VICTOR David Zermansky, a former president of Leeds Law Society, has died aged 81.
He was born in Leeds and attended Leeds Grammar school and Leeds University where he was the president of the Jewish Students Association. Having been articled to Alderman Josh Walsh (a former Lord Mayor of Leeds), he passed the Law Society finals with distinction having been awarded the John Mackerell prize for the best and most practical answers to the papers.
After National service where he was a sergeant in the RASC Legal Service, he opened his own practice in 1955. He quickly established a reputation as a brilliant practitioner in many fields of the law. He was recognised as an astute commercial lawyer as well as being particularly sympathetic which enabled him to build up a large matrimonial practice. He was an incisive and well prepared advocate and for a time served as a Deputy Circuit Judge.
He served as president of Leeds Law Society in 1987/88 and later was awarded a lifetime achievement award for services to the legal profession in the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards. He had completed 60 years in practice shortly before his death.
He was recognised by the profession and public alike as one who resolved misunderstandings. One solicitor when asked to describe him said: “He is the one who helps other solicitors.”
He was a lifetime supporter of the Labour Party and considered that the legal aid scheme was an essential part of legal practice with the result that his firm Zermansky and Partners was and remains amongst the foremost legal aid practitioners in the city.
He was extremely active in the Jewish community. He was a member of the committee that founded and ran the Kosher School Meals Service for a number of years. He was for a term, chairman of the Leeds Kashrus Committee (overseeing providers of Kosher food). Subsequently he served as president of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council where he created the post of student liaison officer – the forerunner of student chaplaincy and was granted a lifetime achievement award by the Jewish community.
He was known to all and sundry as ‘Victor’. Many recognised his car the registration plate of which read ‘VD2’ but was read by many as being ‘VDZ’. This lead to a series of disputes with the relevant authorities which, as an astute lawyer, he seemed to enjoy.
He is survived by his wife Anita and daughters Susan and Karin and seven grandchildren.