Obituary: Richard J. Urowsky

New York Law Journal

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Richard Urowsky, a litigation partner at Sullivan & Cromwell for more than three decades, died Jan. 14 after a long battle with cancer. He was 67.

Urowsky's client list included Goldman Sachs; print services firm RR Connelly; alcoholic beverages company Diageo; CA Technologies, formerly known as Computer Associates International; Cullen/Frost Bankers; and National Australia Bank. He spent his entire career at Sullivan & Cromwell.

Among Urowsky's most high-profile cases was his defense of Microsoft Corp. in several antitrust lawsuits brought against it by the federal government in the 1990s. The government alleged, among other things, that Microsoft was improperly forcing its web browser software on users of its popular operating system, preventing competition from other browser-makers.

"His command of the enormous factual record developed during a six-month trial and his mastery of a wide range of complex legal subjects during a multi-day oral argument before the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in February 2001 was a sight to behold," the firm said in an email announcing his death.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Urowsky represented Kennecott Copper Corporation in a takeover fight with Curtiss-Wright, an aerospace manufacturing firm. The proxy battle—and Urowsky's lead role—was highlighted in James Stewart's 1983 book The Partners: Inside America's Most Powerful Law Firms.

Urowsky grew up in the Bronx and attended the Bronx High School of Science. From a young age he was interested in philosophy. After attending Yale College as an undergraduate, he received a fellowship to study under the legal philosopher H.L.A. Hart at the University of Oxford's New College. There he received a degree in political theory and legal philosophy.

Urowsky attended Yale Law School and was an editor of the Yale Law Review. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1973.

After law school, Urowsky served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed. In that role he also assisted then-Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justices Potter Stewart and Byron White.

He joined Sullivan & Cromwell in 1973 as a litigation department associate and was promoted to partner in 1980.

Urowsky is survived by his sister and two nephews. A memorial will be held Friday, Feb. 7 at 11:30 a.m. at Cipriani, 55 Wall Street, New York City. RSVP at 212-558-4436.

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