Akin Gump co-founder Robert Strauss dies at 95

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.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.