Our thoughts and prayers go out to law school classmate Shanin Specter and his entire family on the passing of his dad, Senator Arlen Specter,  the longest-serving United States Senator in Pennsylvania’s history and recently a Visiting Professor at our alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

The Senator had been a partner at Dechert, but had gone to Washington before I joined them, my prior firm. But he graciously returned periodically to talk to the partners, and even once agreed to speak at a seminar I organized on product liability issues.

A man of keen intelligence and determination, Senator Specter dedicated his life to public service, and also brought a lawyer’s training and a practicing lawyer’s instincts to Washington. He left an indelible mark on the makeup of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, as he participated in14 or so high court confirmation hearings during a Senate career that spanned five presidencies. He also played a sizable role in recommending judicial appointees for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Third Circuit.  Earlier in his career, Arlen Specter had served as Philadelphia’s district attorney and also participated in the Warren Commission’s investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.