The Delaware Bar and Delaware Volunteer Legal Services (DVLS) recently lost an esteemed colleague, the first Board President, and a Founding Member of DVLS with the passing of Joseph Rosenthal. DVLS’s Executive Director, Janine Howard-O’Rangers, asked one of the original and the longest serving members of the Board of Directors of DVLS, David Brown, if he would share his thoughts on Joe’s passing. David shared his thoughts as follows:
The Board and staff of Delaware Volunteer Legal Services (DVLS) mourn the loss of Joseph Rosenthal, Esquire, who passed away September 27, 2020 at the age of 88. Joe was the definition of a gentleman. Courteous, soft spoken, ever modest, and impeccably dressed, groomed, and educated (Yale College, Harvard Law). His considerable skill as a corporate litigator on the shareholder plaintiff side was well known on the Bench and at the Bar. But more important than even those fine qualities was his kindness and his deep and constant concern for poor people facing an injustice or a legal problem threatening their family, home, or livelihood. He did not simply feel that concern but acted on it vigilantly his entire professional career, pouring his energy, his heart, his considerable talent, and countless hours into cases and causes to assist those facing such threats. He helped establish DVLS in the early 1980’s and led it masterfully as Board Chair from 1981-1987. Thereafter, until his death, he was named as the sole “Director Emeritus“ of that organization, a testament to the esteem in which he was held at DVLS and its gratitude for his essential role in its founding and early nourishment. His good works reached far beyond DVLS. He played important roles in Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLASI), ACLU of Delaware, Planned Parenthood of Delaware and other organizations and causes, all further evidence of his dedication to civil rights, equal justice under law, and the welfare of others in need. The Delaware Bar has been blessed with a select few among its ranks who not only excelled in the practice of law but significantly improved the lot of those without means facing legal challenges. Joe sits among the most revered in that group. He will be deeply missed but well remembered by his many friends at the Bar and within the community he so faithfully served.
The Board of Directors and staff of DVLS extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Joe Rosenthal. DVLS is proud to be a part of Joe’s legacy.