The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Terrific Write-Up on the Life and Legacy of Marvin Lundy

As many will know by now, Marvin Lundy, the Founder of LundyLaw, passed away on Thursday, December 1st. The following is the Philadelphia Inquirer’s tribute to his life and legacy.

Marvin Lundy, 80, Lawyer and Benefactor.
December 04, 2011|By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer

Marvin Lundy, 80, of Rittenhouse Square, a lawyer who was a benefactor and fund-raiser for numerous charitable, cultural, and educational institutions, died of heart failure Thursday, Dec. 1, at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse.

Mr. Lundy was chairman of Lundy Law in Philadelphia. The firm specializes in personal-injury law, including cases involving automobile accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, construction accidents, and pharmaceutical injuries.

It was Mr. Lundy’s policy to meet with the firm’s new clients, his nephew Leonard Lundy said. His understanding of each person’s problems and needs enabled him to assign the case to the best-qualified lawyers and support personnel for each claim, said Leonard Lundy, the firm’s managing partner.

“Marvin truly loved practicing law because it gave him the ability and means to champion those who cannot fight for themselves,” his nephew said.

When Mr. Lundy began practicing more than 50 years ago, his clients were mostly poor and uneducated, his nephew said. “He always tried to help them, and most often did. In gratitude, some even named their children after him.”

Mr. Lundy had sharp instincts about customer service and marketing, and Lundy Law began advertising its services in 1977 after a Supreme Court ruling allowed legal ads, his nephew said.

It is a testament to Mr. Lundy that many of his employees have been with him for more than 20 years, and he was the first to help out an employee in need, Leonard Lundy said.

Mr. Lundy served on the boards of the Philadelphia Association of Justice and the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, which presented him with its President’s Award in 1985.

In 1997, he received the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association President’s Award “in recognition of his role as sage, statesman, and trial lawyer leader par excellence.”

Mr. Lundy grew up on Marshall Street in Northern Liberties, an enclave of Jewish immigrants. His father, a Russian immigrant, sold meat from a pushcart and eventually had a successful butcher business.

After graduating from Central High School, Mr. Lundy served in the Army in the States. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1956 and a law degree in 1959 from Temple University.

Although his success allowed him to dress in custom-made suits, drive Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, and have beautiful homes in the city and at the Jersey Shore, he never forgot he came from Marshall Street, his life partner, Curtis J. Roth, said.

He believed in giving back to to the community, Roth said. Over the years, Mr. Lundy was a board member and served on committees for more than 35 institutions devoted to the law, arts, history, medicine, science, and religion. Among the institutions he served was the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was appointed to the museum board in 1989 and was active on several committees. He recently became an emeritus board member.

Organizations sought him out to chair their fund-raising events. They knew that once he committed himself, he would use every resource open to him, Roth said, including opening his home for benefits and persuading friends to do the same.

In December 1984, Mr. Lundy cochaired a fund-raiser for the 75th anniversary of International House, with 75 dinners held on the same night in private homes, including his own.

In an Inquirer interview in 1984, then-Judge Lynne M. Abraham shared Mr. Lundy’s technique for recruiting hosts for the event. When he called, she said, she knew from experience to ask, “How much will this cost me?” – assuming the call was a request for a donation.

Mr. Lundy insisted the call was to invite Abraham to a great party and guaranteed the food would be sensational and the company terrific. “Where?” she asked. “Your house,” he replied.

“He was a great friend and fun to be with,” Abraham said when she learned of Mr. Lundy’s death. She recalled his elegant dinner parties with Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica china and “magnificent” silver.

Mr. Lundy told friends he learned to set an elegant table watching Marshall Street pushcart owners arrange their wares, Roth said.

The youngest of eight, Mr. Lundy insisted on regular family reunions at his Ocean City house even as his nieces and nephews grew up and spread across the country. “Surprisingly, they came, 100 strong, to spend the weekend,” Leonard Lundy said.

Mr. Lundy and Roth took four to six trips a year abroad. “He made friends all over the world,” Roth said.

In addition to his life partner of 35 years, Mr. Lundy is survived by a brother, Albert, and nieces and nephews.

Donations may be made to the Anna and Samuel Lundy Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, 272 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sd*****@ph********.com.