Robert Ginsberg, 73

Judge and legal scholar

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The Honorable Robert E. Ginsberg, a noted scholar in the field of bankruptcy law, died on March 17, 2018, at the age of 73. He served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Illinois from 1985 until his retirement in 2003. 

Judge Ginsberg was a graduate of Brown University (B.A.), the American University Washington College of Law (J.D.), and Harvard Law School (LL.M).

 Following his graduation from law school, Professor Ginsberg served as a trial attorney and special counsel with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. Prior to his judicial appointment, he was a professor at DePaul University College of Law from 1974 to 1985, as well as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois Law School (1984). His academic areas of specialization included bankruptcy, corporations, and ethics. For many years, he was a member of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. He also served as vice chair of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission from 1995 to 1997.

Loved and respected by his colleagues, both in the academy and on the bench, he served as chair of the Federal Judicial Center Committee on Bankruptcy Judge continuing education and as the Bankruptcy Judge representative to the U.S. Judicial Council. A member of the bar in the District of Columbia and the state of Illinois, he was admitted to practice before the Northern District of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He was the original author of "Ginsberg on Bankruptcy," a leading treatise in the area of bankruptcy law, later known as "Ginsberg & Martin on Bankruptcy."

In 1991, at the age of 46, Judge Ginsberg was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. For over a decade, he continued his professional practice, as well as golfing, skiing, and ice hockey as a goalie in the Chicago Park District masters program. His hockey prowess was featured in a Chicago Tribune article in 1992 titled, "Federal judge, 47, decides for hockey."

Robert Ginsberg was the son of the late David and late Lillian Modes Ginsberg. He and his wife, Gail Ginsberg, were married for 51 years. She survives him, as do their daughters, Deborah Ginsberg and Dana Ginsberg; their grandchildren, David Ginsberg and Aurora Buntain; his sister, Marion Levine; his brothers-in-law, Bruce Cohen and Irwin Muskat; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, close friends and former colleagues. He is predeceased by his sister, Margery Muskat.

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