Lloyd Cutler

Former Clinton Counsel Lloyd Cutler Dies at 87


When I worked for Wilmer, Cutler in London I had the privilege of working for “Lloyd” as he wanted to be called (not that we younguns ever quite did) on a pro-bono matter. Lloyd Cutler had drafted the firm to help him in connection with an international project to advise Czechoslovakia, which was trying to draft a new constitution. (We were too late — they cut the deal that doomed them to split two days before we made our presentations.) I found a very impressive and decent man, with a dash of the Washington fixer.

The Washington Post quotes its former ombudsman as describing him as “a corporate godfather by day and Sister Theresa by night.” Sounds about right.

Lloyd Cutler worked on many good causes, and as one of the US’s equivalent of the ‘great and the good’ performed many public services. His greatest achievement may be the institution he left behind. I don’t know whether it’s still as true today, but the Wilmer, Cutler I worked in was an impressive and highly decent place, a Washington institution, a litigation powerhouse at once intellectual and moral, with an intense commitment to public service. Not many firms manage that. Not many people can help create something like that — and then let go at the right time.

I last saw him here in Miami in January 2003, when the National Research Council’s CSTB Committee on “Privacy in the Information Age,” which he chaired, held a meeting here. He was older, and moved less surely, but the fire (and the growl) was still there, undiminished.

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