Obituary of David Bryan

February 21, 2019

David C. Bryan, Esq.

August 26, 1967 - February 21, 2019

David Bryan of New York City and Madrid, Spain passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Manhattan home on February 20, 2019. He leaves behind his beloved mother, Edith Bryan of Lacey, WA, and his brother, Ken Bryan of Seattle, WA, as well as scores of loving friends and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard G. Bryan.

David was born in Cincinnati and grew up there and in New Jersey. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College and then from Columbia Law School. David began his legal career as an Associate at Christy & Viener before joining Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He had a distinguished career as a bankruptcy litigator and was elected Partner at Wachtell, Lipton in January 2000.

Among many other professional highlights, David helped lead the Wachtell trial team that defeated an attempt to impose $500 million in liability on Campbell Soup arising from a spin-off. He then co-authored an important Business Lawyer article on corporate valuation disputes based on the Campbell case. Later, representing the bank lenders in the Spectrum Brands bankruptcy case, David's extraordinary efforts as lead litigator led to a very successful outcome for his clients after trial. David's courtroom skills routinely drew praise from colleagues and adversaries alike.

David also served as a trusted mentor and inspiration to a generation of younger lawyers. He retired from Wachtell, Lipton in December 2012.

David had a lifelong love of horses and riding. He excelled in riding lessons as a child and as a teenager competed successfully on the New Jersey show jumping circuit. After his retirement, David traveled the world on active adventure vacations, making many new friends along the way. He searched out exotic horseback adventures in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Patagonia, Mongolia, Kenya, and Botswana.

David also devoted himself to philanthropic organizations, most notably the LGBT Community Center in New York City, where he served on the Board of Directors. He enjoyed hosting wonderful parties, many of which were fundraisers for charities he supported. He also donated his legal services to help those in need, particularly in the area of immigration law.

Details of a memorial will be announced later. Memorial donations may be made on line at

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