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Davis Polk’s First Summer Associate, a ‘Work-Until-Death’ Litigator, Dies at 100

Posted Mar 9, 2011 8:54 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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For hard-working litigator S. Hazard Gillespie, Erie Railroad v. Tompkins was more than a Supreme Court decision in a casebook.

Gillespie worked on the case in 1938, soon after going to work full-time for the firm then known as Davis, Polk, Wardwell, Gardiner & Reed. He was the firm’s first summer associate, and he continued to go to his office at the firm even after he gave up his law license.

Gillespie died Monday as a result of pancreatic cancer, the New York Times reports. Last year, the Times had profiled Gillespie for his “work-until-death ethic.”

Gillespie became a top litigator at Davis Polk & Wardwell and also served as U.S. attorney in Manhattan. He retired from Davis Polk in 1980, but he continued to make the 80-minute commute to his office and to do volunteer work.

The Times asked Gillespie last year why he continued to work. Gillespie's answer: "I think it gets to be part of our lives. And it's a thing that you just like to carry on. It makes you feel that you're useful, but it's usefulness to the community. Certainly, that's what stirs me."

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