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Editor’s note: Following is a collection of remembrances sent to The Recorder by admirers of Robert Raven, who died Aug. 14. He was the former chairman of Morrison & Foerster and president of the American Bar Association. As a newly minted associate at Morrison & Foerster in 1987, I was happily checking out my new digs on the 42nd floor and noticed a tall, white-haired man observing me from the next doorway. “Hi,” he said genially. “I’m Bob Raven.” I knew that Bob Raven was a former chairman of MoFo and occupied a lofty status within the firm. I also quickly learned that he was the incoming president of the American Bar Association, because the first thing he did was invite me into his office and tell me that fact.I remember vaguely mumbling something incoherent along the lines of “that’s great, sir,” but he then fixed his gaze on me and said “let’s talk.” Over the next several months, Bob would invite me to his office to chat about my thoughts and feelings about being a minority in a historically white profession. I felt honored, of course — what new associate wouldn’t? — but wondering exactly what was the point? Finally, one day he said that he was giving a speech about the need for minorities in the legal profession and would I give him a hand in writing it?I agreed, and wrote a speech, in those optimistic days of my youth, about the need for law firms to take affirmative steps to be role models for young attorneys of color.I wrote about how law firms needed to reach down into law schools, educate clients, and look inward to promote the idea that law firms had to be leaders in promoting minority attorneys. I wrote about how a profession that profoundly changed the landscape of America through Brown v. Board of Education and Baker v. Carr, could not abandon its own responsibility to aspire to what many of its members had argued society should live up to. Flush with pride and reckless abandon, I ended with a call to arms for all lawyers to embrace the notion of change and progress.I handed it to Raven’s secretary, since he was out of town, thinking that the tone would never be acceptable to someone of Raven’s stature, and that he was sure to mute its colors and soften its edge. Instead, I heard nothing. Raven continued to be out of town, and soon the speech had left my mind, replaced with a blizzard of deposition defenses that had me traveling for nearly a month. When the storm had abated somewhat, I tackled the pile of mail in my office and found a law periodical on my chair that had been tabbed.I turned to it, and saw that it was the text of Bob Raven’s speech (where, I confess now, escapes me).I quickly recognized my speech.Word for word. Shock, surprise and awe spilled over me in equal quantities.Later that week, he poked his head in my office and told me that he had really enjoyed the speech.He had wanted to “stir the pot,” as he put it, and that the speech had worked perfectly.I muttered a “no problem,” though inside I felt transformed at seeing that someone was willing to listen and advocate words and thoughts I had written.In many ways, it was the first affirmation I received that the path I was carefully aiming for — politics — could be one where I would succeed. When I did move to Congresswoman Pelosi’s office shortly thereafter, I only saw Raven sporadically over the next 15 years, but every time he saw me he would remind me of that “great speech” (his words, not mine) I wrote for him many years ago. Bob Raven was many great things, and the deserved tributes will pour in. He profoundly changed the landscape of the legal profession, not just as a leader but as an inspiration for individuals as well. For me, as an aspiring lawyer and politician, he helped me find my voice. I will forever be grateful to him, as I am sure countless others are as well. Michael Yaki partner Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro Much has been rightfully said about the marvelous professional life of Bob Raven. Allow me to share a long�‑lost story about Bob’s earlier life, told to me 50 years later by the radio operator for Bob’s B‑24 crew. Over Formosa on May 19, 1945, flak saturated the underside of the B‑24. To avoid another hit, the pilot immediately put the heavy four-engine bomber into a steep turning drive. The co‑pilot was badly wounded. In smoke and confusion, T/Sgt. Robert D. Raven, the 21‑year-old engineer‑gunner, went to work on damage assessment. Raven worked his way aft. The hydraulic system, he saw, was shot up and bleeding fluid. This meant that they would be unable to turn the turrets, but more ominously, they would be unable to lower the wheels, all operated via hydraulic control. Japanese ack‑ack was fierce. They eventually counted more than 100flak holes on board. They were so uncertain about making it back to base that the pilot had the radioman alert the rescue subs and catalinas. The problem with bailing out, however, was that the wounded co‑pilot could not bail out. Headquarters asked the crew to break away from the squadron and to try for Clark Field near Manila and to crash land if necessary. As they flew toward Clark Field over hundreds of miles of ocean, the problem of doing something about the damaged hydraulic line fell to Raven, as engineer. He had carried spare hydraulic fluid on board. He could also open the lines to pour it in. Trouble was, the lines were leaking so badly that the fluid would soon be lost. He improvised a plan. He would bandage all reachable leaks. Then, assuming they made it that far, on their final approach they would pour in the last of the fluid, initiate the down-gear drill, and pray that the wheels lowered and locked before the hydraulics failed. At Clark Field, fire crews and ambulances waited as the single silhouette formed on the horizon and made its final approach. Raven had surveyed the fuselage and patched every reachable leak. As the airspeed dropped, Raven poured in the last of the fluid and closed the line. On signal, the crew initiated down-gear drill. The landing gear bays opened. With each stroke, fluid oozed from the lines but the gear jerked lower, stroke by stroke. As the earth rushed up, all knew it was a three‑way race between the gear, the leaks and the runway. The gear won. With moments to spare, the wheels locked into place. The bomber landed safely. The co‑pilot was saved and survived. The plane, however, was so badly shot up that it was scrapped. Fifty years later, the radio man, Joe Maloney, recounted this story for me. Holding back a tear, Joe said that Bob had saved that plane and crew and should have received a medal for it. Bob served his country then– and later. Bob’s last sworn federal service ended in 1945, but as a public citizen, he dedicated his entire professional life to his country, lending his leadership to the San Francisco Bar Association, the California Bar Association and the American Bar Association, serving as president of all three. He was proud of the photograph in the Cabinet Room of PresidentCarter working shoulder to shoulder with him on federal judicial appointments. As chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Courts, he had assisted in placing over 150 federal judges on the bench including our own Marilyn Patel and Thelton Henderson. A lifetime of service to one’s country is no small thing. William Alsup U.S. district judge As a young lawyer at Morrison & Foerster in the early 1980s, I was fortunate enough to observe Bob along with other senior partners school us in how to practice law. The one anecdote that stuck in my mind, although 20 years later the details are a little fuzzy, was Bob’s recounting of a major antitrust case in which five big firms all had the same document. MoFo was the only firm which decided to disclose it. The decision to do so turned the tide and helped the client. Years later, and long after I had left the firm, I was involved in a discovery dispute with another big firm that seemed not to be Bob’s advice. I recounted Bob’s story, and the magistrate judge agreed that subsequent discovery in the case should proceed in the “Raven spirit.” I also recall Bob’s graciousness when, in 1996, he took a call from me when I had just been assigned out for trial to an Imperial County judge who had attended Boalt Hall in the 1950s. Amazingly, Bob remembered the judge from law school and was able to pass along a few anecdotes about what he was like in law school. The legal profession has lost a lion. Those of us who remain can only try to emulate Bob’s sterling qualities of intelligence and integrity and to fight for the values of access to justice to which he devoted his life. Karl Olson partner Levy, Ram & Olson I have the honor of being Bob Raven’s last secretary. My work with him began in 1998 when he said to me, “Eileen, my secretary is leaving the firm. May I be a member of your team?” I was astounded by the question, but I have never regretted my answer. I got to listen to his wonderful stories, because at that stage in his career he had the time to tell them — stories about how his father could pitch hay with style; how he used to curl up behind the piano in his parents’ home in order to read the newspaper undisturbed; how his grandmother would call his mother “Gladness” instead of Gladys; how Gordy Erspamer lost his glasses in a restaurant in Denver. I got to go to lunch with him because he had the time to go — to Schroeder’s for Swiss sausage, or to California Pizza Kitchen for tortilla soup. We would walk back to the office through Union Square, window shopping at men’s clothing stores where he would point out what was classic and what was current, and wandering through art galleries where he would say how much he loved this or that. I got to call Dick Archer and John Austin and make arrangements for the three of them to go to lunch. I got to help produce his oral history. He relished the oral historian Carole Hicke’s interviews with Peter Pfister and Mel Goldman and Penny Preovolos and Marshall Small, after which he would stretch his long legs across his small conference room, smile from ear to ear and say, “That was great, just great. Aren’t they terrific?” I got to hear him giggle — yes, that 6 foot 2 inch, white-haired gentleman giggled. In so many ways, he was one of a kind. I am sure, like hundreds of others before me, I joined Bob’s team. I will miss him deeply. Eileen O’Hara Firm historian and legal secretary Morrison & Foerster Many words have already been written about Bob’s great visions, and his remarkable success in achieving them, both for our firm and for the bar as a profession. All of these things are true, but they’re not the whole Bob, because they don’t capture the personal attributes that made him so much fun to work with, particularly for young lawyers. Bob was mischievous, and when he thought of a clever way to get the better of someone, he couldn’t wait to come tell his friends the story (sometimes several times), relishing the joke more with each retelling. Bob was also the most un-hierarchical person in a very un-hierarchical firm. No one called him Mr. Raven — he was Bob to everyone. He said, and meant it, that we should consider associates for partnership after three years, because by then we could tell if they were really good. Why should we make them wait? I worked with Bob, yet spent almost no time in his office. It never occurred to him to call and summon me. He would simply show up in the doorway of my office, a twinkle in his eye, usually ready to gossip before we started talking about work — or even better, in his view, went to lunch at Schroeder’s. Rachel Krevans S.F. managing partner Morrison & Foerster The Giants existed before Willie Mays, and Morrison & Foerster before Bob Raven. But once they came, the Giants mean Willie Mays just as Morrison means Bob Raven. Bob Raven was as unforgettable and inimitable (not that we don’t try) as the “Say Hey Kid.” In both cases, they don’t make them like they used to. He set an extraordinary example for us all. Mich�le Corash partner Morrison & Foerster Some of us entered the legal profession with considerable discomfort. As the son of immigrants, I felt no small sense that I didn’t belong in a large law firm, in a tall stone and glass building, doing goodness knows what lawyers do for wealthy individuals and institutions. Women and lawyers of color likely felt that discomfort even more intensely. Would we fit in? Could we do it? Did we really want to? We arrived at the firm that Bob Raven built. We were at first dazzled and intimidated by his appearance — this large, pin-striped, silver-haired corporate lawyer. Quickly, we felt his kindness. Quickly, we were scared to death by the responsibility he so freely gave to us. We were determined to try to earn his respect. We could not bear to let this man down. It was amazing to observe how Bob Raven communicated as openly and naturally with a logger in southeast Alaska as with a CEO of a large corporation. We saw that Bob respected and liked the staff at Morrison as much as the lawyers. He understood the value of different roles and contributions. He listened better than any lawyer I know. He didn’t preach. We saw him live his values. He will help us to remind ourselves: If Bob Raven could do it with respect and without arrogance, so can we all. It is smart, it is right. What a treasure, what great fortune to be able to say: “We worked with Bob Raven.” There is in that man a strength — a combination of respect for the legal process, respect for people, commitment to the client, absolute ethics and principle — and a joy in proving that it is never futile to insist upon justice. No one made us prouder to be part of this profession. No one made it more fun. We loved the man. Peter Pfister partner Morrison & Foerster

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