Richard Van Deuren, chairman emeritus at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, has died. He was 88.
Born in Green Bay, Van Deuren, who died Sunday, graduated cum laude in 1951 from Harvard University, where he went on to earn his law degree in 1954 and was admitted to the State Bar that same year.
Following two years in the Army, Van Deuren joined the firm in 1956 along with his fellow associates Allen Rieselbach and Richard Norris. He rose to the partner level in 1961. Along with Jack Reinhart, Roger Boerner, Allen Rieselbach and Richard Norris, he led the firm through a period of growth that culminated in it becoming one of the state’s largest law firms.
In addition to serving as chairman of the firm, Van Deuren became the first CEO of the firm, a position he held for many years.
Van Deuren was an advocate of specialization, rather than generalization, in the practice of law, and he guided the firm to embrace specialty law practices. Early in his career, he was already doing ground-breaking work in the field of employee benefits, and his advice on pension and profit-sharing plans — starting with his work for Marine Bank — was widely adopted by leading corporations.
Van Deuren was a pivotal figure in the formation of what became known as Taft-Hartley plans, and founded the firm’s Employee Benefits Department.
Following the adoption of the Small Business Investment Act in 1958, Van Deuren was instrumental in the formation of one of the country’s first Small Business Investment Corporations. He went on to develop a reputation for mergers and acquisitions. He practiced extensively in the field of corporate and business law and represented many corporations, venture-capital and private-investment banking firms over the course of his career.
“Words cannot express the enormous impact Dick Van Deuren had on our law firm,” Jerome Janzer, CEO of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, said in a statement. “Without Dick’s immeasurable contributions and visionary leadership, we would not be the firm we are today. He was a tremendous attorney, partner and friend, and we will miss him dearly.”