Stephen D. Susman, founder of Susman Godfrey, died Tuesday, July 14, at the age of 79. His irrepressible journey was bigger than life in every way, come to rest only by an April 22 accident on the bicycle he loved and Covid-19, which he contracted while in the hospital in his hometown of Houston.
Perhaps more than any lawyer, he defined the last 50 years of law practice in the United States starting with his clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Susman broke every rule and built a new type of law practice – who bet it all and won big. He founded his firm in 1980 after becoming the first Jewish partner at Fulbright & Jaworski, followed by a stint teaching at the University of Texas Law School.
His firm soared and is considered the top plaintiff financial firm in the U.S., hiring more Supreme Court clerks than any others per capita, winning billions for its clients. His victories in cases from Texas Instruments to Corrugated Containers and Frank McCourt were nearly as legendary as his bad-ass persona.
He is survived by his wife, Ellen; his children Harry and wife Karen; daughter Stacy Susman Kuhn and husband Tom; and stepdaughter Amanda and husband Matt; his brother Tommy and wife Susan; and eight grandchildren. His first wife, Karen, died in 1997.
He is also survived by the entire Susman Godfrey family, who posted this tribute.
“We will miss Steve tremendously as we carry on his legacy, practicing law the way Steve taught us, honoring the values he imparted, treasuring the extraordinary camaraderie that he built. It is no surprise that when Steve was injured bicycling in April, he was with lawyers from his firm, young and old, moving forward, having fun, in the lead, pedaling as fast as he could.”
Rest in Peace Steve.