RW&G

Harry L. Gershon
1922 – 2007

Harry L. Gershon passed away August 2, 2007 at his home, after a long struggle with heart disease. He was 85 years old.

A nationally-ranked tennis player at Berkeley, Harry enlisted in the Army in 1942 and, as a Captain in the 82d Airborne Division, parachuted into St. Mère Eglise, behind German lines, hours before the Normandy invasion began on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was injured in Germany in a grenade explosion in March 1945, returned stateside for medical treatment, and was discharged with the rank of Major in March 1946.

He was admitted to the U.S.C. Law School where he excelled—he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Southern California Law Review, was elected to Order of the Coif, and finished first in the legendary Class of 1949 (where his classmates included Judges Warren Ferguson, Jerry Pacht, Joe Wapner, Jack Ryburn, and Bob Hogoboom). On the recommendation of his tax professor, John Ervin (who later formed Ervin, Cohen & Jessup), Harry was selected to serve as a law clerk for California Supreme Court Justice Roger Traynor in San Francisco. Following his clerkship, Harry returned to Los Angeles where he worked for Herman Selvin (a classmate of Roger Traynor’s) at Loeb & Loeb. Harry later formed his own firm in Beverly Hills where he specialized in entertainment, antitrust and complex business litigation.

A lifelong Democrat, Harry worked closely with Richard Richards on the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign in 1968. That association led to Harry’s joining what was then Richards, Watson & Hemmerling as a partner in August 1968. The name of the firm was changed to Richards, Watson, Dreyfuss & Gershon in 1972. Harry became Of Counsel to the Firm in 1999, and retired in 2002.

A brilliant lawyer and tactician, Harry had a photographic memory and was famous for preparing complex, lengthy briefs—in a single draft—in longhand on a yellow legal pad. He trained a generation of young litigators and was a giant in the Los Angeles legal community. He played tennis well into his 70s, enjoyed an ice-cold vodka, remained avidly interested in politics to the end of his days, told wonderful stories, and was a loving and doting husband, father, and grandfather. He embodied excellence in all he did—little wonder his is called The Greatest Generation.

Harry was predeceased by his son, Roger. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and by his daughters, Deborah, Robyn, and Sherry, and their families.