, Gordon, Robin & Shore and specialized in professional malpractice, medical malpractice, liability, drug injury and personal injury.
According to the Kolsby, Gordon website, a career highlight occurred in 1980, when Gordon represented Schering Plough. He secured a settlement for the client, which had been sued by turkey growers who said their fowls’ embryos were harmed by the drug manufacturer’s product.
Throughout his career, Gordon received many honors, including serving as the 75th chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar from 2002 to 2003 and as president of the Trial Lawyers Association.
“Allan was a kind and gentle soul. He was known for his generous spirit, wit, charm and grace, and was highly respected by all as an excellent attorney, arbitrator and mediator and an accomplished leader in our legal community,” current Chancellor Mary F. Platt said in a news release. “He will truly be missed.”
Colleague Mitchell Shore said, “Allan was a dedicated and strong leader in the Philadelphia community” as a plaintiff’s attorney, but was well respected by attorneys on both sides of every case.
Gordon was an active member of the Jewish community and was involved in the lawyer’s division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. He was a strong supporter of Israel. According to Cohen, Gordon took his entire family to Israel, a place he visited multiple times.
“He was a loving grandfather and father and provided for his family,” Cohen said.
“Bottom line, Allan was a true mensch and loved by all,” Shore said.
Gordon is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sharon; daughters Lauren Cohen, Pamela Gordon and Tara Kochman; and eight grandchildren.