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A Tribute to Founding Partner Stan Berliner

We are sorry to announce that our founding partner, Stan Berliner, passed away peacefully on April 22, 2020.  Stan was a true icon of the legal community and was known for his legal acumen that helped shape the Silicon Valley as we know it today. Stan was a great mentor ad friend to all of us here at Berliner Cohen, LLP.  Below is our tribute to Stan. We, together with Stan’s family, would love to hear your memories of Stan. Please feel free to share them at memoriesofstan@berliner.com. Our Partner, Andy Faber, wrote a fitting tribute to Stan that we are sharing with you below...

A Tribute to Stan Berliner

As we mourn the passing of our founder Sanford A. Berliner, we also salute his accomplishments and strive to continue his legacy.  We were pleased to be able to honor Stan last summer as we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the firm founded by Stan and Sam Cohen in 1969.

Stan was a Bay Area native, growing up in San Francisco and attending the University of California, Berkeley, for both college and law school.  He spent several years in the Judge Advocate General Corps in Washington, DC after graduating from law school and then returned to the area to start his private practice.  Joining Bob Morgan’s personal injury firm, he tried enough cases to convince himself that there must be another way to earn a living in the law, though this training in dispute resolution stood him in good stead as he began his own practice by inheriting the firm’s real estate cases.  Inducing his law school friend Sam Cohen to return to the South Bay from Southern California, they formed the classic two person firm, with Stan as the Business Lawyer and Sam as the Litigator.  With the addition of John Flaherty, a stable partnership was formed.

Stan was a dynamo, a force of nature as a lawyer and as an individual.  He evolved into an excellent real estate lawyer and superb dealmaker.  Clients valued not only his legal, but also his business, advice.  Stan had a kind of restless, creative intellect that radiated energy and joie de vivre and was highly charismatic.  He was constantly spinning off new ideas and novel approaches to legal problems.  His expertise attracted many talented lawyers to the firm, and a major contributor to our professional success has been his mentorship and training. Over the years, lawyers brought on by Sam and Stan have gone on to become fixtures in the South Bay, as lawyers, judges and business persons. Of course, many have stayed to continue the traditions of Berliner Cohen.

Stan mixed work and life; his friends were his clients, and his clients became his friends. Although he led a high profile, high pressure professional existence, he still delighted in being a devoted husband to Jan and dedicated father to his children, Terry, Shelly, Brian and Alison and his grandchildren, Spencer, Taylor and Adeline.

Stan loved San Jose and was proud to be a part of its growth.  He was an early General Counsel for the City’s Redevelopment Agency (before there were palm trees downtown).  He was instrumental in making the deals and doing the legal work that kick-started the industrial growth of the North San Jose area, brought the Fairmont to downtown, and helped bring Santana Row to the community.

Stan’s passing marks the end of an era for the South Bay legal community.  To our partner, founder, and friend we say: Stan, we will miss your leadership and guidance, but you will always have an honored place in BC’s story and in our hearts.