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Friends and courtroom foes alike are mourning the passing of longtime appellate specialist Gerald Marer, who died at his Palo Alto home Tuesday of intestinal cancer. He was 66. A former president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Marer was lauded as a brilliant attorney who spoke his mind without hesitation and who rose to the top of his field despite fighting multiple sclerosis for most of his life. “He was one of the pre-eminent appellate lawyers in California,” said Michael Willemsen, a staff attorney at the California Supreme Court who had known Marer since their days at Stanford Law School. “His work in appellate law, despite multiple sclerosis, is an inspiration to all.” Willemsen recalled that Marer was daring enough to try his hand at skydiving. Gerald Uelmen, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, where Marer taught appellate advocacy, said Marer was a “superb appellate advocate” and an outspoken critic of the appellate courts. “He had no fear of speaking out and criticizing the courts even though he regularly appeared as an advocate in front of them,” Uelmen said. “He was a man of just enormous courage.” Oakland appellate specialist Jon Eisenberg, who had opposed Marer for the last year in the appeal of an Internet libel suit against Varian Medical Systems Inc. and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc., called Marer “the epitome of the appellate specialist.” “The litigation was bitterly fought at the trial level,” Eisenberg, a partner in Encino’s Horvitz & Levy, said, “and I felt that throughout the appeal, he never let the bitterness affect his handling of the case. He was a gentleman through it all. “We both felt free to call each other and chat about things from time to time.” Marer, who grew up in Omaha, Neb., and was admitted to the California Bar in 1964, had a solo practice at the time of his death. But he previously shared offices with his brother, Alan, in Palo Alto’s Marer, Marer & Schuck. His first job out of law school was four years as an associate at San Francisco’s Long & Levit, followed by a partnership at Palo Alto’s Keogh, Marer & Flicker. Marer was chairman of the board of directors of the Sixth District Appellate Project, which administers the appointment of indigent counsel for appeals. He lectured on appellate law for the Continuing Education of the Bar, worked a short time in the appellate department of the now-defunct Jackson, Tufts, Cole & Black, and was past chairman of the State Bar’s Appellate Courts Committee. In addition to his brother, survivors include daughters Laura Ellen Marer and Beth Marer-Garcia; grandchildren Jason and Lauren Garcia; sister-in-law Alison Cherry Marer; and son-in-law Julio Garcia. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20, at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City.

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