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Irving Dross


Friday, April 22, 2005; Page B06

Irving Dross Lawyer

Irving Dross, 67, a general practice lawyer in Maryland and the District for nearly 40 years, died April 11 of heart-related complications at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He had a heart attack during a deposition in Rockville.

Mr. Dross, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, quit high school at 16 and joined the Navy a year later. From 1955 to 1958, he served as a code breaker in Navy intelligence in Japan.

Irving Dross represented personal injury clients. (Family Photo)

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Afterward, despite being denied earlier, he talked his way into Georgetown University on a trial basis. He graduated in 1962 and attended Georgetown law school in the evenings while he worked full time as a civilian employee of the Navy. He received his law degree in 1966.

Mr. Dross opened a law firm as a sole practitioner in 1969 in Bowie. In 1971, he joined Herbert Levenstein to form Dross & Levenstein. The practice moved to Langley Park and expanded into a general practice firm handling personal injury, criminal defense and domestic-relations cases.

In 1989, his firm merged with a Washington practice. Dross, Levenstein, Perilman & Kopstein has operated offices in Washington, Prince George's County and Charles County for 16 years.

"His true passion was representing injured people," said his son, Justin Dross, a lawyer in the firm. "His second home was in the courtroom, where he conducted over 500 trials during his career."

Mr. Dross had a gift of communication and a talent for problem solving, said his son.

"He had an unbelievable ability to evaluate a legal situation and in a matter of seconds know what he would do to handle it, both outside and inside the courtroom," he said. "And it would almost always be right."

About 70 percent of the cases Mr. Dross handled were personal injury, including minor car accidents, complex medical malpractice and product liability cases. One of his most significant cases was a multimillion-dollar settlement against an automobile manufacturer on behalf of a woman who was paralyzed when the frame of her car collapsed during a relatively minor accident. Another involved a large settlement for the family of a 21-year-old volunteer firefighter in Southern Maryland who was electrocuted as a result of a faulty electrical sign outside a restaurant.

Later in his career, Mr. Dross began handling mostly domestic-relations and workers' compensation cases at his Waldorf office. He also served as a court-appointed mediator in Charles County, was chairman of the Charles County Ethics Commission and was a member of the Charles County Alternative Dispute Resolution Board.

He also was involved with the Charles County Teen Court Program, helping juvenile offenders and other teenagers better understand the court system.

In addition to his son, of Rockville, survivors include his wife of nearly 43 years, Lillian Dross of Laurel; two other children, Stuart Dross of Gaithersburg and Erin Dross Felrice of Rockville; and four grandchildren.

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