Claire Flom, 82, a philanthropist who supported education, legal and Jewish causes for decades, died Nov. 24, 2007, after a long battle with cancer. Her husband Joseph is a name partner and co-founder of New York City super-law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates, which has 2,000 attorneys and 22 offices on four continents.
Flom was founder of Gateway School in New York for children with learning disabilities, a cancer research funder at NYU Medical Center, a named donor to the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, a founding member and guiding force of the Advisory Board of the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School, supporter of Federal Bar Council and Federal Bar Foundation, and a donor to Food Allergy Initiative, among many others.
In 2006, according to federal records, the Joseph and Claire Flom Foundation gave $150,000 to the Jewish Communal Fund and $100,000 to the Hebrew Free Loan Society in New York. Other Jewish causes to which Flom donated included the American Jewish Committtee and Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago.
The fund gave $50,000 to the Innocence Project, a U.S. litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing.
In a death notice published in the New York Times, her husband’s firm, known as Skadden, Arps, wrote: “Celebrated for her keen intelligence, philanthropy, energy and wit, she was always an original. She participated in every stage of our growth. We all depended upon her wisdom and insight. Claire Flom will be deeply missed.”
A blog published by Skadden employees quoted this in-house email notifying the firm’s employees of her death: “It is with sadness that I advise you that Claire Flom, Joe’s wife, passed away last night after a long battle with cancer. Claire has always been a part of the Firm, ever encouraging us to succeed in making our mark on our profession and our society. We will miss her.”
The AJC death notice said: “Claire and Joe were partners in life and in philanthropy, together crafting a legacy of kindness and compassion that continues to benefit our society and enrich our lives.”
A 1987 New York Times article quoted educator Dr. John Brademas as saying this about Claire Flom: “Claire Flom and people like her will determine the future of New York’s schools. She embodies the spirit of private citizens who care deeply about the city’s public schools.”
Flom graduated from P.S. 115 and George Washington High School in New York. In 1979 she helped found the New York Alliance for the Public Schools, to develop and promote the strength of the public school system in New York.
Along with her husband, she is survived by her children, Nancy, Peter, and Jason, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.