Richard Weber Jr, an attorney who dedicated his life to fighting for LGBT+ community, has died of coronavirus complications shortly after reassuring colleagues that he was improving.
The lawyer, 57, was a member of the LGBT Bar Association of New York, or LeGal, and a partner at the law firm Gallo Vitucci Klar.
He specialised in false arrest claims and helped spearhead the LGBT+ community in New Jersey. He undertook many cases pro bono and had volunteered and fundraised for LeGaL’s free weekly legal clinic for the past seven years.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, LeGal executive director Eric Lesh described Weber’s death as “devastating”.
“He reached out by email so that folks wouldn’t worry. He reached out to me and the president of the bar association, letting us know what happened and saying it was the sickest he’d ever been, but that he was on the mend,” Lesh said.
“He’d just liked some innocuous things I posted on social media. He was engaging and thought he was on the mend.
“He was a loving, kind and caring human being who gave generously of his legal talents and his energy to the LGBTQ community,” he said.
Lesh added to the New York Post that his colleague was “just a wonderful human being with a real dedication to giving back to others”.
Richard Weber Jr began experiencing coronavirus symptoms around two weeks ago and disclosed his symptoms to his law firm on March 10, after which they closed their Manhattan office.
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His death came two days after he wrote in an email that he had tested positive and was hospitalised, but was feeling better.
“Everyone at Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP is heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Richard,” the 80-lawyer firm said in a statement.
“He was a wonderful attorney and shining light at our firm. Our thoughts right now are with his family.”