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Norman H. Dachs, top insurance lawyer, dies at 81

Norman H. Dachs, a top lawyer in his

Norman H. Dachs, a top lawyer in his field and founder of one of the oldest law firms in Nassau County, died of lung cancer at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre. He was 83.

Norman H. Dachs, a top insurance law and no-fault lawyer and a founding partner of one of the oldest law firms in Nassau County, died of lung cancer Wednesday at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre.

He was 81.

"Norman was an acknowledged expert in his field and lectured and wrote extensively on insurance law and no-fault," said Michael Grossman, a fellow lawyer who had known Dachs for 50 years. "He was not only a giant in the profession but also a fine gentleman."

Dachs grew up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, and had lived in Woodmere with his wife, Zena, for the 58 years of their marriage.

Dachs was a longtime columnist for the New York Law Journal, where he primarily wrote about insurance law and no-fault law.

"We started writing it together in September 1987, on insurance in general with a focus on uninsured and the underinsured motorists," said his son and law partner, Jonathan, of Manhattan. "We wrote it every other month. The last one was in September, but he was sick in November, and for the first time, we missed the deadline."

His son noted that his father still got to the office every day, "right up until Thursday last week. He loved his work."

He was recently honored at a Nassau County Bar Association dinner for his 60 years of lawyering.

He and his partner, the late Neil T. Shayne, opened their office in 1954, shortly after Dachs graduated from Brooklyn Law School at age 21. The firm is now known as Shayne, Dachs, Sauer & Dachs.

He did his undergraduate work in three years, also at Brooklyn College.

"There is no doubt that he was brilliant and creative," said his son. "He was also an accomplished appellate lawyer. My son, who is in law school, just finished reading about one of his cases still in the books."

He added that Dachs was very active in his community and his synagogue. "And he had a summer home on Lake Waubeeka, in Connecticut that he loved."

Besides his wife, Zena, and son, Jonathan, survivors include another son, Michael of Merrick; a daughter, Devra Bader of Mamaroneck; and 10 grandchildren.

A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at The Young Israel of Woodmere Synagogue. Burial will follow at Unionfield Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens.

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