Monday, August 04, 2008


Today Steve Chaykin will be laid to rest. I didn't know him well as a person. However his reputation as an attorney was well known to all: a lawyer's lawyer; a man dedicated to his clients and to raising the standards of his profession. 

In reading the articles and tributes about Mr. Chaykin, I have learned that beyond his enormous talents as a lawyer, Mr. Chaykin was a dedicated and loving husband and a very proud Father.  Mr. Cahykin leaves behind a young daughter and Sam Rabin is accepting checks for  a college fund on her behalf. 

Here is what I have been thinking about, for what its worth:

Steve Chaykin died while saving his wife. Can anything more be said about what kind of man he surely was?

Steve Chaykin died while on vacation, hiking. Can anything more be said about the fragility of life?

Steve Chaykin died way too early and leaves behind a grieving wife and young daughter. Can anything more be said about the preciousness  of family?

Steve Chaykin will be laid to rest today. 

Kiss your husband or wife or significant other; hug your children; tell the people most important to you that you love them; take care of yourself and enjoy your life to the fullest. 

Rest in peace Steve Chaykin. 


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the post on Steve. I attended the funeral today and all I can say is, WOW.

I only knew of Steve and his reputation for being one of the finest lawyers in our community if not the country.

Here is what I found out from the speakers:

Steve was an excellent lawyer, he was hard-working and was respected for being as prepared as one can be in representing their client, whether that be the United States of America, when he worked as an AUSA, or for a private client. He loved the courtroom and it was his stage.

But Steve's life was so much more than his job - and it was that story that permeated the speeches today.

Steve loved a great meal and was extremely passionate about his fine wines. He always was the best dressed one in the room. Bruce Udolf told a funny story about when Steve was an AUSA and Judge Nesbitt called him up sidebar and chastised him: Steve, AUSA's don't get to wear French cuffs to court; wait until you're a defense attorney".

He loved to camp and hike in the mountains and bike across to some far off location. He spent quality time with his brother and sister and never ever said goodbye without saying "I love you" to them.

Steve became a father later in life; Sydney, his daughter is 10 years old. And in the past 10-15 years, what became the most important two people in Steve's life, by far, were his wife Melissa and his daughter. He did everything with Sydney and could never stop speaking about her when he was with you. His office, once covered with plaques and tributes, was instead full of photos and mementos from Melissa & Sydney.

While there were many tears shed today and everyone is still overwhelmed and shocked about how Steve died and how young he was when he died, the final message that everyone was left with was that Steve lived a very full life and he did it in half the time we usually get.

So, with that said, live your life to its fullest, each and every day, and kiss and hug the ones you love and tell them how you feel. And, most of all be a mensch.

Rick Freedman

Anonymous said...

I first met Steve when I was working as a lowly prosecutor in branch court. He was nothing less than professional, well-mannered and very good at this job. He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

from the SFLawyers BLOG:

What a moving and deeply affecting service today at Temple Beth Sholom in loving memory of Steve Chaykin. Several hundred legal glitterati were in attendance to mourn, grieve, and celebrate the larger than life personality that was Steve. I saw judges, lawyers, lawmakers, and other leaders of our community, all in solidarity at the untimely passing of a great lawyer, father, brother, son, husband, and community leader.

Steve's younger brother Robert shared tearful remembrances of growing up in North Miami Beach, and running away at age 9 to the nearby Royal Castle and 163rd Street Mall, playing in a local band, and even getting into a sibling squabble or two.

Steve's younger sister Robin perhaps is a secret Dylan ranter, as she quoted the lyrics from "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go":

But I'll see you in the sky above,
In the tall grass, in the ones I love,
Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

UM President Donna Shalala ended her eloquent tribute to a huge UM booster with an invitation to Steve's ten-year old daughter Sydney -- the door is always open for you at the University of Miami.

Sam Rabin -- still shocked as are we all -- told old stories, funny stories, and gave us a picture of a man that he described as a total "mensch."

David Mandel choked back tears as he quietly remembered a dear friend and mentor.

Dan Gelber was funny, quick, and to the point as usual, and ended with some beautiful words to Steve's daughter about a man that he said "took him under his wing and never left."

Bruce Udolf shared several remarkable stories of "Diamond Steve" Chaykin and the heyday of the US Attorney's Office in the 80s and early 90s. He even said that Steve and Bruce were perhaps planning to assist in restoring public trust in the US Attorney's office, and of course everyone in Steve's orbit shared his passion for politics and for a change in the direction of the country.

Steve lived large, packed more into those 57 years than many of us could do in several lifetimes. He will be missed.

One takeaway is to be more professional -- grant a colleague an extension, tone down the smirking, mocking rhetoric, grant the other side a point or two and try to debate matters on the merits if possible. Respect the other side even if the feeling is not mutual. Spend more time, better time, quality time with your family, your friends, and give back some to the community. Make every second count.


Anonymous said...

Very sad funeral for a really nice man + fine lawyer.

Anonymous said...

I did not know Chaykin. Based on what happened here though, I wish I did. Many of us say we'd give up our lives for our loved ones, but how many of us actually would? You really can't know until you're faced with a real test. Chaykin passed (though the consequences were horrific).

His heroic efforts are an inspiration. My condolences to his family, friends and the Miami-Dade community. People like him are impossible to replace.


Anonymous said...

I am Steven's cousin and I would like to thank those who let us his family know what kind of person he was in his career. While there was much we knew about his accomplishments to hear how admired he was by his peers was really comforting. The Chaykins are a big clan and as children our parents called it the family Circle. They had monthly meeting mostly for the Chaykin to see who could argue the best or make you see things their way. So we learned early on how to communicate effectively. Steve was a genuinely kind and sensitive person who honestly cared about people . He loved and was loved. When my father passed away suddenly at 56 I was 17 and was so angry and he sat me down and told me I was fortunate to have so much love and support from family and friends and how blessed my father was to be loved by his family and admired by his peers.He said my father lived his life to the fullest and was good to the core. I had realized my father worked so hard I didn't know all that his peers knew about him . I was his unfinished business. Steve said that was a lesson we must learn from and not repeat with our children. Being 17 and 21 we laughed thinking 'when that day ever happens'.Thru out the years when we would talk we both knew we had accomplished that with our children. When our talk ended he said to me you know when you meet God he asks one thing 'Did you use all the talents I gave you' make sure you can say resounding YOU BET! Thanks to everyones beautiful comments I know he did.
Thank you
Sandi Chaykin teller

Anonymous said...

It was so sad to listen to people speak at this funeral about someone as vibrant and energetic as Steve had been - and how he tragically lost his life.

It was a day that diminished the quality of legal practice in our small community of criminal practitioners.

We will all miss Steve.

I truly hope that his daughter's memories will blot out last weeks tragic events, and only remember a great Dad.

Rumpole said...

Thank you for writing Ms. Teller. May the good lord bless you and your family in this difficult time. I hope the wonderful memories of Steve somewhat lessen the pain from the difficult tragedy.

Anonymous said...

SFLs' posting of the passing of Steve Chaykin was emotional as was the service for him.

"I truly hope that his daughter's memories will blot out last weeks tragic events, and only remember a great Dad."

Yes let us all hope for that.

Attorney Rejected By The Princess,
proud member since 2008