Bernard Glasser was born on January 28, 1910 in the Berkley section of Norfolk just across the Elizabeth River from this office building. He attended the public schools in Berkley and Maury High School in Norfolk. He was one of ten children, the fifth child. The children worked from a very young age to help their father, Moses Glasser, run a department store and pawn brokerage in Berkley.
In 1927, Bernard started his studies at the University of Virginia, where he was a philosophy major. He loved words and kept a hand-written book of his favorite words, their spelling, meaning, etc. After two years at UVA, he matriculated into the UVA Law School and graduated there in 1932 while becoming the Business Manager of the prestigious University of Virginia Law Review. He was licensed to practice law at the age of 22. After initially working at a large downtown Norfolk law firm for six months, he decided that practice was not for him and he hung his own “shingle” in the Berkley section in the same building as a local savings & loan association called Atlantic Permanent Savings & Loan Association. There, he was able to assist the bank with its legal needs whenever they called upon him and, coincidentally, later on, met and got to know Bill Monroe’s grandfather, W. T. Monroe, who was a director of that bank.
This is the beginning of this law firm’s representation of creditors. It was over 80 years ago.
Bernard always had a small firm. He wanted to know everything that was going on in his law firm and how the clients were treated. Two lawyers who worked with him later became Judges in Chesapeake. He was good teacher who emphasized being on time, a clean desk, and efficient, honest and reasonably priced delivery of legal services.
Richard S. Glasser, following the example set by his father, Bernard Glasser, practiced at and built his family’s law firm, Glasser and Glasser, P.L.C., for all fifty-four years of his legal career. For the last forty-three years, Richard, aided by an experienced team of hard working attorneys and paralegals, gained national recognition for the Firm as a pioneer and leader in the Asbestos Litigation, representing victims who suffered permanent and often fatal diseases as a result of asbestos exposure. Led by Richard, they successfully obtained substantial verdicts and settlements in State and Federal courts in Virginia and around the country. More recently, the Firm, encouraged by Richard, broadened its practice to include litigation involving faulty medical devices, serious injury and death cases caused by motor vehicles especially tractor-trailer trucks. Richard took a special interest in broadening our federal court practice to include serving as local counsel in plaintiffs’ pharmaceutical anti-trust cases. These cases involve both direct and indirect purchases of prescription medications. As the Firm’s Managing Partner, Richard constantly kept abreast and advised the Creditors’ Rights, Bankruptcy and Foreclosure departments in their effective representation of major banks, credit card companies and other businesses.
Richard achieved the highest rating from Martindale Hubbell every year since 1984, was selected for listing in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 1987, and was recognized by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association with a special award for “Courageous Advocacy.”
Richard had a great sense of humor and his delivery could make anyone laugh. He was known for his upbeat personality, charisma and zest for life – people were drawn to him. He was unfailingly polite, kind, generous, and devoted to his family.
His sense of community was reflected in his many generous contributions to charitable, cultural and civic causes. Richard was a member of the Greater Norfolk Council and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. He served on the board of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation, was a member of the Leadership Alliance of Chrysler Museum, and was a longtime member of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society. He was a leader in every sense of the word, and his ethics never wavered. Richard taught: “Do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.”
Melvin R. Zimm was a grateful, loyal and talented partner in the law firm of Glasser and Glasser, P.C. and practiced there since 1982. He considered the firm his second family, especially Michael and Richard Glasser and his secretary of almost 20 years, Elaine Philbrick. Mel was a past vice chairperson for the Anti-Defamation League and was a past member of the United Jewish Federation’s Holocaust Commission. He was a valued member of the United Federation’s Jewish Festival Film Committee. He possessed a vast knowledge of film of all genres, and particularly appreciated early American sound film. He considered it a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors of Old Point National Bank and to be a chairman of their Norfolk Regional Board, all the while possessing a sincere affection for the people who served with him and the bank’s employees.
He dedicated a large part of his life to the study of the Holocaust and promoting lessons of tolerance to all people. He taught these values to his children. He understood the true nature of charity towards others, all the while eschewing self-aggrandizement or recognition. Mel had a rare, keen intellect and could easily be characterized as a true renaissance man. He was a man of intense passions and possessed a personality that was larger than life. Constantly learning, always mastering different disciplines and interests, Mel derived tremendous pleasure sharing what he had learned or acquired with others. He received his Bachelor of Arts with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1975 with a major in history; in 1978 he received a Juris Doctor from the William & Mary Law School and was a member of the law school’s Dean’s Council.