PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 16, 2004) – Drinker Biddle & Reath mourns the passing of Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr. Mr. Van Dusen practiced law at Drinker for more than 50 years, starting in 1935. He was 93.
“Lew Van Dusen was one of our most distinguished lawyers and a fierce advocate in the best sense you can imagine,” James M. Sweet, Chairman of Drinker Biddle, said. “His broad vision of a lawyer’s responsibility for the quality of justice served as an inspiration to his law firm colleagues.”
“Lew led our firm for over three decades. His deep respect for his partners and colleagues firmly established a core principle that has guided our growth from a firm of 50 lawyers to one of 450 lawyers as the practice of law evolved into the business of law,” William C. Bullitt, descendant of the founder, said. “We will miss his guidance but he leaves us a legacy of integrity, sheer hard work, and devotion to excellence.”
Drinker partner Lawrence J. Fox added, “Lew’s leadership role in the firm was mirrored by his leadership role as chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. He oversaw what was arguably the single biggest step forward in establishing ethical standards for the bar: the development and adoption of the Model Code of Professional Responsibility.”
Lewis Van Dusen’s accomplishments span more than half a century. They range from serving as president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, to working toward international justice as the first Director of the United States Representation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the early 1950s. For the intense focus he brought to the study and literature of legal ethics, he received the Michael Franck award, the highest award the ABA gives for professional responsibility.
Mr. Van Dusen, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, served in North Africa, Normandy and Southern Europe in World War II. He was assistant to the chief of staff of the Allied Military Government in Sicily and southern Italy.
Mr. Van Dusen was a Director of the Greater Philadelphia Movement and served for 35 years as Chairman of the Inglis House Board of Advisors. He sat on the boards of both International Utilities and Campbell Soup Company. Mr. Van Dusen also served as a trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Divinity School, the Episcopal Academy, and Princeton University.
He graduated from Princeton summa cum laude in 1932, ranking number one in his class. Mr. Van Dusen then attended Harvard Law school. He completed his legal education at New College, Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.