Stephen Claman, a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP and a dean of the Los Angeles real estate bar, died on Thursday, August 23, 2012.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Steve attended UCLA, from which he graduated with highest honors. After serving in the United States Army, he returned to UCLA for law school, graduating first in its class of 1959. Upon graduation, he joined the law firm of Hill, Greenberg & Glusker, which was established earlier that year by Irving Hill, Arthur Greenberg and Phillip Glusker. Steve was instrumental in building the firm into a powerhouse that has served the Southern California real estate and business communities for more than half a century. Hill left to join the bench in 1961, ultimately becoming the chief judge of the local federal court. In 1982, the firm's name was changed to include the names of Steve, entertainment attorney Bert Fields and tax attorney Sidney Machtinger. The firm has grown to over 80 lawyers with a wide variety of specialties, but the real estate practice, with Steve as its guiding force, has remained a strong anchor.
Steve’s represented prominent real estate developers and property owners in California and throughout the United States. His clients included Sunrise Company, Transpacific Development Company, The Miller Automotive Properties and The Kissel Company. Steve guided his clients through the full spectrum of real estate transactions, ranging from the purchase of their home, to the development of the Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, to the sale of 518 acres of land by the Monrovia Nursery Company and the sale of the historic KCET studio site, to the lease of hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial and industrial space in the greater Los Angeles area. He was selected as 2005 Real Estate Lawyer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Estate Section, and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since 1987.
Steve groomed generations of real estate attorneys, many who were honored to become his partner and others who honored him by becoming loyal clients throughout the decades of his practice. He also mentored countless attorneys in other fields, giving them the intangible abilities to be effective counselors to their clients and contributors to the overall health of the legal profession.
Steve also was active in the management of the law firm, serving on its Management Committee for several decades. His colleagues characterized him as a voice of calm and reason in the management of the law firm. Steve's solutions always involved what was good for the law firm, never what was in his self-interest.
Steve is survived by his children Susan Claman (Richard Gruber), Caren Claman, Cheryl Brennan and Douglas Claman (Jennifer), and his grandchildren, Jeremy Gruber, Molly Gruber, Madeline Hatlen, Kyle Hatlen, Eric Hatlen, William Brennan, Noah Brennan, Talia Brennan, Alexandra Claman and Andrea Claman.
Contributions in Steve’s memory may be made to UCLA School of Law, 385 Charles E. Young Dr., 1242 Law Building, Los Angeles, CA 90095 or to Operation Mend, UCLA Medical Sciences Development, 10945 Le Conte Ave., Suite 3132, Los Angeles, CA 90095.