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Alumni Spotlight

Remembering a Passionate Friend

By Lauren Mineau

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David Justus ’94 was a loyal friend with a ferocious wit, sense of humor, passion for the law, and a deep love for his family.

A year after his death, his law school friends are working to ensure his legacy is remembered through support for future students. The law school received a commitment of $250,000 from Matthew F. Herman ’94 to establish an endowed scholarship in David’s memory, with the hope of one day establishing a full scholarship to support students for years to come.

“We can honor David in memory but we can also pay it forward by creating opportunity for others through support from this award,” Herman said. “Law is a storytelling profession. Honoring someone through a legacy gift allows us to share the stories of David’s life and create tradition in his memory that ties to a sense of community .”

David Justus passed away at age 51 on March 26, 2020, after a difficult two-year battle with glioblastoma. Justus is survived by his adoring family, also known as “The Justus League” - they include his wife, Rachel, and his beloved children, Emma, 13, and Oliver, 9.

Justus was Vice President of Data Acquisition & Operations at Lotame, a data solutions company that helps agencies find new customers and increase quality engagement. Though he didn’t practice law in the traditional sense, he always took an interest in technology and digital communications. In law school, his forward thinking was noticed by classmates then and later, colleagues and family.

His law school eclectic friend group—their previous careers ranged from a television news producer, a banker, and a radio producer—was tight-knit throughout their time at Albany Law School. Justus came in directly from his undergraduate education at Cornell.

“We all loved law school and being in Albany. For a lot of people, law school can be terrifying. We loved it,” Herman said. “We loved our classes, faculty, the work we were doing. It stays with me to this day. It was a happy time for all of us.”

Justus was involved in the Albany Law School Journal of Science and Technology, Albany Law Review, and the Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court program. He was also a fiercely loyal friend and confidant.

Lauren Rothberg ’94 and Justus lived in the same Center Square building during law school. He’d regularly come down to her apartment for dinner and on Sundays they had a standing meetup at the Bagel Baron.

“He was such a dependable friend—no matter what else was going on—we had Bagel Baron every Sunday morning. That was our thing,” she said. “I don’t know anyone who was as witty, but serious when he needed to be, just all around dependable.” “The world is a smaller place without him. He made an impact on anyone he came in contact with.”

In the years after law school, Justus attended a memorial service for a friend who died on 9/11. The somber occasion had a silver lining, he reconnected with an old Cornell classmate and went on a date with her shortly thereafter.

Within a month, Rachel and David decided to get married.

“He was a great dad. He was so unbelievably proud of his children. He adored his wife. When they met again, they were in love so quickly. They adored each other,” Rothberg said.

He was passionate about his career and using his legal education to learn, grow, and be a lifelong learner.

“He was ahead of his time in terms of the type of law he worked on,” Rothberg said.

In addition to his work at Lotame, he was the winner of the prestigious IAB Data Rockstar award in 2018. He co-founded multiple digital media networking organizations including doubledot.com and nymediacollective.com.

Justus loved music, squash, and had a tremendous sense of humor sprinkled with wit, intelligence, and playfulness. His illness was incredibly difficult, friends recalled, but he took it in stride. Instead of dwelling on the unfortunate hand he was dealt, he took pride in living a full life. He traveled, had a family, enjoyed his work.

“Toward the end, he was in a very good place taking comfort in the love of his family and friends,” Herman said.