April 28, 2021 Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Robert H. Louis

By Robert H. Louis

Tell us a little bit about your career.

I have practiced for almost 49 years in Philadelphia. Because of my background as a finance major at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, I decided to become a tax lawyer and obtained a graduate degree in taxation after law school. I have worked at several law firms in Philadelphia, large and small, and served some years as the managing partner of a medium-sized firm. I have been active in the American, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Bar Associations my entire career, and enjoy writing and speaking on tax and retirement issues. I chaired the Benefits Committee at the Saul Ewing firm for many years and assisted many colleagues in planning their lives after active practice. It must have looked good from the outside because one of my daughters became a tax lawyer.

Is it what you had planned when you started law school?

My plan when I entered law school was to become a member of a noble profession with the highest ethical standards. Beyond that, I had no experience with lawyers and law firms, so I just planned to absorb every bit of learning that I could.

What has been the highlight of your career?

The highlight of my career has been twofold: helping clients to achieve success in business and in their family lives; and mentoring a number of younger lawyers.

If you could go back to the beginning of your legal career, would you have done anything differently?

I’m sure I would, because only a foolish person believes he or she has made every decision correctly. I don’t know what I would do differently. I might make different mistakes.

What advice would you give to someone considering law school today?

Learn everything and get every experience you possibly can. Be open to doing different things. Treat every colleague and staff member the same.

What were the biggest changes you saw in the legal profession over the course of your career?

The growth of mega law firms that are not real partnerships. The development of online research tools. The obsessive focus on bottom lines.

When did you first become a member of the ABA and why did you decide to join?

I became a member of the ABA in 1973. At the time, this was expected as a part of the lawyer’s responsibility to the profession and the public.

What has been the highlight of your work with the ABA?

Meeting and working with dedicated individuals who are working to improve the profession.

Are there any benefits that SLD or ABA that that helped you decide to become a member of the ABA/SLD?

The many resources available for “experienced” lawyers to help plan the rest of their lives in a positive and productive way.

If you had not become a lawyer, what do you think you would have done?

Something related to math. I have loved math since I was a child, and one of my retirement goals is to recover some of those skills I learned in high school.

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Robert H. Louis

Of Counsel

Robert H. Louis is of counsel at the law firm Saul, Ewing, Arnstein & Lehr. A graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Law School, he is the Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division Financial Services and Retirement Planning Committee, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the American College of Tax Counsel, and a former Trustee of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.