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Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam listens to arguments at the Court of Appeals in 2013.Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam listens to arguments at the Court of Appeals in 2013. (Tim Roske)

For someone who never practiced commercial law herself, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam showed unusual adeptness at handling business cases throughout her career on the bench—and her death is a loss to the commercial bar in New York, practitioners said.

“The commercial bar really treasured her opinions, because they were always very measured, very precise, very well thought out,” Stephen Younger, litigation partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, said April 14. “In commercial law, you do not want too many radical rulings or writing. She was the one person you could really look to as always caring for these kinds of issues.”

The death of Abdus-Salaam, whose body was found April 12 in the Hudson River in Manhattan, has elicited shock and sadness throughout New York’s legal community and across the country. Sources have told the New York Law Journal that the case is being investigated as a suicide (NYLJ, April 14).

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