Happy Birthday, Boss!

August 2, 2015

Lowell Rothschild is 88 today. (He’s claimed 88 as his age since very soon after August 2, 2014, so I expect he’ll be 89 before lunch on Monday.)

Lowell shares his 8/2/1927 birthday with no one more famous than he is, but James Baldwin and Carroll O’Connor left the “terrible twos” behind the day he was born, while Shimon Peres turned four on the same day. On his birth date the Internet tells me only one thing worthy of note, other then Lowell’s birth, happened: President Calvin Coolidge issued a written statement. It read: “I do not choose to run for President in 1928.”

I have practiced law with and against Lowell for 30 years. In my first case with him I felt very, very young and inconsequential … until his client made a stupid statement under oath. I pounced, and we have been fast friends ever since.

Back in the day, Lowell had a reputation for being a tough guy. Always professional, and smarter than all of us, but intimidating. The guy who, when you’re not yet 30 years old, scares you more than a little bit.

Truth be told, and with no disrespect for his ability intended, I think Lowell has always had a big heart and a soft spot for young attorneys who work hard, play by the rules, and represent their clients well, even when they’re on the other side. Now, of course, he’s still a pro and scary smart, and that’s all I will say, for if I tell people he’s a sweet, really nice man, I’ll be summoned to explain why I have disarmed him, unilaterally.

Lowell has been practicing law for 63 years, only slightly longer than he has been married to his lovely wife Anne. Many of us think the law thing for 63 years makes Lowell more than a bit meshugenah. He disagrees. He thrives on the opportunities to help people with their problems. That interest in helping people solve their problems runs deep, and I think it stems from a genuine curiosity about people. Lowell is the man who, wherever he is, works the room. But he works the room with real interest, wanting to really know the people he meets. He’s also the person at the firm who knows everyone’s children’s names, knows about their places in life, problems, issues, etc. If you talk to Lowell he’ll learn much more about you than you will about him.

The law has been good to Lowell and his family, but he’s given back every bit as much as he’s gotten. He’s mentored many, many attorneys (including his son, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and grandsons Isaac and Nathan Rothschild), and has been the leading light in the financial reorganization bar in Arizona—and elsewhere—for decades. His time and effort on behalf of Tucson and Southern Arizona has made our community better. He has also played on a larger stage, both as the Chair of the Economics of Law Practice section of the American Bar Association and as the Board Chair for the American Bowling Congress.

By now Lowell is saying, and I can almost hear him: “Stop it. Two paragraphs ago. You’re embarrassing me.” So I’m done, except for this:

Lowell talks about being old. Chronologically, maybe. In his head and heart, not at all. Happy Birthday, Boss, and my best to you and yours!

P.S. In the office Lowell is Mr. R to many people, LER to some, and Lowell to those of us who knew him first as a professional peer. (With affection, he gets “Boss” from me more and more often.) To one of his partners, though, he’s been Boss (to his face) and Mr. Rothschild (to others) for 50 years. Always!


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