Russell Munsch.
Russell Munsch. (Courtesy photo)

Russell Munsch, who founded Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Dallas 31 years ago and represented a wealthy Texas oilman in one of the largest personal bankruptcies in history, died in a plane crash while on a golfing vacation in Australia.

Munsch, 61, was one of five people who died in the crash when a chartered twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air crashed into a storage area Tuesday at the rear of the Direct Factory Outlet mall in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne in the Australian state of Victoria, according to a report from The Associated Press.

CNN identified a second victim as Texan Greg Reynolds De Haven, 70, a retired FBI agent.

The Herald Sun reported a third victim from Texas was “successful entrepreneur and investor Glenn Garland,” an Austin native who was the CEO of energy consulting company CLEAResult. A fourth passenger was also from the U.S. and the pilot was identified as Max Quartermain, owner of the charter company Corporate and Leisure Travel.

Munsch started the firm known as Munsch Hardt in 1985 with five other former attorneys from Winstead Sechrest and grew it into the 120-attorney firm it is today. Munsch said in 2015 interview with Texas Lawyer that he and the others weren’t unhappy at Winstead but were energized by the entrepreneurial spirit in Dallas at that time.

“These were my closest friends,” Munsch said. “There are very few times in life you can work with people you like and trust.”

After the savings and loan crisis hit in 1986, the firm’s bankruptcy practice got very busy, and it grew even more because of Munsch’s work on the high-profile bankruptcy case of Nelson Bunker Hunt, a Dallas oilman whose Chapter 11 proceeding involved over $2 billion in disputed creditor claims and is considered the largest personal bankruptcy in history.

Lawyers at the firm were informed of Munsch’s death today, said Steven Harr, a shareholder who serves as Munsch Hardt’s general counsel.

“He’s a very, very special lawyer and really handled some of the most important cases our firm as had. And certainly we’re all better lawyers having worked with him,” said Harr, who worked with Munsch since he was a young Winstead law clerk in 1979.

“He was just really one of the finest lawyers I ever known,” Harr said. “He was a lawyer’s lawyer and every one of us in the firm has a better career because of it.”

Funeral arrangements for Munsch are pending, Harr said.

Phil Appenzeller, chief executive officer of Munsch Hardt, said Munsch was serving as a senior equity and was nearing retirement at the firm where he was loved.

“We are saddened by his death on a number of fronts.  First, he was a trusted resource.  He and our other founders had done a great job of transitioning leadership opportunities to others, however he was a great source of wisdom and I called on him often,” Appenzeller said.

“Second, we were excited about the new stage of life he was moving into.  While he still served in some administrative capacities at the firm, he had passed the client relationships on to others and was no longer actively practicing, which freed him up to do what he loved, traveling with his wife and golfing,” he said. “We wish he could have had many more years of enjoyment.  This was devastating event, to say the least.”

 

Russell Munsch, who founded Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Dallas 31 years ago and represented a wealthy Texas oilman in one of the largest personal bankruptcies in history, died in a plane crash while on a golfing vacation in Australia.

Munsch, 61, was one of five people who died in the crash when a chartered twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air crashed into a storage area Tuesday at the rear of the Direct Factory Outlet mall in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne in the Australian state of Victoria, according to a report from The Associated Press .

CNN identified a second victim as Texan Greg Reynolds De Haven, 70, a retired FBI agent.

The Herald Sun reported a third victim from Texas was “successful entrepreneur and investor Glenn Garland,” an Austin native who was the CEO of energy consulting company CLEAResult. A fourth passenger was also from the U.S. and the pilot was identified as Max Quartermain, owner of the charter company Corporate and Leisure Travel.

Munsch started the firm known as Munsch Hardt in 1985 with five other former attorneys from Winstead Sechrest and grew it into the 120-attorney firm it is today. Munsch said in 2015 interview with Texas Lawyer that he and the others weren’t unhappy at Winstead but were energized by the entrepreneurial spirit in Dallas at that time.

“These were my closest friends,” Munsch said. “There are very few times in life you can work with people you like and trust.”

After the savings and loan crisis hit in 1986, the firm’s bankruptcy practice got very busy, and it grew even more because of Munsch’s work on the high-profile bankruptcy case of Nelson Bunker Hunt, a Dallas oilman whose Chapter 11 proceeding involved over $2 billion in disputed creditor claims and is considered the largest personal bankruptcy in history.

Lawyers at the firm were informed of Munsch’s death today, said Steven Harr, a shareholder who serves as Munsch Hardt ‘s general counsel.

“He’s a very, very special lawyer and really handled some of the most important cases our firm as had. And certainly we’re all better lawyers having worked with him,” said Harr, who worked with Munsch since he was a young Winstead law clerk in 1979.

“He was just really one of the finest lawyers I ever known,” Harr said. “He was a lawyer’s lawyer and every one of us in the firm has a better career because of it.”

Funeral arrangements for Munsch are pending, Harr said.

Phil Appenzeller, chief executive officer of Munsch Hardt , said Munsch was serving as a senior equity and was nearing retirement at the firm where he was loved.

“We are saddened by his death on a number of fronts.  First, he was a trusted resource.  He and our other founders had done a great job of transitioning leadership opportunities to others, however he was a great source of wisdom and I called on him often,” Appenzeller said.

“Second, we were excited about the new stage of life he was moving into.  While he still served in some administrative capacities at the firm, he had passed the client relationships on to others and was no longer actively practicing, which freed him up to do what he loved, traveling with his wife and golfing,” he said. “We wish he could have had many more years of enjoyment.  This was devastating event, to say the least.”