Neil G. Galatz, a prominent attorney and community leader died unexpectedly Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Galatz, 79, practiced law since 1957 and successfully litigated some of the most high profile cases in Nevada. Galatz has held countless leadership positions within the American Bar Association, State Bar of Nevada, Nevada Justice Association and American Association for Justice. He has authored dozens of law related articles and lectured on a variety of topics. Galatz served as the co-chairman and Plantiff's Lead Counsel Committee in the MGM multi-district fire litigation and in the Hilton fire litigation. He also served as chairman in the PEPCOM Plaintiff's Committee, a high profile litigation case. He received his Juris Doctor from Columbia University-New York in 1956 and a bachelor of arts from Adelphi College New York in 1953. He was graduated from the prestigious Bronx High School of Science.
Born in New York City, Jan. 22, 1933, Galatz came to Las Vegas in 1957 and served as a deputy district attorney. In private practice he specialized in personal injury, medical and legal malpractice, and product liability. He was also active in the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, serving in multiple leadership positions, including the board of directors for over 35 years. Galatz was proud to be Of Counsel to one of the most prestigious law firms in Nevada, Gordon Silver. He was originally a partner in Weiner, Goldwater and Galatz. In the mid-60s, after which time he formed his own firm of Galatz, Earl and Biggar.
In addition to practicing law since 1957, Galatz, along with his wife, Elaine, of 51 years, owned Vegas Valley Morgans in Las Vegas. Vegas Valley Morgans is nationally recognized for the superior breeder program of Morgan horses. He was as active competitor and won numerous national and world championships with his horses.
Galatz received the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Task Force on Plantiff's Involvement Pursuit of Justice Award in May 2008. He was also named Nevada Justice Association Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2002. He received a citation for outstanding leadership in 1971 from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. In addition, he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since the inception of publication, named Nevada Best Lawyers in Business by Las Vegas Magazine every year since 2005. Listed in Town and Country Best Lawyers in the U.S.A. and listed in Who's Who in the Law World U.S.A. West. He was also featured on 60 Minutes "Medical Malpractice Crises" and in the 2012 National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
He is survived by his wife, of 51 years, Elaine; daughters, Dr. Leesa (Dr. David Finlay) Galatz of St. Louis, and Lara Galatz of Las Vegas; grandson, Ryan Finlay of St. Louis; brothers, Malcolm (Deanna) of Joseph, Ore., and Hank (Susan) Galatz of Chicago; sister, Karen (Jon Wellinghoff) Galatz of Washington, D.C.
Services were held Jan. 6, at the King David Memorial Chapel, Las Vegas, NV. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Jewish Repertory Theatre of Nevada, 9101 Alta Drive, #1701, Las Vegas, NV 89145.