January 07, 2021 Feature

Remembrance of Steve Susman

A partner at the legal icon's eponymous firm writes about Susman's drive to mentor young lawyers and preserve jury trials.

Parker Folse

Download a printable PDF of this article.

Over our third pandemic cocktail last night, my wife and I began talking about Steve Susman. His presence in our lives over 40 years was so strong that these conversations still bubble up like lava, unbidden, like every other force of nature, even though his physical presence is now gone.

She said her dominant impressions of Steve were cigars, wondrous but intimidating intelligence, intense engagement, and an extravagant sense of playfulness. She didn’t mention the “I can’t unsee” imagery of Steve striding down the aisle on a jolting bus ride in some remote location on a firm retreat decades ago, clad only in a Speedo and loudly laughing. But she has mentioned that story to me so many times, in a mixture of shock and wonder, that I felt compelled to include it here for the sake of completeness.

He gave up cigars too many years ago to count, and replaced them with blunts. He became slightly more modest in his attire, though his Spandex bike shorts didn’t leave much more to the imagination. The incandescent intelligence and wild sense of playfulness? That didn’t change at all. Nor did his ability to stride like a titan across the upheavals of the legal world, until the current cruelties of life took him down like some awful thunderbolt.

Illustration by Mary Woodin

Illustration by Mary Woodin

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now