by William G. Schwab
He is 83 years young. He is a warrior. He is a battle-tested aviator. He is a general. He is a patriot. He is a leader. He is a lawyer. He is a gentleman.
This article normally profiles a young successful lawyer, but in this issue we are taking the time to look at the life and successful career of the General Practice Section Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient General Earl Anderson.
When I first met General Anderson, I didn’t know anything about him, other than that folks called him General, and his bearing initially intimidated me. As a former enlisted man, officers were to be avoided. I didn’t know if it was an honorary designation like auctioneers who call themselves colonels or what. His bearing was one of a person in charge. He was resolute. From the first time I met him, he was outspoken in his idealism for the legal profession.
As years have gone by, my initial thought of being intimidated gave way to finding a man who was gregarious, friendly, encouraging, and never at a loss for words. No one spoke about his achievements, and his modesty prevented him from doing so.
About a year or so after I met him, someone told me he had been a four-star general in the Marine Corps. No other lawyer has ever achieved that rank. Perhaps it is how he got there that should be an inspiration for lawyers young and old.
World War Two was waging in the South Pacific and a young officer was aboard the USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway. The ship would go down to the enemy attack, and the young man would end up in the waters of the Pacific for hours until rescued. Earning a Bronze Star for bravery, he went on to become a Marine aviator and instructor during World War II. He continued flying through the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where he piloted 40 combat missions. He then continued to serve his country until his retirement from the military.
Somewhere during all this, he raised a family and went to George Washington University Law School, graduating at the top of his class. Upon retirement, General Anderson started yet another career as a private citizen lawyer. He practices. He reads. When a newsletter that I was editor of didn’t arrive, I heard from him that he missed it. He critiques what he reads—tells you what he likes. Leader of men. Encouraging lawyers to be better. Encouraging me to be a better editor.
He is the epitome of what all lawyers should strive to become. We talk about civility in the profession, but here is a man who has lived it.
— William G. Schwab, GPSolo New Lawyer Editor