Judge Max Rosenn, a Giant of the Law

Dedicated. Modest. Influential. Respected. A gentleman in every sense.

The Citizens Voice, February 9, 2006

Judge Max Rosenn was a giant on the Wyoming Valley landscape in every sense of the word.
From being a founder of one of the area’s most prestigious law firms to leading the community in recovering from the Agnes flood, Judge Rosenn’s influence has been tremendous.

His passing will be mourned by scores of people who worked closely with him, by hundreds of people who knew him intimately, and by an entire community that knows of him as a man of leadership and service.

Judge Rosenn’s legacy stretches across an amazing span. As a young lawyer, he was counsel to the garment workers union when it was struggling to improve wages and benefits for thousands of men and women in Wyoming Valley. He was a down-to-earth counselor. At the same time, as a judge of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, he worked alongside of some of the greatest legal minds of our time. He was an associate of Judge Samuel Alito, who was just named to the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court.

Of Judge Rosenn, Judge Alito said, “He had a tremendous influence on all of us. He was a wonderful judge and a wonderful person.”

Indeed, Judge Rosenn was a wonderful person, making and maintaining friendships that lasted decades.

Robert Wolensky, one of those friends, first met Judge Rosenn while working on a doctoral dissertation on the valley’s recovery from Agnes. But even after that work was done, the two would meet regularly for lunch to talk about subjects of mutual interest. His favorite places to have those lunches were the downtown landmark restaurant Hottle’s and the cafeteria of Wilkes University.

The list of lawyers mentored by Judge Rosenn is as long as the judge’s career. Many have gone on to prestigious legal positions and teaching positions. Most recently, he encouraged Attorney Joe Cosgrove, who is now the president of the Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association, the area’s preeminent legal organization.
“We lost a treasure,” said Attorney Cosgrove of Judge Rosenn’s passing.

Judge Rosenn was a treasure because he loved the work he was doing. He was still serving the court at age 96 and when illness required him to make hospital visits, he took his work with him.

Most of all, Judge Rosenn was a man of the law.

“He loved the law and he embraced the law as the source of our liberty and our freedom,” said Attorney Cosgrove of Judge Rosenn.

Judge Rosenn will be missed — in the courtroom and in the community.