'Finest of his time', lawyer and ex-judge Joe Grimberg dies

Mr Joe Grimberg (in red) introducing then PM Goh Chok Tong to the Pakistan cricket team manager in 2005, at the Pakistan vs India match at the Singapore Cricket Club.
Mr Joe Grimberg (in red) introducing then PM Goh Chok Tong to the Pakistan cricket team manager in 2005, at the Pakistan vs India match at the Singapore Cricket Club.PHOTO: COURTESY OF JERRY SEH
Mr Joe Grimberg (in red) introducing then PM Goh Chok Tong to the Pakistan cricket team manager in 2005, at the Pakistan vs India match at the Singapore Cricket Club.
Mr Joe Grimberg introducing then PM Goh Chok Tong to the Pakistan cricket team manager in 2005, at the Pakistan vs India match at the Singapore Cricket Club.PHOTO: COURTESY OF JERRY SEH

Prominent lawyer Joe Grimberg, a mentor to many legal minds, including senior counsel Davinder Singh, died yesterday at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Orchard Road.

He was 84.

A senior counsel and former judicial commissioner, he handled a wide range of general and commercial cases after being called to the Bar in 1957, when he joined law firm Drew and Napier.

He served as judicial commissioner from 1987.

Two years later, he rejoined Drew and Napier as a consultant.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Joseph Grimberg. Joe was a dear friend and colleague to many of us on the Bench."

CJ Menon described Mr Grimberg as "the finest of his time and quite frankly he was peerless".

"I saw him appear as an advocate from time to time and could only watch in awe and admiration.

"He spent a time on the Bench and I recall my appearances before him as some of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had as an advocate. He was kind, courteous and blessed with a fine intellect and loads of patience."

The chief justice added: "As one of the first to be appointed senior counsel in Singapore, he lent his stature to building up the prestige of that accolade."

CJ Menon said when he became a judicial commissioner in 2006 and Chief Justice later, "Joe took the trouble to send me extremely kind and encouraging messages. I have the highest respect, admiration and affection for a great lawyer, who was truly inspiring to so many of us.

"He will be long remembered for his remarkable contributions to the legal history of Singapore.

"My colleagues and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, his loved ones and his colleagues and friends who will all miss him very much."

Mr Singh, Drew and Napier's executive chairman, said: "I am heartbroken. I have lost a dear friend and mentor who taught me everything I know.

"Drew and Napier has lost a family member who was loved and admired by all. In life, as in the law, he won all the prizes for integrity, humanity and humility. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe, his family and loved ones."

Law Society president Gregory Vijayendran said: "Joseph Grimberg was a gentlemanly lawyer; the likes of which the profession has rarely seen. He epitomised the finest ideals of the legal profession."

A passionate sportsman, Mr Grimberg played cricket and rugby at the highest league level for the Singapore Cricket Club. He also served as a former president of the Singapore Cricket Association (SCA).

SCA president Mahmood Gaznavi said his death was a great loss to Singapore cricket.

"It is sad that he has passed on at a time when cricket is on the ascendancy through no small measure because of his care and concern."

The funeral will be held at 4pm on Sunday at the Jewish Cemetery in Choa Chu Kang Road.

•Additional reporting by V.K. Santosh Kumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline ''Finest of his time', lawyer and ex-judge Joe Grimberg dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe