Personal Lives

Oldest Practicing MA Lawyer Dies at 103


Bill Landau can retire now. The Massachusetts lawyer was ready to do so three years ago, in his early 70s, but one thing held him back—his partner and father, Reuben Landau, then 100, who was still going strong in his longtime trusts and estates practice.

Reuben Landau continued working until he became ill about three weeks ago, and was still mentally agile until he died Friday at age 103, reports the Boston Globe.

After graduating from Boston University School of Law in 1926, the senior Landau began practicing while President Calvin Coolidge was still in office. He “has often been called the oldest practicing lawyer in Massachusetts, and he probably was,” the newspaper recounts. “State legal associations contacted yesterday did not have records to establish the distinction, but each said that the anecdotal evidence favored a man who had practiced law for 81 years.”

Aside from suffering a heart attack at age 59—after which he embarked on a program of healthy living—Landau had few medical issues to contend with.

A well-known participant in Boston University’s New England Centenarian Study, “He was kind of our celebrity,” says Dr. Thomas Perls, the study’s director. “As the oldest living practicing lawyer and just being so sharp and such a sage, he was great for reporters and for promoting this notion of healthy aging. It was always such a pleasure to go visit him, and it was remarkable how incredibly sharp he was until the end of his life.”

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