‘Brilliant lawyer’ specialized in white collar crimes

Jacob Heller rejected Harvard for Yeshiva University


Specializing in white collar crimes, Jacob Heller became a highly regarded litigator.

The 52-year Woodmere resident, died on April 10. He was 78.

Heller was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Midwood High School. He turned down a full scholarship to Harvard College to attend Yeshiva University, where he was president of the student body and president of the debating society. Heller graduated magna cum laude in 1956, the same year he and his wife Esther were married on June 12.

Three years later, Heller earned his law degree from Yale University. While at Yale, he served as a member of the board of editors of the school’s Law Journal.

He began his law career as a clerk to the Honorable Charles W. Froessel of the New York State Court of Appeals and later became associated with the law firm of Reavis & McGrath. From 1968 through 1979, he was a senior partner at the firm, Weiss, Rosenthal, Heller & Schwartzman. Until his death, he was senior partner at Heller, Horowitz & Feit, P.C. in Manhattan.

Considered a skilled attorney, Heller was a Manhattan-based litigator, who practiced for more than 53 years. “He was a brilliant lawyer,” said his son, Alan.

In addition to his professional life, Heller volunteered his time and expertise to a few institutions. He was on the board of trustees at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University and was a past president of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway in Lawrence, as well as trusted advisor and counsel to the Boys Town of Jerusalem in Manhattan. “He was very dedicated to his community and to the institutions he was involved in,” Alan said.

Aside from his community involvements, Heller was an avid gardener and photographer. “He also enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren,” Alan said. “He was a loving husband, father and grandfather.”

He is survived by his wife, Esther, children Maurice, Ira and Alan, and 14 grandchildren.

Services were held on April 11 at Boulevard-Riverside Chapels in Hewlett and Heller was interred at Beth Moses Cemetery in West Babylon.