Feb. 6, 1929 – March 18, 2016
Lauren D. Rachlin, widely recognized as an expert in international business law and a pioneer in international law in New York State, died Friday. He was 87.
Guided by a belief that cross-border activity is a key to economic development, particularly in Western New York, he assisted large and small companies in doing business abroad and helped foreign companies set up and expand operations in the United States.
Mr. Rachlin, a longtime resident of the Town of Tonawanda, founded the International Law and Practice section of the New York State Bar Association, which has chapters around the world, served as its first chairman and continued to serve on its executive committee. He also helped for the Latin American Council, which advocates for the rule of law in Central and South America.
Since 2004, he had served on the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Customs Matters and Trade Facilitation.
Mr. Rachlin also was a designated panelist on the NAFTA Chapter 19 Dispute Resolution Panel, serving as a congressional appointee from 1989 to 1993, 1994 to 1996 and continuously since 2004. In Canada, he was chairman of the International Business Committee of the Ontario Bar Association’s Business Law Section.
In 1996, he founded and served as first director of the Canada/United States Border Alliance, which regionalized a trade corridor linking Toronto, Hamilton, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. He also was the founder, past president and director of World Trade Center-Buffalo Niagara.
Mr. Rachlin was one of the authors of “International Law for CEOs: Lessons from Leading International Lawyers.”
He started a summer intern program at the University at Buffalo Law School that allowed students to study legal systems in Guatemala, Panama, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. He also initiated the law school’s oral history project, which has collected interviews with alumni, faculty, administrators and friends of the school.
In 1970, he served as U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, where he helped adopt the first human rights complaint procedure. In 1972-73, he was a member of the U.S. National Commission to UNESCO.
Born in Buffalo, the son of a lawyer, he was a graduate of Bennett High School and earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction from UB in 1948. He received a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1951, joined his father’s firm and practiced law for 64 years, up until his death.
Mr. Rachlin became associated in 1981 with Kavinoky Cook, where he was a senior partner and head of the firm’s Division of International Practice.
He joined Hodgson Russ in 2003 as a partner, worked from its Buffalo and Toronto offices and was licensed as a foreign legal consultant in Ontario. Since 2014, he had been a partner with Barclay Damon in Buffalo and Toronto.
Mr. Rachlin won numerous awards. He was a life member of the Fellows of the American Bar Association, received an award for distinction in international law and affairs from the New York State Bar Association and was given the Distinguished Non-Alumnus Award from the UB Law School Alumni Association.
He also was listed in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. He was recognized for his service to U.S.-Canada relations in 1997 when he was invited to a state dinner at the White House.
Mr. Rachlin was a founding member of the board of directors of the Frontier Science Foundation, serving for more than 40 years; a trustee of the New York State Archives Partnership Trust; and a former member of the board of directors of the Erie County Bar Association.
He was a past president of Temple Beth Zion, the Rosa Coplon Home and the Buffalo Council on World Affairs.
Mr. Rachlin also was a member of the Buffalo Club, Park Country Club, the University Club of New York, the Royal Canadian Military Institute, the Buffalo Tennis Club, the West Side Rowing Club and the Buffalo Ski Club. He was an avid traveler, visiting more than 30 countries with his wife and sister, and had a passion for rare books and manuscripts.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, the former Jean Karet; a son, James N.; two daughters, Laura G. and Ellen J.; and a sister, Nancy Posluns; and five grandchildren.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave.