In remembrance: Richard G. Mintz

Issue June 2011 By Douglas K. Sheff

Richard G. Mintz joined Mintz, Levin and Cohn on Oct. 2, 1948, when it was located at 50 Federal St. in Boston. The firm consisted of three partners at the time - Herman Mintz (Richard's father), Ben Levin and Haskell Cohn. Richard, the firm's eighth lawyer, earned a starting salary of $2,400. The partners taught Richard how to be creative and entrepreneurial while maintaining a gentle and humane approach to clients and co-workers. Throughout his career, Richard cared for both as family. Richard helped usher in tremendous success for his firm without losing any of the humanity instilled in its members from the beginning. Now Mintz Levin, the firm has nearly 500 lawyers in eight offices today.

In a time when it was difficult for Jewish attorneys to gain employment in an established firm, Richard helped to build one which was inclusive - not just to Jews, but to every race, belief and orientation. Success was never taken for granted, but rather, inspired members of the firm to give back to the community. Richard's contributions, with the law firm, helped make it possible for such charitable institutions such as the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to flourish. The firm is proud to have created a nationally renowned Domestic Violence Prevention Program, for which it provides countless hours of pro bono.

Richard attended Andover before entering Harvard University in 1939. After World War II began, he left Harvard to join the U.S. Navy as a pilot. After the war, although he never completed his undergraduate education at Harvard, he was admitted to Harvard Law School.

Richard practiced law for 63 years, spending his entire career at the firm that bore his family name. He was a fixture in Boston's legal community and in the community at large. Richard Mintz practiced in the firm's Business Law, Trusts and Estates and Real Estate Sections.

Richard was the soul of Mintz, Levin, and all those who came to know him benefitted greatly from his wisdom, generosity and extraordinary compassion. His consideration and concern for every individual knew no limitations. His giving for newborn children, his welcoming of new employees, his mentoring of young lawyers and his counseling of those in distress were but a few of the quiet reflections of this great man.

In a note to the firm following Richard's passing, Chairman Bob Popeo wrote:

"Richard enhanced the reputation of this firm by his consummate skills as an attorney, which earned for him the respect and admiration of his clients, colleagues, lawyers, judges and the larger community in which he lived. His infectious enthusiasm for the law firm and his sincere and deep love for the people who comprised it, helped shape the identity of the firm and created a unique culture that will be his greatest legacy."

In 2010, at the age of 88, Richard said:

"It's been a wonderful journey. I hope it isn't over yet … I still have five or eight clients that I work with, to have the opportunity to attend members meeting, retreats, to visit other offices, and this is very unusual because when I had my 60th law school reunion in 2008, I found that of the 23 of us that returned to the reunion, I was the only one who had been a member of a firm that still had a place to go and practice law … And that, I think, is perhaps what gives this firm the opportunity to continue to have and to appreciate the values that the original partners had, and that the second and third and fourth waves have had, and maybe gives a better chance for that to be continued."

Richard will be sorely missed by the entire Massachusetts legal community.

Douglas K. Sheff, a vice president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, is senior partner at Sheff Law Offices.