In Memoriam: Howard Fineman, '80

In Memoriam: Howard Fineman, '80

The Brandeis School of Law has lost one of its brightest luminaries. Howard Fineman, ’80, died June 11 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Known nationally for his work as a journalist, Fineman earned his law degree while working for the Louisville Times newspaper. He straddled the worlds of journalism and the law, covering state and national politics, world affairs and the courts in a career that spanned more than 40 years.

He said he went to law school because he wanted to learn the “analytical skills needed to be an attorney but I never intended to practice law. To be a successful journalist (at that time), you came after journalism school to write at a southern family-owned newspaper to learn about the country; then you went on to be a national reporter in Washington.”

Fineman bridged the field of journalism from print to digital. He left the Times in 1980 for Newsweek, serving for a total of 30 years as chief political correspondent, deputy Washington bureau chief and then senior editor during the era when the magazine was one of the most widely read newsweeklies in the United States. He then went on to stints with NBC News, MSNBC and Huffington Post. Additionally, he was a regular panelist on Washington Week in Review on PBS from 1983 to 1995, and on CNN’s The Capital Gang Sunday from 1995 to 1998.

In 2011, Fineman was honored by the law school with its Alumni Fellows Award, presented annually to a graduate of the school in recognition for exemplary service and professionalism. In 2013, he was the law school’s Convocation speaker and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Louisville at Commencement.

He is survived by his wife, Amy Nathan, and daughter Meredith, son Nick and daughter-in-law Summer.