Irving M. Shuman
Irving “Irv” M. Shuman, distinguished attorney, mentor, advocate for his clients, and co-founder of the firm Gross, Shuman, Brizdle and Gilfillan, PC, died on April 11, 2012 in Sarasota, FL after a long illness.
After graduating from UB Law School in 1954, Irv served his country in the U.S. Army until 1956. After returning from service, he began building his own law practice until he formed what would become a lifelong partnership with Gordon Gross.
On September 3, 1960, Irv, along with Gordon Gross and Paul Gonson, formed the law firm of Gross, Gonson & Shuman. After Paul joined the SEC in 1961, the firm became Gross Shuman. The firm originally focused its practice areas in family businesses, business litigation, real estate development, and financing. In 1978, the firm merged with the Brizdle law firm and the name was changed to its present name, Gross Shuman Brizdle & Gilfillan, PC (GSBG).
Many at GSBG say that Irv was a lawyer’s lawyer who set himself apart from others with his deep devotion for clients.
“Irv was an enthusiastic advocate for his clients.” said Gordon Gross, co-founder of Gross, Shuman, Brizdle and Gilfillan, PC. “Irv would put his heart and soul into working hard for clients. He was a smart litigator who was very serious and driven but we also had a lot of laughs. Our clients couldn’t have had better representation.”
He mentored many of the younger lawyers in the office and always stressed that earning the client’s trust was the number one priority. Irv set the bar high for the younger lawyers and had strict expectations for representing the firm’s clients. But he created a legacy that is now being passed down to generations of lawyers at GSBG.
GSBG attorney Howard Cohen remembers Irv asking him as a young lawyer “How do your clients know you are a good lawyer?” Cohen didn’t really have an answer at the time so Irv replied, “They know if you care about them. Show them you care by listening to them and being honest with them. That’s the only way they are going to know you are a good lawyer.”
Irv also led by example said Robert Feldman, who has been at GSBG for 35 years, “Every time I would leave late on a Saturday thinking I had a long week, I would walk by Irv’s office and he would still be there.”
Longtime GSBG employee Sue Krynicki also credits Irv with teaching her good work ethic, “He taught me to be a better person and employee and he taught me to care more about my job.”
Irv has a long history of service to the legal community. He has served as a board member, as well as chairman, for a number of committees for the Bar Association of Erie County, and has actively been involved in many other professional organizations. In 2000, Shuman received the Distinguished Alumni award at the 38th annual University at Buffalo Law School Alumni Association’s annual meeting.
While he was committed to his firm and his family, Irv also found time to give back to his community. For decades he supported the Jewish community in many ways. He served as past president and vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo and was general chair of the United Jewish Fund Campaign. He also served on the boards of the Jewish Community Center, the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, the National UJA Campaign Cabinet, Temples Emanuel and Shaary Zedek, plus many others.
Irv was also a longtime supporter of the Ride for Roswell and is one of the top five individual fundraisers in the history of the event.
Irv is survived by his loving wife of more than 50 years, Marilyn, his four children Catherine, Leslie, Diane, James, and many grandchildren.