Vale – Norman Rosenbaum


Bar Roll No: 2309

Victorian Bar member Norman Rosenbaum passed away last Saturday at the age of 62 years.

Norman was admitted to practise law in 1984. After a four-year stint at the Australian Tax Office as a prosecutor and general advocate, Norman came to the Bar in 1988, where he read with Harry Reicher. He established a thriving practice in taxation law and associated commercial and criminal law areas in Australia and internationally, particularly in the United States and Britain. A dedicated family man, Norman was remembered at his funeral as “a man who understood the power of community, who was never too busy or too tired to lend a quiet hand to those in need. Never seeking recognition, he preferred to work out of the spotlight.”

This is reflected in Norman’s life at the Bar, where he valued the collegiate atmosphere including the opportunity to discuss difficult legal issues with his friends and colleagues. This would often lead to opportunities to work together, either in big tax cases or pro bono work for the Jewish community. Norman’s friends and colleagues recall his generosity in volunteering them for pro bono work with great affection. Some of this work had important community outcomes.

At the age of only 34, when he would otherwise have been establishing his career and enjoying life with his young family, Norman was propelled into the public eye by the racially motivated murder of his brother Yankel during the Crown Heights riots in New York in 1991. In the decades-long campaign for justice that followed, Norman became a powerful public leader, known for his relentless drive, fierce intellect and disarming honesty.

Norman was a particularly astute and well-regarded barrister who was as determined an advocate for his clients as he was for his brother, applying all the force of his enormous personality, intellect and will to their benefit. He appeared in a number of important tax cases and was a genuine character of the Tax Bar, affectionately known as Stormin’ Norman to those who knew him well. He was a great supporter of the traditions and collegiality of the Bar and a wonderful mentor to those who had the benefit of being able to tap into his knowledge.

Norman was known for his wit and dry sense of humour. “Larger than life, a complete character, and a touch of eccentricity, what else could he be but a barrister”, recalled a friend at the Bar. “Norman was a one off, who fought for his clients with the tenacity of a mother lion defending her cubs. He will be missed.”

The Bar extends its condolences to Norman’s family, friends and colleagues.

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