Alexander Forger

Private practice partner at Harrison Tweed’s firm. Chaired NYC Legal Aid Society. President of LSC. Early leader against HIV discrimination.

Person details

Where most active professionally: National and New York
Law type: Civil
Lists: LSC Board/Staff
Source: CNEJL


Alexander Forger graduated from Princeton University with an A.B.; and from Yale University Law School, LL.B (1950). After graduation from law school, Mr. Forger joined the firm of Harrison Tweed which would eventually become Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. He became a Partner with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP in 1958, and served as Chairman of the Firm from April 1984 through April 1992. Mr. Forger has extensive experience in trusts and estates and in domestic relations and personal law, and he represents the estate of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. Mr. Forger has served as the New York Delegate to the House of Delegates; as a member of the Comprehensive Legal Needs Study, the Advisory Committee to the Immigration Pro Bono Development Project and the Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly. He also is Trustee-Emeritus of the National Conference of Bar Foundations. As a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, he has served on the Committee to Enhance Professional Opportunities for Minorities, the Committee on Lesbians and Gay Men in the Profession and currently serves on the Special Commission on Campaign Finance Reform. As a member of the New York State Bar Association, he served as President from 1980 to 1981, and is a member of the House of Delegates. Mr. Forger was a Director of the Legal Aid Society from 1976 to 1993, President from 1977 to 1979 and Chairman of the Board from 1984 to 1993. He served as President of the Legal Services Corporation from 1994 to 1997. Mr. Forger is Trustee-Emeritus of The Rockefeller University and Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of New York Law School. Alexander Forger’s leadership in the early, harrowing days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States was indispensable to establishing legal services for people with HIV or AIDS in New York, meeting their crucial needs for protection from discrimination and for planning responsibly for their then-inevitable demise. That leadership also helped spark the nascent HIV advocacy movement, which would become one of the most successful in U.S. history. The American Bar Association established the Alexander D. Forger Award in 2011 to recognize and celebrate lawyers and legal service providers who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to the advancement of the rule of law for individuals living with HIV and to the provision of direct legal services to individuals infected with, and affected by, HIV. In 2012, the AIDS Coordinating Committee presented the inaugural award to Alexander Forger for his early leadership in encouraging members of the bar to provide pro bono legal services to individuals living with HIV. Recipients of the award are distinguished organizations and individuals that have provided or enabled legal services for people with HIV over a sustained period.

What others say Lifetime Achievement Awards 2004

In private practice, Alexander Forger’s clients are the kind of people for whom money is no object and influence is inherited; in public service, he has always dedicated his strongest efforts to those who have neither money nor influence. As chair of New York’s Legal Aid Society, Forger helped bring top-level legal advice and assistance to the indigent. When he went to Washington to serve as president of the Legal Services Corporation under President Bill Clinton, he fought fiercely in Congress to rescue a federally funded program that gave poor people meaningful access to the courts, restructuring the organization to adapt to severe budget cuts and restrictions on the types of cases that it can take. If charity begins at home, then Forger’s assistance to his partners came in the form of tough love: helping revitalize an old-fashioned firm and ensuring its competitiveness in the modern era of global business, while also urging a greater commitment to pro bono and public service.