Mr. Saltz, the gifted lawyer-mentor and co-founder of Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, PC, a leading Philadelphia plaintiff litigation firm, died Tuesday, September 6, after a long illness. Not surprisingly to those familiar with Mr. Saltz and his passion for advocacy, he continued to work and battle on behalf of his clients during much of his own bout with cancer.
Mr. Saltz, born November 11, 1941, was a skilled litigator whose courtroom tenacity was in marked contrast to his typically easy-going manner, became a co-founder of the Firm following a distinguished public sector career that included representing indigent clients as a criminal defense attorney with the Philadelphia Defenders Association and later as a Deputy City Solicitor and then Solicitor in Charge of the Philadelphia Office of Civil Rights Office Litigation.
During his nearly 40-year legal career, the former president of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association developed a renowned reputation within the Philadelphia legal community as a relentless fighter for his clients – winning many landmark personal injury and civil rights cases – while always following the highest ethical standards of legal practice. In so many ways, he was regarded among his peers as “the lawyer’s lawyer”. Mr. Saltz was selected by his colleagues as one of Pennsylvania’s “Super Lawyers” every year since the list was first published in 2004.
“As part of his extended family, we mourn Steve’s passing along with his loved ones and celebrate his extraordinary accomplishments during his brilliant legal career in which he positively influenced the lives of so many, especially those who were the victims of injustice,” said Michael Barrett of the Firm. It is so rare in any profession to find someone who is universally liked and respected, but that was Steve. He set the bar very high and challenged us all to raise it even higher.”
He faced his illness with the same drive and determination he handled the most difficult legal cases. He trained for and rode in the 2005 American Cancer Society 62-mile Bike-a-thon, serving as co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Bike-a-thon team.
A 1967 graduate of the Villanova University School of Law, Mr. Saltz held an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami. He chaired the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Disciplinary System between 1994 and 1996 following four years as a hearing examiner for the system. He also was a judge pro tem of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas since 1991 and served as a federal mediator for the U.S. District Court between 1992 and 2003.
He was also a member of the boards of governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association (1987-89) and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association (1992) and a seven-year member of the Temple American Inn of Court. He chaired several Bar committees.
A Memorial Service was held at 4:00 p.m., Monday, September 18, in City Hall Courtroom 653, in honor of Stephen T. Saltz, Esquire. The Honorable Sandra Moss presided. The service was open to all of those whose lives were touched by Mr. Saltz.
Mr. Saltz is survived by his wife, Rowena, of 36 years.
Contributions in memory of Mr. Saltz may be made to:
The Wellness Center of Philadelphia
The Suzanne Morgan Center at Ridgeland Chamounix Drive
West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA 19131