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Akin Gump co-founder Robert Strauss dies at 95

Posted Mar 20, 2014 7:12 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Texas lawyer Robert Strauss, a political insider who co-founded Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, has died at the age of 95.

The New York Times describes Strauss as “a smooth-talking Texas lawyer and businessman who became a consummate political insider.” The Washington Post says “his quick wit and a rough-hewn persuasiveness … recalled his small-town roots and enhanced his prowess among a vanishing breed of back-room power brokers.” The National Law Journal (sub. req.) also has a story.

Strauss served as Democratic national chairman, special trade representative, President Carter’s special envoy in Middle East peace talks, and U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Strauss was known as a deal-maker rather than a technician at his law firm, the Post says. He didn’t keep track of hourly billing. “I don’t work by the hour anymore. I don’t do windows,” he said.

The Post included a quote from a Strauss interview with the New Yorker that helped explain his persuasive abilities. “I have a pretty good encyclopedia of America, but I couldn’t recite it,” he said. “If you mention a town to me, I know who the mayor or the sheriff or the commissioner is, and whether he is reliable or unreliable.”

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