Thomas Heftler’s Legacy

To the Editor:

Thanks to The Observer for Jesse Wegman’s wonderfully touching piece on Thomas Heftler [“Remembering Tom Heftler,” July 2-July 9].

There is a palpable sadness in the hallways of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, and it is still very difficult to accept the awful reality that Tom will no longer walk through the hallways of the firm’s offices wearing his signature bow tie.

It truly is quite rare that one meets a person like Tom, who was a brilliant attorney, an accepting individual, and, as many can attest, just a true gentleman in every sense of the word. From my point of view, the respectfulness and collegiality among the attorneys at the firm is largely due to Tom’s example, and, from what I have seen, his efforts at improving diversity at the firm are unmatched. Tom really walked the talk when it came to opening the firm’s doors to all attorneys irrespective of race, creed, sexual orientation, etc., and his legacy will continue through the efforts of those he mentored.

Mr. Wegman’s piece is illustrative of how much of an impact Tom had on everyone who came in contact with him, even when such contacts were only brief. Reading Mr. Wegman’s tribute was a source of comfort for me and, I am quite sure, many others at the firm. I truly do and will miss Tom. Recquiescat in pace.

James Gutierrez
Manhattan