Sherry Gold has contributed $1 million to the Law Clinic & Justice Center at Albany Law School, in memory of her late husband, Barry (at left). This donation, which amounts to the largest ever given to the Clinic, will establish the Barry A. Gold '70 Health Law Clinical Program Endowment Fund. The program will focus on representing low-income clients with cancer or other chronic medical conditions, and provide training on legal rights for clients, advocates, health care staff, physicians, and law and medical students.
"This is a big day for Albany Law School and this gift validates our vision for the Health Law Clinic," said President and Dean Thomas F. Guernsey. "When a family honors their loved one by responding to a program with this kind of generosity, I know we're pursuing the right path. I think the Golds' gift solidifies the foundation of our health law initiative so that we can now expand significantly. I expect this kind of gift to generate interest in our program and inspire more giving."
The endowment will help the Clinic expand its educational component for students while better serving low-income clients. Currently, the school's clinic helps more low-income area families affected by HIV and cancer with free legal assistance than any other legal service organization in the surrounding counties. The Clinic handles approximately 650 cases annually, largely in the categories of domestic violence, cancer or AIDS-related health law.
Plans call for several initiatives, including hiring a new fellow, in perpetuity, to oversee law students working with Albany Medical Center patients, as well as medical students, advocates, physicians and related professionals. Sherry Gold hopes the endowment will inspire students to continue Barry's legacy of helping others.
"The legal community and its beneficiaries were cheated when Barry died," said Sherry. "He was a fierce advocate for equality. He devoted his career to ensuring that everybody, including the poor, had access to healthcare and legal services." Sherry said that Barry, who had hoped to spend his retirement working with legal practitioners and healthcare providers to meet the needs of the underserved, would applaud the interdisciplinary work of the Health Law Clinic.
Sherry's son, Ben, was the Albany Law School Student Bar Association president last year and is currently the school's Graduate Trustee. Ben now works for Appellate Advocates in New York City. Sherry's daughter, Sari, lives in Seattle pursuing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
"The kind of work Ben and I want to do—working with people who never had the opportunities we had—is a lot of our father's influence," said Sari.
"We all share the same values and think this gift is the right way to honor his life," said Ben.
Barry Gold had a lifelong commitment to pro bono work, devoting at least one day a week to representing indigent clients. He also volunteered countless hours to not-for-profits such as Lawyers without Borders, To Life, and The American Cancer Society.
Born in Kingston in 1945, he was a partner with Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Johnson and Butler, Albany. He passed away in 2002. His practice concentrated in the area of Health Law and he was considered a leader in successfully suing insurance companies to provide life saving treatments such as bone marrow transplants.
Barry was the Founding Chair of the Health Law Section of the N.Y. State Bar Association, Chair of the Health Law Committee of NYSBA and Chair of the Mental and Physical Disability Committee. Barry was appointed by the Governor in 1997 to the N.Y. State Task Force on "Life and the Law", where he advised N.Y. state lawmakers on health care legislation, and was instrumental in developing and passing the Surrogate Decision Making, Hospice, and Health Care Proxy Laws.
Barry was on the editorial boards of The Journal of Legal Medicine and The Journal of ForensicNeuropsychology. He served as Chair of the National Board of Directors of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation and on the Board of the Capital Repertory Theatre. Barry taught as an adjunct professor at Albany Medical College, the University at Albany, and at Albany Law School, where he established course work in health law. He received his LL.M. from Case Western Reserve University and was pursuing his M.P.H. from the University at Albany at the time of his death.