Ira J. Furman
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Ira J. Furman is an attorney and counselor at law in New York admitted to practice before two federal district courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Just prior to the private practice of law, Furman was Deputy Director for Public Affairs at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He served as spokesman for the Safety Board in connection with major aviation, rail, highway, marine, and pipeline accident investigations. In addition to his work in Washington, D.C., he responded as part of the agency's "Go-Team" to the site of numerous aviation disasters and also worked at passenger and cargo rail accident sites all across the country.
In September 1985 his efforts at inspiring new federal regulations prohibiting alcohol and drug abuse in railroad operations were recognized with a special government award.
After his return to New York to practice law, Furman engaged in a pro bono (without compensation) effort to bring to light evidence of consistent fraud in safety procedures and record keeping by Eastern Air Lines. His presentation of this evidence to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Justice Department preceded the federal indictments of airline officials and the closing of Eastern.
Additional pro bono efforts in furtherance of public safety include Furman testifying as an expert before the United States Senate Aviation Subcommittee about shortcomings in Federal Aviation Administration management of aviation safety. He also provided free consultation on proposed air safety legislation to the then-ranking member of the Committee.
Since leaving the NTSB, Furman has used his unique background in the investigation of aircraft accidents to assist in news coverage of aviation disasters and to further the interests of those who are the victims, or relatives of victims, of air crashes and other accident-related events. He has been consulted in connection with many national and internationally known events, including the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 bombing, the TWA 800 flight that exploded over Long Island, and disappearance of the Malaysia MH 370 airlines flight. On the morning of September 11, 2001 he went live on CNN as part of its reporting on an apparent aircraft accident at the World Trade Center. His on-air analysis and commentary that the unfolding event was not “an accident” was likely the first such suggestion of terrorism to be broadcast and published worldwide.
After being an associate and later a partner in a New York law firm, Furman created a law practice that principally serves corporate clients and small businesses, especially those in which his first-hand knowledge of government bureaucracy and regulatory issues can be used to the client's advantage. He has represented clients in federal court and internationally in connection with art fraud, forgeries, disputed provenance and title, and has an established relationship with legal counsel in Geneva, Switzerland.
Furman began his federal government service as a Deputy Director at the Federal Trade Commission during the Carter Administration where he earned several achievement awards, including a special award in 1979 by the FTC Chairman for "Contribution to Effective Operations" of the agency.
In his practice of law, Furman has opposed the Federal Trade Commission in federal district court, and advised other clients on FTC regulatory matters, and successfully represented several corporate and individual defendants in adjudicative proceedings before the Commission.
Other federal regulatory work has included representation of clients before the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Department of Transportation, and even the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). To work effectively on a case in South Dakota, he learned casino law and obtained a personal gaming management license from the state. At another client’s request, Furman cleared all regulatory hurdles for the creation of a new scheduled domestic airline and obtained full FAA certification.
Furman is also a licensed private investigator, operating for twenty-five years as Esquire Private Investigations, Inc., a New York State licensed and bonded investigation firm.
Before his government service, Furman was for more than eight years Director of Communications for Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. While there he created and produced a daily consumer news program that he syndicated nationwide. Furman also worked on television programming for Consumers Union and produced a documentary film – narrated by Betty Furness -- aired for the Senate Commerce Committee to accompany his testimony advocating improved federal standards for child-safety seats.
Earlier, his first profession spanned several years of newspaper reporting and editing, including winning a New Jersey Press Association award in 1969. Thereafter he moved to Bergen County, New Jersey, where he received official commendation for his role as a police officer in the shooting of two men attempting the armed robbery of a tavern.
His pro bono efforts have included service to the New York State Bar Association's Mass Disaster Response Team, a small group of lawyers who provide free legal assistance to victims of disasters as well as to the Nassau County Bar Association's Conciliation Committee, a mechanism whereby consumers of legal services sought speedy arbitration of fee disputes with attorneys. He also served as a trustee and a term as president of the Freeport Memorial Library.
Furman serves without compensation as the president and chairman of the board of directors of the Woodward Children’s Center in Freeport, New York. He has twenty years of association with the Woodward Center, a state-certified not-for-profit school recognized for its service to special-needs children. He also devotes time as a director of the Nassau County Police Reserves, an organization that assists state and county police and provides college scholarships to children of police officers, as well as a board member of Nassau County Law Enforcement Exploring.
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