Thursday, March 21, 2002
Lawyer Remembered for Integrity as Gore Joins in Tribute to Bruce Hochman
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Bruce Hochman was “a man of flawless integrity,” former Vice President Al Gore told a Jewish legal group gathered in honor of the Beverly Hills attorney/philanthropist, who died last August.
“When he knew he was standing on principle, there was no way to sway him,” Gore said of Hochman, a former chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and a founding partner of the law firm that is now Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez.
Gore was the keynote speaker at the gathering, a fundraiser for the federation’s Legal Services Division. He recalled Hochman as a “very good friend” and an “American success story,” who believed above all else in “God, the law, and the boundless capacity of the human heart.”
Seldom, Gore said, had he ever seen “1,000 people [gathered] to give praise to a lawyer.”
Other speakers who paid tribute to Hochman included Gov. Gray Davis and U.S. District Judge Manuel Real.
Real, who worked with Hochman in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the 1950s and has been a family friend ever since, announced that the Legal Services Division has renamed its annual service award the Bruce I. Hochman Maimonides Torch of Justice Award. The jurist presented the renamed award to the attorney’s widow, Harriet Hochman.
The Taxation Section of the State Bar of California has also named an annual award for Hochman, who specialized in representing taxpayers in dispute with the Internal Revenue Service and in criminal tax cases.
Gore’s remarks were preceded by a video presentation on Hochman. Among the friends, colleagues, and former clients who shared their recollections were U.S. District Judges Real and Stephen V. Wilson, television host Monty Hall, architect Frank Gehry, and George Molsbarger, a former bookmaker.
Molsbarger credited Hochman with enabling him to spend his advancing years with his grandchildren instead of in federal prison.
Apart from his comments about Hochman, Gore kept most of his comments on the light side. “I haven’t seen so many lawyers in one place since the last day of the [presidential] campaign,” he quipped.
The former vice president is now a part-time resident of the area, working with a local financial management firm. He is also a visiting professor at UCLA—“that’s v.p. for short, it’s a way of hanging on,” he commented.
He turned serious, however, when talking about the unfolding violence in the Middle East. Gore, who lost the presidential election to George Bush despite receiving more popular votes than any candidate in history, endorsed the president’s peace initiative led by General Anthony Zinni.
He said he was looking forward to seeing the specifics of the peace proposal which Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is to put forth at the upcoming Arab summit. “What the world needs is another [Anwar] Sadat, another King Hussein…another statesman who take this search for a peaceful world to a higher level.”
Sadat, as president of Egypt, and Hussein, as king of Jordan, led their countries to become the only ones in the Arab world to sign peace treaties with Israel.
Sadat shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as a result of the 1979 treaty, but was assassinated by Islamic extremists in his own country in 1981. Hussein died of natural causes in 1999.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company