Allen J. Beckman, 70, lawyer

Allen J. Beckman
Allen J. Beckman
Posted: January 30, 2014

Allen J. Beckman, 70, of Philadelphia, a personal injury lawyer and adviser to Pennsylvania politicians for many years, died Wednesday, Jan. 22, of heart failure at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse.

Mr. Beckman was campaign manager, finance chairman, Election Day coordinator, and adviser to candidates for federal, state, and local office.

Those included former Mayor William J. Green III, former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell, City Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, and the late U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III.

An expert in maritime and medical malpractice law, Mr. Beckman worked for 35 years from Center City. He was affiliated with Freedman, Borowsky & Lorry and Richter, Syken, Ross, Binder & O'Neil before creating Shuster & Beckman in 1972. In 1984, the law firm became Allen J. Beckman & Associates.

He tried cases and handled appellate arguments in all 50 states and the federal courts.

At the time of his death, he was affiliated with Joseph Chaiken & Associates as an adviser to various legal, corporate and nonprofit clients.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Beckman waged a public fight against what he felt was rampant and harmful condominium conversion in Philadelphia.

"He felt badly for the elderly people who would be forced out of their homes because they couldn't afford the cost of conversion and the condo fees," said his wife, the former Cynthia Zelinsky. "He was pleased with the results in Philadelphia."

From 1975 to 1981, while also practicing law, he was vice president and treasurer of Integrated Systems International Inc., an importer of food rethermalization equipment from France for use in institutional food service operations.

From 1982 through 1993, he was executive director of the Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission. He continued to practice law at that time.

As a volunteer, Mr. Beckman was a member and leader of various bar associations and organizations.

He wrote widely, gave seminars, and appeared on local and national TV, covering the law, business, real estate, politics, art and community activism.

A lifetime Philadelphia resident, Mr. Beckman earned a bachelor's degree from Temple University and a law degree from Villanova University Law School. He took leadership courses at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

While at Temple, he became an active member of the Phi Sigma Delta fraternity. The friendships he made there, he maintained throughout his life.

Mr. Beckman was raised in the Jewish tradition at Har Zion Temple. In recent years, he was a member of Temple Sholom in Broomall.

He traveled the world, collecting art as he went. As a young man, he played the violin and the trombone in symphonies and bands in the Philadelphia area.

Later, he supported the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, National Constitution Center, and National Museum of American Jewish History.

"He loved great food, golf, to give advice - not follow it - and a good cigar, not necessarily in that order," said his wife.

Besides his wife of 33 years, he is survived by his sister, and many nieces and nephews.

Services were held Monday, Jan. 27.


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