Calvin Steinmetz, an attorney who practiced law for more than 30 years in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and most recently in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., died Dec. 5 at his home in Wilton Manors, Fla., following a year-and-a-half battle with brain cancer, according to Brian Boyle, his partner of 30 years. He was 62.
Friends and associates said Steinmetz’s law practice took on a wide range of cases over the years, including criminal defense work, civil litigation and “nuts and bolts” legal work such as preparing wills and trusts, powers of attorney and estate planning and administration.
They noted his friendly demeanor and close attention to details and the needs of his clients made him especially popular with those who retained his services for years, with many becoming friends.
“Cal was one of the good guys,” said D.C. gay activist Robert York. “He had a way of making any stranger feel like a longtime friend. He was a friend, mentor and a leader on the field of softball and even more so in the field of life.”
York was referring to Steinmetz’s lifelong passion for softball as well as basketball and bowling, which his former law partner in Washington, Steve Weinberg, said manifested itself in Steinmetz’s dedicated support for gay sports leagues in D.C. and later in Fort Lauderdale.
For many years Steinmetz, a native New Yorker, sponsored and played for a gay softball team in D.C. that he named Calmets, Weinberg said, after his beloved New York Mets baseball team. The team is part of the Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League, known as CAPS, an LGBT sports league for which Steinmetz served as commissioner, Weinberg said.
Steinmetz was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Rochester in New York in 1974 and a law degree from George Washington University School of Law in 1977.
Although he planned to start his law practice in the D.C. metropolitan area, Weinberg said Steinmetz applied for and became qualified to practice law in Florida after taking his first job with a D.C. law firm that specialized in abortion rights cases in several states, including Florida.
Steinmetz also became licensed to practice in D.C., Virginia and Maryland and eventually was admitted to take cases before federal district and appeals courts in those three jurisdictions as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court.
For most of his years practicing in D.C., Steinmetz and various law partners, including Weinberg, worked out of offices at 2141 P St., N.W., just off of Dupont Circle, in the heart of the city’s most visible gay neighborhood.
Shortly after moving his law practice to Fort Lauderdale in 2009, Steinmetz opened an office on Wilton Drive in the heart of Wilton Manors, a small city that boasts of having the Ft. Lauderdale area’s highest concentration of LGBT residents.
“Cal was a great friend, a great athlete and a great lawyer,” said Lori Bott and Geri English in a Facebook message.
In addition to Boyle, Steinmetz is survived by his sister, Barbara Parker, his nephew Jody Parker and Parker’s wife Jordana, and his niece Mara Smith and her husband Mike.
“Donations in his memory should be made to your local No Kill Animal Shelter or Rescue League,” Boyle said.
A celebration of life gathering in Steinmetz’s honor was scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Fort Lauderdale LGBT community center known as Pride Center-Equality Park in Wilton Manors, Fla.
Weinberg said a celebration of life gathering in D.C. is expected to be held Jan. 17 at a time and location to be announced soon.