Sara S. Portnoy ’49

April 3, 2009

Summer 2009

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Sara S. Portnoy ’49 was a partner at Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn in New York and one of the first women to graduate from Columbia Law School. She passed away on April 3, 2009, at the age of 83.

Portnoy attended Radcliffe College before beginning her studies at Columbia Law School. Following graduation, she joined AT&T, where she spent the next 10 years practicing labor and employment law on behalf of the company.

In 1961, Portnoy left her job at AT&T to raise her two sons, William and Lawrence. Portnoy also volunteered as a director of the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County and as a pro bono counselor to school boards and other community groups. She was a leader of the Westchester League of Women Voters and a long-serving member of the City of White Plains Human Rights Commission.

In 1974, after more than a decade out of the workforce, Portnoy joined Proskauer Rose, where she represented AT&T, NBC, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Metropolitan Opera, The New York Times, and the New York City Ballet, among other
organizations and companies.

Portnoy retired from the firm in 1994. She spent her retirement years working on various pro bono activities, including service as a member of the Columbia Law School Board of Visitors. Portnoy’s husband, Alexander, passed away in 1976. She is survived by two sons and three grandchildren.

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