The Reminiscences of Larry Lederman

The Transcript

So, what I saw in Phoenix House, my vision for Phoenix House was the fact that, ultimately, we can never treat everybody in America. We are not going to be able to solve the drug problem, but you can be a model program, and that’s what we should be. So, I signed on on that basis, because to me, they wanted me around, and I thought about what I was doing and what was happening in the world and so forth.
— Larry Lederman

Biography: Lawrence (Larry) Lederman was born in 1935 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he attended Stuyvesant High School, and went on to Brooklyn College, eventually finishing his education with a law degree from New York University.  He clerked for the California Supreme Court, and then joined Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP in 1968.  While at Cravath, Lederman established himself as an emerging figure in corporate law, and at the same time became legal counsel to Phoenix House during the A. Beame/J. Hornblass investigation and the protracted separation from the City’s Addiction Services Agency (1968-1972). Lederman went on to become a member of Phoenix House, playing a critical role in the organization’s expansion in the 1970s.  Thereafter, he established the Phoenix House Development Corporation, which he chaired, and in that role was critical in the funding structure of the organization.  Meanwhile, Lederman rose to become an eminent attorney in corporate acquisitions, and was at the vanguard of the great merger wave of the 1970s and 1980s.  In the decades after 1980, Lederman was a well-known figure in the business community and amongst New York’s upper class; he used these connections to encourage donations to and board membership at Phoenix House among many leaders of American business.

Keywords: Phoenix House; Crown Heights; Brooklyn; California Chief Justice Roger Traynor; California Supreme Court; Brooklyn College; New York University Law School; money; legal profession; anti-semitism; Cravath, Swaine and Moore, LLP; Carol Bellamy; Abraham Beame; Roswell Gilpatric; Richard Davison; Addiction Services Agency; mergers; merger wave; acquisitions; American manufacturing; Phoenix House Development Corporation; public money; private donations; Mitchell Rosenthal; Phelan Place; Kitty Hawk; board membership; photography; New York Botanical Garden