Henry Jacob Friendly (July 3, 1903 – March 11, 1986) was a prominent judge in the United States, who sat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1959 through 1974 (including service as chief judge from 1971 to 1973) and in senior status until his death in 1986.
Senior Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office April 15, 1974 – March 11, 1986 Chief Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office July 20, 1971 – July 3, 1973 Preceded by
J. Edward Lumbard Succeeded by
Irving Kaufman Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office September 9, 1959 – April 15, 1974 Appointed by
Dwight D. Eisenhower Preceded by
Harold Medina Succeeded by
Ellsworth Van Graafeiland Personal details Born
Henry Jacob Friendly July 3, 1903 Elmira, New York Died
March 11, 1986 (aged 82) New York, New York Political party
Sophie Stern Children
Harvard University ( BA, LLB) Before the bench
Friendly graduated from
Harvard College in 1923 and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1927. It is widely rumored that Friendly graduated with the highest grade point average ever attained (before or since) at Harvard Law School, but confirmation of this claim is difficult to find, and the claim is sometimes also made for  U.S. Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter.
On June 23, 1927, the
Harvard Crimson reported that Friendly was the first Harvard Law graduate to receive a degree summa cum laude. Frankfurter, as a professor at Harvard Law School, sent his student Friendly to work as a clerk for Justice Louis D. Brandeis of the United States Supreme Court.  Friendly then entered private practice in  New York City from 1928 to 1959, and was a founding partner of  Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where his law partners included George W. Ball and Melvin Steen. He served as vice president and general counsel of Pan American World Airways in New York City from 1946 to 1959.
 Judicial service
Friendly was appointed by
President Dwight D. Eisenhower to a seat on the Second Circuit vacated by Harold Raymond Medina. Friendly's appointment had been endorsed on the basis of merit by several prominent judges and lawyers, including Judge  Learned Hand.
Friendly was confirmed by the
United States Senate on September 9, 1959, and received his commission the next day. He served as the  chief judge of the Second Circuit from 1971 to 1973.
Friendly's opinions for the Second Circuit were considered scholarly and of superior quality; many are still cited today, particularly in the field of
Friendly received the
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.
Friendly took his own life at age 82 on March 11, 1986, in his
Park Avenue apartment in New York City. Police said they found three notes in the apartment, one addressed to his resident maid and two unaddressed notes. In all three notes, the judge talked about his distress at his wife's death, his declining health and his failing eyesight, according to a police spokesman. His wife, the former Sophie S. Stern, had died a year and four days earlier. They had been married for 55 years.
In a ceremony following Friendly's death, then-
Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger said, "In my 30 years on the bench, I have never known a judge more qualified to sit on the Supreme Court." At the same ceremony, Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall called Friendly "a man of the law."
In a letter to the editor of
following Friendly's obituary, 2nd Circuit Judge The New York Times Jon O. Newman called Friendly "quite simply the pre-eminent appellate judge of his era" who "authored the definitive opinions for the nation in each area of the law that he had occasion to consider."
In a statement after Friendly's death, Judge
Wilfred Feinberg, the 2nd Circuit's chief judge at the time, called Friendly "one of the greatest Federal judges in the history of the Federal bench."
 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner described Friendly as "the most distinguished judge in this country during his years on the bench."
Harvard Law School has a professorship named after Friendly. Paul C. Weiler, a Canadian constitutional law scholar, held it from 1993 to 2006;
 William J. Stuntz, a scholar of criminal law and procedure, held it from 2006 until his death in March 2011. The professorship is currently held by Carol S. Steiker, a specialist in criminal justice policy and capital punishment. 
Federal Bar Council awarded Friendly a Certificate of Distinguished Judicial Service posthumously in 1986.
American Law Institute has an award named in memory of Friendly and endowed by his former law clerks.
Friendly's wife of 55 years died a year before his
suicide. He was survived by a son and two daughters. 
 Notable former law clerks
David P. Currie (1960–1961), Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago Law School 
Peter B. Edelman (1961–1962), professor of law and co-director, joint degree in law and public policy, Georgetown Law Center 
Stephen R. Barnett (1962–1963), Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law, emeritus, Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley 
Pierre N. Leval (1963–1964), judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Michael Boudin (1964–1965), chief judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit  Robert M. Berger (1966-1967), partner Mayer Brown & Platt, lecturer in law University of Chicago Law School, adjunct professor of Law Northwestern University Law School and John Marshall School of Law
Bruce A. Ackerman (1967–1968), Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale Law School 
Arthur Raymond Randolph (1969–1970), judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit  Walter Hellerstein (1970–1971), Francis Shackleford Distinguished Professor of Taxation Law,
University of Georgia School of Law  Martin Glenn (1971–1972), Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
 Lawrence B. Pedowitz (1972–1973), partner,
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz  Frederick T. Davis (1972–1973), partner, litigation department,
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Paris  
William Curtis Bryson (1973–1974), judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit  James R. Smoot (1974–1975), dean and professor of law,
Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, The University of Memphis 
Philip Bobbitt (1975–1976), Thomas M. Macioce Professor of Law, Columbia Law School 
Ruth Wedgwood (1976–1977), Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy & Director of the International Law and Organization Program, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies ( SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University; Member, United Nations Human Rights Committee Theodore N. Mirvis (1976–1977), partner, litigation department,
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz 
Merrick B. Garland (1977–1978), chief judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit  Mary I. Coombs (1978–1979), professor of law,
University of Miami School of Law 
John Roberts (1979–1980), Chief Justice of the United States  Marc Wolinsky (1980–1981), partner, litigation department,
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz 
Gary Born (1981–1982), partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr 
Jonathan R. Macey (1982–1983), Sam Harris Professor of Corporate Law, Corporate Finance and Securities Law, Yale Law School   David J. Seipp (1982–1983), professor of law,
Boston University School of Law 
Larry D. Kramer (1984–1985), president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; on leave as Richard E. Lang professor of law and formerly the dean, Stanford Law School  Thomas G. Dagger (1986) of  AT&T  References
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https://web.archive.org/web/20070927210459/http://www.martindale.com/xp/Martindale/Lawyer_Locator/Search_Lawyer_Locator/search_result.xml?PG=0&STYPE=N&FNAME=thomas&LNAME=dagger&FN=&CN=&STS=&CRY=&bc=1. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007 . Retrieved . May 14, 2006 External links
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