In Memoriam: Bennett Boskey

In Memoriam: Bennett Boskey

Prominent Washington attorney Bennett Boskey, who recalled shaking hands with President Calvin Coolidge as a boy, died today in Washington, D.C. He was 99.

The late John P. Frank, his colleague on the ALI Council, once called Mr. Boskey the Institute’s “Renaissance man,” and with good reason. An ALI member since 1951, Mr. Boskey was elected to its Council in 1972. His dedicated service as the Institute’s Treasurer for 35 years (1975 to 2010) far exceeds the tenure of any other ALI officer.

Mr. Boskey, a solo practitioner in Washington, D.C., was a partner in the law firm of Volpe, Boskey and Lyons and its predecessors until its dissolution in 1996.  He assisted with government contracts, handled work pertaining to the nuclear and utilities industries, and served as general counsel to such widely known nonprofit organizations as Analytic Services Inc. and Corporation for National Research Initiatives, as well as local counsel of other nonprofit organizations active in the fields of security and domestic policy matters.

During World War II, Mr. Boskey served in the U.S. Army and was discharged as a first lieutenant. He was a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review. After law school he clerked successively for Judge Learned Hand, Justice Stanley Reed, and Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone.

Mr. Boskey was special assistant to the Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice in 1943, an adviser on enemy property in the U.S. Department of State from 1946 to 1947, and an attorney for the Atomic Energy Commission from 1947 to 1949; he served as deputy general counsel for the AEC from 1949 to 1951.

Mr. Boskey wrote extensively on legal subjects, particularly on matters relating to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. He was for many years a member of the International Legal Studies Program Advisory Council of the American University Washington College of Law, as well as a member of the Board of Review and Development of the American Society of International Law. He was also an honorary fellow of Exeter College, Oxford University. For many years he served as chairman of the board of The Primary Day School, a small private school in Bethesda, MD.

Mr. Boskey’s significant contributions to the ALI’s projects included service as an Adviser on the Restatement Second of Judgments, the Restatement Third of Foreign Relations Law, the Complex Litigation Project, the Federal Judicial Code, and the current project on the Restatement of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations. He also served on the Institute Program Committee, the Capital Campaign Steering Committee, the Finance and Development Committee, the Style Manual Committee, and the Investment Committee. According to membership records, through 2011, Mr. Boskey had not missed an Annual Meeting in more than 50 years. Since at least 1971, his signature “Boskey motion,” precisely capturing a draft’s procedural status, has concluded the discussion of the draft and set the scene for its approval by the membership at the Annual Meeting.

In 2007, Mr. Boskey received the Institute’s Distinguished Service Award for his long and outstanding service to the Institute and his many contributions to its work, and the library and studio complex at ALI’s Philadelphia headquarters was named “The Bennett Boskey Library and Studio” in his honor.

Mr. Boskey’s wife, Shirley Ecker Boskey, a department director at The World Bank Group, predeceased him in 1998. 

The Washington Post obituary. 

View the memorial service from ALI's 93rd Annual Meeting