Richard Gurfein is past president of the NYS Trial Lawyers

Almost 40 years ago, Richard Gurfein made a career jump from teacher to lawyer, but he still hopes he can teach people a few things. Gurfein became president of theNew York State Trial Lawyers Associationin 1995 with hopes of improving the public’s image of lawyers.

But he also had hoped lawyers would do some things themselves to better their image, such as volunteering to help community organizations. “In part, what lawyers do is protect an important part of American democracy – our system of civil justice. We deal with people’s rights and how to protect them,” Gurfein said. “I think that it’s important to understand when advertisements and news stories talk about unusual lawsuits and verdicts, [they] are the exceptions that prove the rule.”

NYSTLA has a web site on the Internet for the public to learn about the civil justice system. The Web site address is “I think lawyers should be active members of the community,” he says. “We owe a debt to the community.”


Originally from Queens, Gurfein has lived with his wife, Erica, and their children on Long Island for 30 years. Gurfein got his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from New York University and taught math at the Jane Addams Vocation High School for Girls in the South Bronx for four years. At the same time he went to Brooklyn Law School at night, and received a Juris Doctor degree in 1971. His law practice focuses on people seriouslyinjured through negligence, accidents, such as on construction sites and in automobiles, medical malpractice and defective products.


Gurfein is Board Certified by theNational Board of Trial Advocacyin Civil Trial Advocacy, he has chaired numerous committees of theNew York State Trial Lawyers Associationand theNassau County Bar Association.


Gurfein enjoys astronomy, astrophotography, amateur radio, photography, videography, golf and sailing.

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