Alan N. Resnick, a bankruptcy law expert who taught at Hofstra University and mentored many in the legal profession over four decades, died on July 28 of complications from multiple myeloma. He was 68.
Last year, the law school established the Alan N. Resnick Endowed Scholarship, recognizing his tenure and his influence and commitment to the availability of legal remedies for people and corporations facing insolvency.
In his personal life, he was remembered as a decent swing dancer who took his future wife to the high school prom; an encouraging and supportive presence as his sons pursued their careers; and an optimistic man who relished teaching grandchildren about American history and the Constitution.
“He was an incredibly enthusiastic person and he loved helping and being a mentor to people, and particularly his students, and he helped getting them jobs and guiding their careers,” said his son, Brian Resnick, of Pelham, a bankruptcy attorney with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in Manhattan. “He was also an incredible family man.”
Resnick had a deep commitment to his profession, seeing bankruptcy as an important legal vehicle to help people struggling with debt and to support institutions needing a fresh start, his son said.
He was active until his death, teaching, practicing and mentoring. He served as counsel for 27 years with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in Manhattan; as a scholar who was editor-in-chief of Collier on Bankruptcy, a treatise for practitioners; and as a member of professional organizations such as the National Bankruptcy Conference, which advises Congress on bankruptcy and proposed changes to those laws.
In those roles, Resnick sought to make the bankruptcy world efficient and equitable.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a scholar in bankruptcy law who knew Resnick, praised his dedication.
“Alan was a good man who volunteered his considerable talents to try to make life a little fairer for people who were tumbling over a financial cliff,” Warren said. “He was the ultimate optimist, always convinced that if we just worked at it a little harder, we could make this a better world.”
Resnick was born in Queens and lived his early years in Flushing. His father, a carpet salesman, moved the family to Jericho when Resnick was 9. He graduated from Jericho High School in 1965.
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business in 1969 from Rider College, now Rider University, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He graduated in 1972 from Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C., and earned a master of laws degree from Harvard Law School in 1974.
He was married to Jill Resnick for almost 46 years. They moved to Old Bethpage in the mid-1970s to raise their sons. They later moved to the Upper East Side in Manhattan, where they lived for the last 13 years or so, his son said.
Resnick started teaching at Hofstra in 1974 and never left. He was the Benjamin Weintraub Distinguished Professor of Bankruptcy Law at Hofstra’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law.
“Alan Resnick devoted virtually his entire professional life to Hofstra Law, and it showed in everything he did. He was an exemplary teacher, mentor, scholar and leader,” said Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz, who selected Resnick to become interim law school dean from 2004 to 2005.
In addition to his wife and eldest son, Resnick is survived by his son, Craig Resnick of Pelham, daughters-in-law, Ani Resnick and Hannah Resnick, both of Pelham; and three granddaughters and two grandsons. His brothers, Jerry Resnick, of Holden, Massachusetts, and Kenny Resnick, of Hicksville, also survive him.
A funeral service was held on July 31 in Manhattan.