(11 September 1949) - (November 15 2022)
Robert Allan Rosenfeld was born in Columbus, Ohio to George and Eleanor (Kahn) Rosenfeld on September 11,1949. He died on November 15, 2022 of pancreatic cancer which had been diagnosed in March, 2017. Until that time, Bob was one of the foremost antitrust lawyers in San Francisco, practicing for most of his career at Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, until its dissolution in 2008, at which time he moved to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Bob was the consummate professional: brilliant, ethical, supportive, practical and focused. Despite his many intellectual and professional accomplishments, he remained an unpretentious, friendly, positive Midwesterner.
Bob went to Wiley High School in Terre Haute, Indiana where his family moved soon after his birth. He was a champion debater in high school. When it came time to go to college, he chose George Washington University in Washington D.C, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. Bob maintained a strong connection to George Washington, serving on its Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1993 and the Law School Dean's Advisory Council from 1999 to 2002.
Capitalizing on his success at George Washington, Bob was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1971, the first GWU student to be so honored, and studied at Corpus Christi College of Oxford University from 1971-1973. He graduated with a Master of Arts and returned to the United States to attend Harvard Law School, where he was Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated cum laude in 1976.
That summer, he worked at Heller Ehrman, before beginning a clerkship for the Honorable Marvin Frankel of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. After a year with Judge Frankel, Bob moved back to Washington, D.C to clerk for the Honorable Warren G. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. When his clerkship finished, Bob moved to San Francisco permanently, beginning his career at Heller Ehrman in 1978. He became a shareholder of the firm in 1983.
While at Heller, Bob worked on a variety of matters for some of the firm's most important clients – Bank of America, Delta Dental, Seattle First National Bank, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Texas Instruments. He also worked on a number of pro bono cases. Beginning in 1999, and continuing through his cancer diagnosis in 2017, Bob represented Microsoft Corporation in a variety of consumer antitrust class actions throughout the country filed in the wake of the ruling in United States v. Microsoft, in private antitrust cases brought by Microsoft competitors and in investigations and lawsuits against Microsoft in the European Union, Canada and Korea. In these engagements, he headed a large team of lawyers and experts, developed and implemented complicated litigation strategies, argued motions in federal and state courts throughout the country and negotiated complex settlements. During those years, Bob developed deep and abiding relationships with Microsoft's in-house counsel and his co-counsel, many of whom remained close friends long after the cases had been resolved. In fact, Bob was one of the few high-powered lawyers who made friends with opposing counsel as well, always finding some way to connect even with equally fierce opponents.
In addition to his active practice at Heller, Bob was chair of the firm from 1993-1999, a period of significant growth, during which the firm opened offices in Singapore, Washington, D.C and New York City. Throughout his tenure, the firm's footprint and profits increased but it continued to operate largely by consensus. Much of the collegial feeling at Heller was reflected by Bob's personality and his management style. Bob always cared about the individual success of the people around him – his partners, associates, co-counsel and clients. As a firm leader and as an advocate, Bob always kept his eye on the long game and never lost sight of where he wanted to go and how he was going to get others there with him.
By September 2008, the economic forces affecting the country signaled the downfall of Heller and, after 116 years, the firm closed its doors. During that very difficult time, Bob negotiated a new home for the antitrust practice at Heller, moving lawyers from the New York, Washington, D.C, Seattle, London and San Francisco offices to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He chaired the Antitrust and Competition practice at Orrick from 2008 until 2016. Between 2008 and 2017, Bob continued to represent Microsoft, Delta Dental and other clients who moved with him from Heller to Orrick.
Bob was especially interested in the health care system and was on the Board of the California Pacific Medical Center from 2005 to 2009 and on the West Bay Regional Hospitals and Medical Foundation Board from 2009 to 2015, where he was Vice Chair from 2012 to 2015.
At the end of 2018, Bob's doctors organized his treatment so that he could go to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to spend a year as a Fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) at Harvard University. Bob quickly became the intellectual linchpin of the ALI fellowship, noted among his peers for his disputatiousness, his intelligence, and his humility. He audited classes on religion, democracy, education policy, and the American presidency, among others, and was a charismatic presence in those classes, a Pied Piper to the undergraduates and a support to the professors, who often turned to him during lectures for explanations of legal and constitutional issues. He loved the intellectual life of Cambridge and extended his stay, enrolling as a Senior Fellow for a second year at ALI, though that year was quickly interrupted by COVID. Even away from Cambridge, Bob joined ALI friends in many sustained interactions, including a group that worked to develop a program for strengthening American democracy, a group of Senior Fellows, and a small book group that met twice a week for discussions of a wide range of topics, including racism, American poetry, antitrust law, the Chinese economy, and the Supreme Court.
Bob was a voracious reader (and a voracious book buyer) of both fiction and non-fiction and a stickler for grammar. Some of the most contentious discussions he had with colleagues concerned the proper use of commas and introductory phrases that he could not abide, something he called "left-leaning sentences." Bob loved international travel, and could find a bookstore and a hamburger anywhere in the world. During the 1980's, with his partner Wey Lundquist, Bob was part of a small committee established by the American Bar Association to foster dialogue with lawyers in the Soviet Union. Between 1983 and 1986, Bob hosted Soviet lawyers in San Francisco and went to Moscow for meetings there. He helped organize a human rights seminar in the Soviet Union in 1987 and in 1989, organized an internship program that placed 17 Soviet lawyers in law firms throughout the United States. On Bob's return to the office, his stories always included late night sessions with his Soviet counterparts, fueled by good conversation and even better vodka.
Bob is survived by his wife, Anne Wertheim Rosenfeld and his son, Matthew. He also leaves his sister, Nancy Friedberg.