Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson, first a Long Island attorney and esteemed law educator who then served in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) for 15 years, died on Oct. 17 at age 73 after a long battle with cancer.
Before taking the bench in 2006, Tomlinson practiced law at Farrell Fritz, P.C., in Uniondale, where she made partner in 1998 and served as chair of the pro bono committee. Earlier in her career, she worked in the appeals bureau of the Nassau County Legal Aid Society.
“We mourn the loss of our dear friend and cherished colleague,” officials in the U.S. District Court of EDNY said in a statement. “Despite her battles, her warm and generous personality never wavered.”
Tomlinson’s practice focused heavily on labor and employment law, white collar defense, and civil rights litigation. She received several recognitions during her career, including the Suffolk County Bar Foundation/Nassau Suffolk Law Services’ “Outstretched Hands of Justice” Award for her pro bono work at Farrell Fritz.
But Tomlinson did not stop at her work as an attorney or even a judge — she was an educator as well. She was assistant university dean at Long Island University’s faculty of arts and sciences, hosted educational community events, and found other creative ways to engage everyone from middle school students to seasoned professionals about law.
In the EDNY’s chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Tomlinson founded and chaired its Continuing Legal Education Committee. She lectured and led regional conferences on a variety of topics, such as labor relations and workplace issues.
“Judge Tomlinson had an unwavering commitment to promoting civic education and inspiring students across Long Island through her membership in the Federal Bar Association and on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s Civic Education Committee,” EDNY officials said in a statement.
Tomlinson remained active in the Long Island law community as a member of several different organizations and committees. She was a past director of the Nassau County Bar Association and board member of the Long Island Fund for Women and Girls. She was also a member of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association, the Federal Bar Council, the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the Nassau County and Suffolk County Bar Associations.