Milton D. Korman, 78, a retired judge of D.C. Superior Court and former high official in the D.C. Corporation Counsel's office who was active in volunteer, civic, and Masonic organizations, died of renal failure Sept. 27 at the Washington Hospital Center. He lived in Washington.

He spent 30 years in the Corporation Counsel's office, and was acting corporation counsel when he was appointed to the Superior Court bench in 1967. He retired 10 years later, taking senior judge status.

Judge Korman was a native of Washington. He attended the old Central High School and earned two law degrees at Georgetown University. He was admitted to the bar in 1925, and engaged in the private practice of law until joining the Corporation Counsel's office. The he served as chief of both the criminal and civil proceedings divsions, principal assistant corporation counsel, and acting corporation counsel, before going on the bench.

It was during his years with the Corporation Counsel's office that he appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Bolling v. Sharpe, which along with Brown v. Board of Education determined the end of school desegregation. In his role as attorney for the D.C. School Board, he argued in favor of segregation.

He was a leading attorney for the District of Columbia during one of its most difficult periods. Popular demands for civil rights and expanding civil rights legislation collided with conservative laws enacted in another era, administered by appointed commissioners.

It was Judge Korman's job to dispassionately recommend actions relating to housing, job, and school discrimination in these highly charged times, and then take actions the commissioners wanted. When he was proposed for a judgeship in 1966, The Post, in an editorial, said he "richly deserves" it.

Judge Korman had served on the board of directors of the D.C. chapter of the Federal Bar Association and was a member of the bar's national council. He was a member of the American and D.C. bar associations. He was a founder of the National Lawyers Club, and a past president of the Municipal Officers Club of Washington. He was a 1965 recipient of the National Institute of Law Officers Distinguished Public Service Award, and was an honorary D.C. fire chief.

He was a member of the Washington Hebrew Congregation and had served on its board of directors and as president of its brotherhood. He also had served on the boards of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and the Jewish Historical Society.

Judge Korman had been a member of the executive board and past general counsel of the National Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts, and was a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award. He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and in 1969 was the grand master of Masons of the District of Columbia.

His first wife, the former Bernice Rosenweig, died in 1970. Survivors include his wife, the former Mildred B. Tulman, of Washington; three children by his first marriage, James W. and Edward N., both of Arlington, and Sharon Weiss of Great Falls, Va., and one grandchild.