He was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Florida to attend the University of Miami and the University of Miami School of Law where he met his beloved wife Barbara to whom he was married for 60 years. They had two sons, Scott and Gregg, who both followed their father’s lead and became lawyers and practiced with him. They were fortunate to have six grandchildren, a constant source of happiness. He knew as a very young man that he was going to be a lawyer and he enjoyed every minute of his career. His favorite place was in a courtroom. His passing will leave a void in the legal community where he was greatly respected by judges, colleagues and opponents alike.
As avid supporters of civic and charitable organizations, the Schlesinger family is actively involved in the South Florida community. Mr. Schlesinger served on the Board of Governors of Nova-Southeastern Law Center and served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Broward Community College. Early on he got involved with Broward Community College because he believed strongly in giving an opportunity for a college education to anyone who wanted one; a building on the Hollywood Campus is named for him.
Sheldon J. Schlesinger was one of the most successful personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys in the United States. For over 60 years, he represented individuals and consumers in landmark cases across the nation. He was listed in every edition of the book “The Best Lawyers in America.” He had, and deserved, a reputation for being one of the best trial attorneys in the United States. The Miami Herald described Shelly as “The Dean of Broward Civil Litigators.” The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel described him as a “Bulldog for the Underdog,” a “super-lawyer in every sense of the word,” and “one of the most powerful personal injury attorneys in the country.” At the conclusion of a lengthy trial where his client emerged victorious, the presiding judge entered a court order describing him as “one of the most experienced and skilled attorneys which the Florida Bar has to offer,” and that his “experience and ability in medical malpractice litigation is exceeded by no one.”
Mr. Schlesinger won significant verdicts and settlements in numerous high profile cases. He set national records for plaintiffs’ attorneys, including products liability cases against major automotive manufacturers. In 1995, he was part of the landmark legal team that successfully defeated the tobacco industry on behalf of the citizens of Florida.
He was one of the founders of the Broward County Trial Lawyers Association and served as its president. He was a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, one of the nation’s most prestigious organizations for plaintiff lawyers.
Because of the number of high profile cases he won, he was the subject of numerous interviews and stories in newspapers, magazines and television. He appeared in Time, People, Forbes, Florida Trend, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He appeared on CBS 60 Minutes, ABC’s 20/20, the Phil Donahue Show, and numerous other national and local television and news programs.
Recently, he was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame held at Temple University in Pennsylvania; he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Florida Verdicts Hall of Fame by the Daily Business Review; and he was honored to give a Legacy lecture to his cherished Inner Circle of Advocates.
He is survived by his sons: Scott (m. Anne) and Gregg; his six grandchildren: Charlotte, Alexander, Molly, Theodora, Samuel, and Theodore; and his brother-in-law, Larry Butler (m. Grace).
The funeral will be held Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 1351 South 14th Avenue, Hollywood, FL 33020, internment to follow at Temple Beth El Memorial Gardens, 4900 Old Griffin Road, Davie, FL 33314
The family will receive visitors on December 6, 2015 following the internment at the Schlesinger residence.