James Newton Fiero, dean of the Albany Law School, was born May 23, 1847, in Saugerties-on-the Hudson, Ulster county. He is the son of the late Christopher Fiero, who in 1853 organized the 30th N. Y. Militia, which was known during the Rebellion as the 18th N. Y. Vols., and under Col. George W. Pratt achieved a most honorable career at the front. Christopher Fiero was colonel of this regiment from its organization until his retirement in 1858. J. Newton Fiero's paternal grandfather was Dr. Abraham Fiero, a noted physician. His paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Gillespy, was of Scotch descent. His maternal grandparents were of Holland stock, descendants of the Van Schaicks and Van Slykes. The name Fiero is probably of Spanish origin, from settlers in Holland at the time of the Spanish conquest. The first record of the name in Ulster county is attached to an old document during the early days of the Revolution, protesting against the arbitrary action of the British toward our people for the maintenance of their rights as American citizens. J. Newton Fiero after attending the district school, entered the Delaware Academy at Delhi, then under Prof. John L. Sawyer. He subsequently became a student in the Cherry Valley Academy and for a brief period was a member of Rutgers College, but in January, 1865, entered the sophmore class of Union College at Schenectady, from which he graduated with honors in 1867. Mr. Fiero studied law with Hon. William Murray, of Delhi, a distinguished justice of the Supreme Court. In May, 1879, he was admitted to the bar at the General Term of the Supreme Court at Binghamton. After remaining in the office of his preceptor a few months he returned to his native village and began a successful legal practice. In January, 1872, he went to Kingston and formed a partnership with Reuben Bund, remaining at Kingston until 1891, when he removed to Albany and entered into partnership with Gen. Amasa J. Parker taking the place of the late Judge Amasa J. Parker in the firm. In 1887 Mr. Fiero published his first law book, treating of "Special Proceedings in the State of New York" and followed it in 1888 by "Special Actions." These books are now standard works upon the subjects treated, a new edition of the latter having been published early in 1897. He was chairman of a committee to draft an act to facilitate the business of the courts of this State. At a recent meeting of the American Bar Association he was appointed chairman of a committee to investigate into the expediency of a scheme for uniformity in legal reporting and to recommend a remedy for existing difficulties. He is now chairman of a special committee of that association on Uniformity of Procedure. Mr. Fiero has won a wide and enviable reputation in his persistent efforts in the law reforms in our courts of justice. In January, 1891, he was retained by Messrs. Knevals, Cox and Basselin, forest commissioners, as leading counsel in the investigation ordered by the Assembly as to the management of the forests, which resulted in the complete exoneration of the commissioners; he was also counsel for the commission in matters relating to the Catskills. Mr. Fiero has been a member of the faculty of the Albany Law School for several years, lecturing upon practice and pleading, and in 1895 was elected dean of the institution. In 1892 he was elected president of the New York State Bar Association and was re-elected in 1893. He was chairman of the committee on law reform, succeeding David Dudley Field. In politics he has always been a pronounced Republican. He began stump speaking in the Grant-Seymour canvass in 1868 and has been in every important campaign since. He was for many years a leading member of the Ulster County Republican Committee, and for a considerable period its chairman. He is a member of the Fort Orange Club and the University Club of New York city. In 1870 he married Miss Jennie Sands McCall of Delhi, and they have three children: Maude Goodrich, Cliflford B., and Harriette A.
Go Back to Albany County Biographies
Go Back to Home Page