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Edward Gudeon – My Memories of Ed (Updated 7/29/13)

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13072659 (posted Jul. 29, 2013)"

By Ted Ruthizer

Way back in the late 1970s I met a young lawyer who decided that it was a great opportunity for a U.S. immigration lawyer to be based in London. I scoffed at the notion and thought there was no way someone could support a practice on the other side of the Atlantic. How wrong I was. Ed was the first U.S. immigration lawyer to move full-time to London, and he paved the way for Richard Goldstein and many other AILA members to follow in his footsteps. Not only was Ed a pioneer, but he was such a quick study in immigration law that he became indispensable to me and to countless others in the AILA community with his considered and very thoughtful advice and guidance on cases over the years.

Ed and I had several things in common - we were both Long Island boys, and we both did our undergraduate work in Pennsylvania (Ed at Bucknell and me at Lafayette), and we both attended law schools in New York (Ed at Fordham and me at Columbia), and we both started our careers as starry-eyed idealists working for the Legal Aid Society. Ed was a few years older, but when I graduated from law school and began at the Criminal Appeals Bureau of Legal Aid, I took on some case files that bore Ed's name from having worked on there a few years earlier. Whenever we spoke, we would fondly reminisce about former colleagues there and their foibles. Ed was a sharp social critic who could size people up after meeting them for only a few minutes.

In the early years of Ed's practice in London, he enjoyed an "Of Counsel" relationship with my then law firm of Mailman & Ruthizer. And Ed provided wonderful services to our British clients who had visa issues at the American Embassy. He not only knew the people in the NIV Unit, he really understood their concerns and what issues could be overcome by skillful advocacy and diligent client preparation so that the visa interviews went smoothly and had no unpleasant surprises. As the years passed, the "Of Counsel" relationship ended, and I moved on to another law firm. But our bond was cemented. I visited Ed on trips to London, we had an occasional dinner together, and he was always both great company and a wise counselor. In the decades since that first meeting, Ed built a reputation for providing superb representation to a wide range of clients, ranging from most famous fashion models, legendary rock musicians, film and theater directors, corporate chieftains, and the many not-so-famous British and other foreign nationals who needed immigration law services at the highest level.

Ed died way too soon of a massive heart attack. But he will be remembered very warmly by all of the many friends and colleagues who had interactions with him over the past 35 years. And I can still picture Ed standing outside one of the large program rooms at each AILA annual conference schmoozing with the best of them, telling wonderful stories, and attracting a big crowd of AILA members playing hooky from the program inside to share in the pearls of wisdom and wit emanating from Ed's lips. Farewell, Ed.

By Gary Endelman

It was a Friday night in Washington D.C. at the AILA National Conference and I was moderating a panel on citizenship when this tall distinguished gentleman walked casually to the microphone and announced to myself and my co-panelists, who included Alan James, then Chair of the Board of Appellate Review and the late and sorely missed Carmen DiPlacido of the State Department’s Office of Consular Review and Inter-Agency Liaison, that he was going to become a British citizen and was doing so with the intent of keeping his US citizenship. My introduction to Ed Gudeon! Ed went on at some length mixing humor with erudition, injecting both laughter and learning into a crowd that, by then, needed both in large doses. Over the next 20+ years, I came to work with Ed closely and often on a number of complex and complicated cases never failing to benefit from his wise counsel, his warm friendship, his vast legal scholarship and his refusal never to take himself too seriously. More than anyone else I have ever known, Ed remained comfortable in his own skin, street smart and book learned, unwilling to tolerate pomposity in any form, and always remembering people at heart were decent and deserving of kindness. We would often laugh, exchange memories of our Jewish mothers, share gossip and the law mixed up with a warmth and genuineness that always made you feel good when you hung up. He had a gift for friendship and I shall long be thankful for the sound of his laughter, the magic of his smile and the pleasure of his company.