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Abrams, Robert


ABRAMS, ROBERT (1938– ), U.S. politician, attorney general of New York. Abrams received his B.A. from Columbia College in 1960 and graduated from New York University School of Law in 1963. In 1965, he was elected at the age of 27 to the first of three terms in the New York State Assembly. In 1978, he ran a successful campaign for attorney general of New York State, becoming the first Democrat to hold the position in 40 years. As attorney general, he commanded one of the largest law offices in the nation, overseeing 1,200 employees, including 475 attorneys in 14 different locations throughout the State of New York. Abrams remained attorney general for 15 years. He is credited with altering New York's abortion law, prosecuting organized crime figures, implementing environmental protection laws, and protecting victims' rights (particularly abused children).

A leader among U.S. attorney generals, Abrams served as president of the National Association of Attorney Generals. His colleagues also awarded him the Wyman Award as an outstanding attorney general. In 1992, Abrams ran against incumbent Senator Alphonse D'amato, losing by 1.2 percentage points. Married to an observant Jewish woman, he would not campaign or work on Friday evening or Sabbath morning, and considered it a professional requirement to be more lax Saturday afternoon. Subsequently he worked as an attorney for the law firm Strook & Strook & Lavan llp in New York.

[Yehuda Martin Hausman (2nd ed.)]

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