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Editor’s note: Robert Raven, the former chairman of Morrison & Foerster and president of the American Bar Association, died on Aug. 14. In June, The American Lawyer named Raven one of 12 recipients of its lifetime achievement award, noting his maverick approaches to law firm management. Raven stressed an unequivocal expectation that attorneys do pro bono work, the creation of strong mentoring systems to prevent associate alienation and the hiring and promoting of women-policies that are taken for granted now but were almost unheard of when Raven initiated them. The following are reminiscences by several of Raven’s colleagues, reflecting on him as a lawyer and as a man. 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, pinstriped, 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 a 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 love the man. Peter Pfister San Francisco The writer is a partner at Morrison & Foerster. 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 that 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 [heed] 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.” The legal profession has lost a lion. [We] can only try to emulate Bob’s sterling qualities of intelligence and integrity, and fight for access to justice-values to which he devoted his life. Karl Olson San Francisco The writer is a partner at Levy, Ram & Olson. 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. Michèle Corash San Francisco The writer is a partner at Morrison & Foerster.

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