Former Ballard Spahr chairman Arthur Makadon dies at 70

By Jon Campisi | Jul 26, 2013

A former chairman of Ballard Spahr who helped the Philadelphia-based law firm branch

out from a regionalized practice to a firm with national prominence died earlier this week.

Arthur Makadon, 70, reportedly passed away from lung cancer a mere week after he checked himself into a city hospital due to symptoms of the disease, according to local news reports.

Makadon chaired Ballard Spahr from 2002 to 2011, a period of time when the firm grew to more than 500 lawyers, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It was also during that time that the firm opened offices in cities across the south and west, including in Atlanta, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Makadon was also politically connected.

“He feared no one and nothing,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell told the Inquirer this week. “If he believed his cause was right, he didn’t care who he was going up against. He was crazy good and always fought like a tiger.”

Makadon was familiar with Rendell during the former governor’s time as both mayor and District Attorney of Philadelphia.

Makadon also served as chief assistant city district attorney when that office was run by Arlen Specter, the late former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, news reports state.

Current Ballard Spahr Chairman Mark Stewart released a statement in the wake of Makadon’s death calling the veteran attorney as “fine a litigator as the firm has ever seen.

“He was tenacious and possessed of uncommon wisdom and impeccable judgment. He cared deeply about Ballard and the people who work here, and he led the firm as Chair with passion, compassion, and resolve,” Stewart said in his statement. “He was fun-loving, irreverent, fierce, and beloved. Most of all, Arthur was a dear and irreplaceable friend. We will miss him more than I can possibly express.”

Kathleen D. Wilkinson, chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, also released a statement this week in which she praised Makadon’s work in the legal profession.

“Philadelphia has lost a true legend of the legal community,” Wilkinson stated. “Arthur Makadon was a pillar of the Bar and highly respected litigator with a tremendous intellect. He had an enduring devotion to the law and a willingness to help all. He will be greatly missed.”

Wilkinson noted that Makadon, in an interview with the bar association’s membership magazine last year, said “we get more than we give,” in reference to his law firm’s annual scholarship that is bestowed upon a student interested in law as a career choice.

In the magazine interview, Makadon had added that he was “looking forward to the day” when the firm hired its first graduate from its adoptive school, Philadelphia’s Constitution High School.

“With Makadon’s help, the partnership has grown to also include a formal mentoring program, job shadowing, a mock trial team, paid internships, and dozens of community service projects,” reads a Philadelphia Bar Association news release. “Several members of the firm also assist with curriculum development or serve on the school’s advisory board.”

According to the Inquirer, Makadon served as former Philadelphia Mayor John Street’s private attorney when the FBI was conducting an investigation into municipal corruption at City Hall during Street’s first term in office.

Rendell and Street were just two of many Philadelphia-area politicians with whom Makadon was connected.

“It’s part of Arthur’s genius that he knew a lot of people and got to meet a lot of people as a result of his legal practice,” David L. Cohen told the Inquirer.

Cohen, who worked with Makadon at Ballard Spahr, had also served as Rendell’s chief of staff when Rendell was Philadelphia’s mayor.

Cohen currently serves as executive vice president of Comcast Corp.

According to a Ballard Spahr biography, Makadon tried more than 35 jury trials to verdict and participated in an equal number of nonjury trials and arbitrations throughout the course of his career.

He had represented public officials and publicly traded corporations in grand jury matters and other investigations, and had defended financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies and others accused of violating securities, consumer protection and antitrust laws.

Makadon engaged in general complex litigation matters and appeals issues nationwide.

He obtained his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Makadon had formerly clerked for Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph S. Lord, III, who sat in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

News reports said Makadon is survived by a brother and his longtime companion, Naomi Wyatt.

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