It is with deep sadness that the Law Firm of Rynn & Janowsky, LLP announces the loss of our friend and one of the firm's founding partners, Lewis P. Janowsky. Lew died on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at his home in Santa Ana, California, surrounded by his family and close friends, of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 64 years old.
Lew was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from high school, Lew moved from the cold climate of New Jersey to the colder climate of Upstate New York, where he attended and graduated from SUNY at Buffalo with a B.A. in English. He then moved to an even colder location to attend Chicago-Kent Law School, graduating in 1977.
After law school, Lew spent three years prosecuting criminal cases in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Illinois. Eventually, Lew decided he'd had enough of the cold weather, and packed up all of his worldly possessions into a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda and U-Haul trailer, and relocated to Southern California.
Settling in Los Angeles, Lew passed the California Bar in the summer of 1980, and shortly thereafter took a job as a staff attorney in Orange County for Western Growers Association, where he represented growers and shippers of fresh produce in labor and employment related matters. Lew embraced his role as an advocate for California growers during the tumultuous early years of UFW organizational activity.
After several years with Western Growers, Lew decided the time was right to "hang out his own shingle" and so in 1986 Lew established his own law firm with Patricia J. Rynn and thus the law firm of Rynn & Janowsky, LLP was born. For nearly 30 years, Lew has been a tireless advocate for our clients with a brilliant legal mind, and an ever-present dry sense of humor. He could always be counted on to keep the attorneys and staff at the firm on their toes. His many skills proved invaluable to the success of Rynn & Janowsky, LLP, particularly in the area of enforcing the rights of produce suppliers under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. As one of the two founding partners of Rynn & Janowsky, LLP, Lew was directly involved in many of the early federal court decisions which established and expanded shippers' PACA trust rights which have become so vital to the produce industry.
Lew also maintained and cultivated his expertise in labor and employment law, providing advice and guidance to employers across a wide range of industries. Lew conducted numerous seminars on employment-related issues and successfully litigated a multitude of employment disputes, from sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuits to wage and hour class actions. He represented employers and produce companies in labor and commercial litigation disputes, in both federal and state courts throughout the United States, arguing before the California Supreme Court on several occasions, as well as the California Courts of Appeal, and the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.
Aside from his legal career, Lew enjoyed traveling, spending time with family and loved ones, and critiquing the latest movie releases. Always wanting to give back to his community, Lew served as President of the Orange County Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, Chair of the Orange County Labor Law Section of the Bar, member of the board of the Newport-Mesa Interfaith Council, and a member of the Lawyers Council for the Direct Selling Association in Washington, D.C.
We will never forget Lew, our loyal friend and mentor. His genuine love of the law, his work ethic and his notable advocacy skills set a high standard within the firm and he will be sorely missed. Donations may be made in Lew's memory to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.
Services will be held on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at 11:00 a.m., at the University Synagogue, located at 3400 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA 92612.