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Segal, Bernard Gerard


SEGAL, BERNARD GERARD (1907–1997), U.S. attorney. Born in New York City, Segal grew up in Allentown and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Segal served as deputy to the Pennsylvania attorney general from 1932 to 1935. At age 24, he was the youngest person to ever assume that position. He taught at the American Institute of Banking (1936–39) and at Franklin and Marshall College (1937–38), joining the law firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal, and Lewis in 1936. A friend of the Kennedy family, Segal was appointed by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, in 1962, to help set up a commission that would dispatch Northern lawyers to handle civil rights cases in the South. He served on several American Bar Association committees from 1952 to 1968 and was the first Jew to be elected president of that organization (1969–70). Later, President Lyndon Johnson selected Segal to head the National Legal Service Program, which established legal services for the poor.

Besides holding many positions on government committees and in various foundations and legal institutes, Segal served as president of the Allied Jewish Appeal of Philadelphia; director of the American Jewish League for Israel; vice president and trustee of the Jewish Publication Society of America; honorary director of the Jewish Family Service; and trustee of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, whose law library is named for him.

Regarded by many as one of the greatest lawyers in recent American history, Segal was known as "the conscience of the bar," who strived to promote individual rights and the rule of law. Among his many honors and awards, Segal received the American Bar Association's Gold Medal; the U.S. Attorney General's National Civil Rights Award; the National Conference of Christians and Jews' National Human Relations Award; the naacp Legal Defense Fund's Judge William H. Hastie Award; and the World Peace through Law Award as the World's Greatest Lawyer.

Segal wrote Pennsylvania Banking and Building and Loan Law (1935).

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