William Perlmuth, former chairman of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and a partner for 35 years, died Nov. 24 at his home in Manhattan. He was 88.
Since 1997, Perlmuth, who specialized in corporate financing law, devoted much of his career to pro bono work while remaining of counsel to the firm. He continued to maintain an office at the firm until his death.
“Bill was as comfortable regaling us with stories about meeting Mickey Mantle, poker and fantasy football as he was discussing complex legal matters,” the firm said in a statement announcing his death.
After serving in the Army, Perlmuth was admitted to practice law in New York and became associated with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in 1955. For 35 years beginning with 1962, Perlmuth was a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, focusing on corporate financing law, with an expertise in mergers and acquisitions and venture capital.
During his tenure at Stroock, his principal client was Loeb, Rhoades & Co., a leading investment banking firm, which was later merged into Lehman Brothers.
He also developed a celebrity “work-out” practice; he assisted Huntington Hartford in his disposition of Show Magazine, the Gallery of Modern Art in Columbus Circle and ballet patron Rebekah Harkness in closing her ballet company and school.
He was a member of the executive committee at Stroock for 18 years, including two terms as its chairman. He was a member of the New York State and City bar associations (formerly on committees on international law, corporate law, securities regulation and municipal affairs) and was a lecturer at the Practicing Law Institute.
From 1997 to 2008, he served as chairman of the board of trustees for the Hospital for Joint Diseases and was a trustee of New York University Langone Medical Center for 20 years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries at the hospital and helped guide it through its recovery from the effects of Sept. 11.
Perlmuth was also a trustee of the New York City Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Aeroflex and Weininger foundations, and an emeritus trustee of Wilkes University and the School of American Ballet. He has received a number of awards for work he has done in support of the health care industry and the arts.
At the age of 81, he married Patricia Anne Dugan at the Lotos Club in Manhattan. He met his first wife, Loretta, who died in 2008, when they were both teenagers. They remained sweethearts as he went to Wilkes University and married during his first year at Columbia Law School, where he was an editor of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar for all three years.
On Sept. 10 of this year, he was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wilkes University.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughter Lyn Perlmuth and her husband Chris Larson, daughter Diane Gern and her husband Carl Alio, brother Mickey Perlmuth and sister-in-law Ruth and several grandchildren including Emma Perlmuth Larson, a lawyer, and Harry Perlmuth Larson, a Harvard Law School student and editor of the Harvard Law Review.
William Perlmuth is set to be remembered from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Lotos Club on 5 East 66th St.
A Celebration of Life planned for the Joyce Theater in May has been postponed until further notice.