Our friend, our colleague, and Senior Counsel to Keane & Beane, P.C., Joel H. Sachs passed away on January 24, 2021 at the age of 78. Joel joined Keane & Beane in 1993 where he remained until his passing. He established Keane & Beane, P.C.’s environmental practice and ably served its municipal and land use clients during his long tenure with the firm. He represented private entities and governmental agencies in a wide variety of environmental, real estate, land development and zoning matters. A significant portion of his practice was devoted to representing municipal boards, municipalities and private clients before municipal boards and agencies throughout the State of New York in land use, zoning and environmental disputes. He served as Construction Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. Widely recognized as a leader in Environmental Law, Mr. Sachs received a number of awards, which are listed below. He enjoyed the rare privilege of serving as Chair of two Sections of the New York State Bar Association, the Environmental Law Section and the Real Estate Law Section.
Joel managed the firm’s role as Town Attorney of the Town of Bedford, NY and Village Attorney of the Village of Pleasantville, NY. On behalf of the firm, he also served as Special Land Use and Environmental Counsel to municipalities in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange and Ulster Counties.
After serving as a clerk to the Honorable Charles H. Tenney of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, he began his legal career as an New York State Assistant Attorney General. Joel was an early, and earnest, practitioner in the then emerging field of environmental law. He was appointed First Deputy Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office upon its formation. He continued to influence the development of environmental review and regulatory practices in New York State as a municipal attorney (as Town Attorney of the Towns of Greenburgh and Bedford) and while in private practice.
Joel enjoyed imparting his rich knowledge of environmental, municipal, real property and construction law, as an adjunct professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law of Pace University for over forty years, and as a frequent lecturer at programs sponsored by bar and professional organizations. He served in several leadership capacities with the New York State Bar Association, including as Chair of the Real Property Section and Chair of the Environmental Section. He also served as President of the White Plains Bar Association. Joel’s wisdom and wit endeared him to colleagues and adversaries alike.
It was a great honor and privilege to have known and worked with Joel. He was a very dear friend and dedicated colleague. He is deeply missed.