Arthur Makadon, who was chairman of Ballard Spahr LLP from 2002 to 2011, has died. He was 70.
Makadon died early this morning at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadephia, Mark Stewart, Ballard’s current chairman, said in a phone interview. The cause was lung cancer, he said.
“Arthur was as fine a litigator as the firm has ever seen,” Stewart said in a statement on the firm’s website. “He was tenacious and possessed of uncommon wisdom and impeccable judgment. ‘‘He cared deeply about Ballard and the people who work here, and he led the firm as chair with passion, compassion and resolve. He was fun-loving, irreverent, fierce and beloved.’’
Makadon was born on March 11, 1943, in Philadelphia, the son of longtime Philadelphia resident Frances Rudnick Makadon and her dentist husband William. He grew up in Lower Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia and attended Pennsylvania State University in State College, graduating in 1964. Makadon graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1967 and clerked for U.S. District Judge Joseph S. Lord III in Philadelphia before becoming an associate at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York in 1969.
He returned to Philadelphia a year later to work in the city’s District Attorney’s Office where he served as chief assistant to Arlen Specter until 1973. He joined Ballard in 1975.
Dubbed an ‘‘insider’s insider” in a Philadelphia Inquirer profile, Makadon tried more than 35 jury trials to verdict and an equal number of non-jury trials during his career. He represented public officials and publicly traded companies in grand jury matters and did corporate defense work in antitrust, consumer protection and Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases.
“He was a consummate insider,” Stewart said. “He was always involved in anything significant going on in the city for years.”
Makadon was a close friend of former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, acting as his principal adviser in three mayoral campaigns and two gubernatorial campaigns. He was also influential in bringing Rendell’s former chief of staff David Cohen back to Ballard in 1998 to take over as chairman. It was Makadon who first introduced the two men.
Rendell, who met Makadon in 1968 while both men worked for Specter, remembered his friend of 45 years as “incredibly bright and incredibly charismatic.”
“People thought he was a little crazy because he would be so flamboyant,” Rendell, now special counsel at Ballard Spahr, said in a phone interview. “He was crazy but he was crazy good.”
Makadon’s last crusade was helping to find additional funding for the School District of Philadelphia.
“He always fought for the things that were right,” Rendell said.
Makadon was a member of the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. Makadon also sat on the board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and served as co-chairman of Philadelphia Safe and Sound, an organization that coordinates and assesses services for the city’s youth.
Makadon is survived by his daughter Claudia Sauerteig and brother Harvey J. Makadon, a physician who teaches at Harvard Medical School.
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