Lawrence Randolph Bailey Jr., the first African-American attorney to become an equity partner at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, died May 2 in Westchester at the age of 68.
Bailey, the son of two attorneys, Cora T. Walker and Lawrence R. Bailey Sr., was born in 1949 in Harlem. His mother was one of the first female African-American attorneys to practice law in the state of New York.
After Bailey Jr. graduated from New York University School of Law, he went into partnership with his mother, forming the Walker and Bailey Law Firm in Harlem. Despite its success, the firm resisted any suggestion that it move out of Harlem, the family said in a statement.
After his mother’s death, Bailey became a partner at Hodgson Russ and later at Eckert Seamans. He served as a member of the board of directors of Eckert Seamans and as co-chair of its diversity and inclusion committee.
His practice was focused on the transportation industry, including FELA and other railroad matters, products liability, litigation and personal injury defense. He specialized in defending Fortune 500 companies and tried more than 50 cases to verdict, predominantly in New York and New Jersey, the firm said in a statement on its website.
Bailey served as president of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel; vice president and chair of the Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section of the New York State Bar Association; chair of the rail and motor carrier law committee of the Torts Insurance and Products Liability Section of the American Bar Association and as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
He is survived by his wife, Bettye Easley Bailey; children, Regina Bailey, Lawrence R. Bailey III and Elizabeth R. Bailey; brothers, Dr. Bruce Bailey and Lamont Bailey; and sister, Susan Bailey. He also leaves his stepmother, Norma Bailey-Payne, and her husband, Stephen Payne; stepchildren, Brent Coleman, Dr. Arika Easley-Houser and Jeffrey Easley; and several grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
A wake is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. at Teaneck Presbyterian Church located at One Church Street in Teaneck, New Jersey. Burial will be at noon Friday at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale New York.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Cora T. Walker Scholarship Fund, St. John’s University School of Law, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, New York, 11439.