Reifsnyder, C. Frank

June 17, 2007

C. FRANK REIFSNYDER, a former senior partner with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan and Hartson, died of natural causes on June 5, 2007, at Charlestown in Catonsville, MD. He was 86. In his long legal career, he was nationally prominent in judicial administration, especially through his service in the American Bar Association as Secretary and then Chairman of the Section on Judicial Administration. He was the first Chairman of the Section on Judicial Administration to serve without having previously been elevated to a judgeship. Born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on September 6, 1920, Mr. Reifsnyder moved to Washington in 1938, where former Iowa Senator Daniel Steck helped him become a messenger at the Federal Housing Administration. Mr. Reifsnyder put himself through college and law school while working full time, earning his A.B. in 1944 and his LL.B. in 1946 from George Washington University. In college, he was a member of Phi Delta Phi and Sigma Nu. He served as secretary to Associate Judge of the U.S. District Court Alan Goldsborough (1945) and as law clerk to Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Bolitha J. Laws (1946-47) before being appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia (1947-1951) and later Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General (1950-51). Mr. Reifsnyder was recruited by the Washington law firm of Hogan and Hartson in 1952 and he spent the remainder of his career there, first as a litigator and then, from 1967 onward, in the energy field until his retirement in 1985. His clients included the B.F. Goodrich Company and Union Oil of California. In his later career his principal client was El Paso Natural Gas, ultimately acquired by Burlington Northern. He was a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Court of Appeals for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Circuits, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite a demanding law practice, Mr. Reifsnyder was always active in professional associations. In Washington, he was a trustee of the Legal Aid Agency for the District of Columbia (1960-67), now the Public Defender Service, and he served on the Disciplinary Board Hearing Committee of the District of Columbia Bar (1973-75). He was a member of the Board of Directors (1955-56) and chaired the Junior Bar Section of the D.C. Bar Association (1954-55). In the American Bar Association, he was President of the Federal Energy Bar (1981-82) and Chairman of the Special Committee on Coordination of Federal Judicial Improvements (1971-74). He was also a member of the Committee on Effective Judicial Administration (1971-72) and Chairman of the Section on Judicial Administration (1967-68). Mr. Reifsnyder served as a member of the House of Delegates (1968-69) and a fellow of the Institute of Judicial Administration (1967-68). He was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada (1968-70), Director of the American Judicature Society (1972-76), and a member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association. In other professional affiliations, he was a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the International Society of Barristers. He also served a member of the then Atomic Energy Commission's Personnel Security Review Board. When he was put forward in 1974 by Attorney General William Saxbe to President Gerald Ford as a candidate for nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals, Mr. Reifsnyder was described in the Washington Post as "a highly competent, hard-working and self-effacing "lawyer's lawyer". His nomination eventually did not go forward in the face of political opposition from parties who felt the post more properly should be awarded to a resident of the District of Columbia (Mr. Reifsnyder was then residing in Potomac, MD). He had a delightful and ready sense of humor. In one story, he showed up -- without a specific client matter to pursue -- to gather background information at a regular weekly conference of lawyers at the Federal Power Commission. The other lawyers present were abuzz to know his interest in the affairs to be discussed that day. When confronted as to whom he was representing, with a twinkle in his eye he simply quipped, "Why, I am counsel to the situation!" His 1948 marriage to Sally Ann Evans ended in divorce ten years later. Thereafter he married Nancy Lee Laws in March 1960 and in 1977 they became long-time residents of Gibson Island, MD, where he served on the vestry of St. Christopher by the Sea. He belonged to the Metropolitan Club, the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Gibson Island Club. He was formerly a member of the Washington D.C. University Club and the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, VA. An avid sailor on the Chesapeake Bay for many years, he also excelled at trap and skeet shooting at several gun clubs in the Baltimore-Washington area. Mr. Reifsnyder is survived by his wife Nancy Laws Reifsnyder of Charlestown, his sons Daniel Alan Reifsnyder of Alexandria, VA, and Jeremy Evans Reifsnyder of New Canaan, CT and six grandchildren: Jennifer, Ann, Danielle, Elizabeth, Claire and Benjamin. A seventh grandchild, Charles Clay Reifsnyder, and his son Frank Laws Reifsnyder predeceased Mr. Reifsnyder. A memorial service for Mr. Reifsnyder will be held at St. Christopher by the Sea, Gibson Island, MD at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday July 14, 2007. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Christopher by the Sea, P.O. Box 616, Gibson Island, MD or to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, 8555 16th Street, Suite 400, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

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