Remarks by Stephen M. Shapiro
Partner, Mayer Brown & Platt
Co-author, Supreme Court Practice
Now, it's hard to improve on Gene Gressman's fine tribute. But I'd like to talk for just a moment about Bob Stern and the future, and what he means for the next generation.
When I think about Bob, the term that springs to mind is "role model." Before Bob's time, there really wasn't any well-developed appellate specialty in private practice. Today, the appellate department Bob set up at Mayer, Brown & Platt has almost 40 people. And many other firms have copied our appellate practice. The result is that there is today a thriving appellate specialty nationwide. And it's fair to say that Bob pioneered this practice.
Bob affects our future not only because he was a great role model, but also because he was a great mentor. When I was young Bob not only taught me his trade, but also got me a job in the Solicitor General's office and made me a co-author of his treatise. When the time was ripe to join organizations like the American Law Institute, Bob made sure that I was admitted. His good word was always enough.
Bob used to make it a point to take every summer associate to lunch, and to regale them with stories of the Supreme Court and the new deal. And when he was at the Justice Department he set up the first 'honors program' that brought young law students into the Justice Department, to get training in the most exciting law office in the world.
I think of Bob as a man of the future not only because he was a great role model and mentor, but also because he was a friend to so many lawyers around the country, in every age group. I'll never forget a trip I took with Bob to Washington in 1982. Bob hadn't lived in Washington for thirty years. But when we walked into a big restaurant, person after person popped up to shake Bob's hand. It was like he had never left Washington. These personal connections were often incredibly strong ones. I remember hearing from a former Supreme Court clerk that Justice Thurgood Marshall advised his clerks to read Mayer, Brown & Platt's briefs first. Why? Because that was Bob Stern's firm. Justice Marshall had become Bob's good friend when Marshall was a young civil rights lawyer.
Bob's good influence on the future, of course, had a more immediate focus on his own family. Sometimes it seemed as if all of Bob's projects were family joint ventures. Terese typed Bob's treatise and revised it, and we all know she helped edit it too. Ken worked in the same law firm. Larry and Allan were always proud boosters of Bob. And Helen gave Bob tremendous support in every way, including some badly needed help on his golf game. One of the most interesting articles Bob ever wrote was his memoir of his whole career, written for the benefit of his grandchildren and published by the Supreme Court Historical Society. I never knew a better family man than Bob Stern. And I will bet that compliment would mean more to him than any other.
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