Spotlight in the Archives: Bernie Segal Papers
Written by Megan Good, Archives Intern.Bernard Segal was an accomplished Philadelphia lawyer devoted to civil rights advocacy. After graduating from Penn with both his undergraduate degree from Wharton in 1928 and his law degree in 1931, he became the youngest Deputy Attorney General in Pennsylvania history under William A. Schnader. When Schnader left office in 1935, he formed a law firm with Francis A. Lewis, with Segal as their first associate. Segal quickly became partner in the firm which employs over 150 lawyers today.
Segal advocated for civil rights, judicial merit selection, pro bono services by lawyers, fair compensation for judges, and improvement of the administration of justice. He was involved in 50 cases before the United States Supreme Court and worked with four Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
Among countless other professional activities, Segal served as President of the American College of Trial Lawyers and Chairman of the Board of the American Judicature Society. In 1975 Segal received the award as the "World’s Greatest Lawyer" at the seventh World Law Conference in Washington, D.C. Segal was a life trustee of Hebrew University, where the law library is named after him and received honorary degrees from many universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Villanova University, Franklin and Marshall College, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Vermont Law School, and Georgetown University. Segal died in June 1997.
The Biddle Law Library Archives is currently revising the Segal finding aid, but the collection is open to the research community. The Bernard G. Segal Papers comprises correspondence, meeting materials, scrapbooks, and other documents that reflect Segal’s activities outside of his law firm. The collection was donated by his wife, Geraldine R. Segal, in 1999. The scrapbooks, which include letters sent to Segal by prominent legal and political figures—including Justice Warren Burger, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and more than one Kennedy—were created by Ms. Segal to preserve mementos from her husband’s life and career. More information about the Segal Papers is located here.
If you are interested in learning more about the Segal Papers, contact Jordon Steele or stop by the Archives.