Richard J. Medalie, of Hull, died on Nov. 5 of COVID-19 at South Shore Hospital.
Known as Rick, he was born in Minnesota. He received a B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota and was a Phi Beta Kappa. He studied on a Fulbright in London and also received an M.A. from Harvard University in Russian studies. He was a1958 graduate of Harvard Law School cum laude and was case editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He had been admitted to practice as a member of the District of Columbia and New York bars. He practiced in those cities for more than 50 years as an associate attorney in antitrust law at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays, and Handler and as a principal partner in the Washington corporate and commercial ADR and litigation law firm of Friedman and Medalie and its predecessors.
Rick served as a law clerk to the Hon. George T. Washington, associate judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In the last years of the Eisenhower administration and the first years of Kennedy’s, he served in the U.S. Justice Department as an assistant to Solicitor General J. Lee Rankin and Solicitor General Archibald Cox.
In the mid-1960s, he was deputy director of the new Ford Foundation Institute of Criminal Law and Procedure at the Georgetown University Law Center.
From May 1981 through September 1985, he was chairman of a panel of arbitrators in one of the largest and most complex commercial arbitrations in the history of the American Arbitration Association, the 17-party Libyan Producers’ Agreement Arbitration. Subsequently, he represented American and foreign banks in the Penn Central reorganization and the Iranian assets freeze.
He was also instrumental in organizing the litigation section of the American Bar Association in a campaign to amend the Federal Arbitration Act to provide for a rational method of appeal from a court’s interlocutory order, and the D.C. bar appointed him to a 12-year term as a commissioner of the D.C. Law Revision Commission.
In 1993, at the reunion of his law school class, he and his peers created the Appleseed Foundation to “plant a seed” to grow public service activity with lawyers and other professionals and to focus on broad systemic social initiatives. He was chairman of Appleseed, which now has a national office with 17 centers nationwide and approximately 80 staff members, for most of its first decade. He also served as the chairman of the Harvard Law School Fund from 1987-1989 and as a law school director of the university’s Harvard Alumni Association from 1991-1995.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the Marquis Who’s Who community, he was featured on the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievers website.
Rick married Susan Diane Abrams, also an attorney, in 1960. They had two sons, Samuel and Daniel, who is married to Diana Prufer. He also had twin grandchildren, Clara and Ben. He was the brother-in-law of Justice Ruth Abrams (deceased) and Attorney George Abrams.
He spent summers in Hull for 60 years and moved full-time to the town 18 years ago. He set up his own law office here in 2006.
Rick was an only child who enjoyed being part of a large family, many of whose members also spent summers in Hull. He was both kind and brilliant, a decent man for all seasons.