In Memoriam: Stephen Susman

In Memoriam: Stephen Susman

Stephen D. Susman, founder of Susman Godfrey, passed away on July 14 from complications of a bicycle accident in April. Mr. Susman was elected to ALI in 1975 and served as an Adviser to Restatement of the Law, Aggregate Litigation.  

From the firm’s statement,  

“Steve was our leader. The firm was always his vision. He loved the law firm, and loved us, and it was mutual. Steve was passionate about the law and justice. He spent his entire life thinking and talking about, and working for, ways to improve the system of civil justice in America.”  

Mr. Susman served as law clerk to John R. Brown of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and later clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. A biography of Justice Black revealed that Mr. Susman was the first law clerk whom Justice Black trusted to draft opinions for him.   

In his early career path, Mr. Susman joined a large Houston firm and became a partner, took a year’s leave of absence to teach law at the University of Texas, and hit on the magic niche that led to a new style of law practice representing plaintiffs in complex commercial disputes. In 1980, he founded Susman Godfrey, the first firm in this part of the country to limit its specialty to commercial litigation.