It is with such a sad heart and many tears that I’m sending you my condolences for the enormous loss of Rob. Reading the very many tributes, it’s hard to fully comprehend the impact that he had on so many. Most of you were colleagues and friends over many many, years, and were still very much a part of his life. I’m sure you’re still reeling from the shock of not having him in your lives and the space that has been left will be felt for a long time.
Some of us crossed paths briefly, like myself. Nonetheless, the impact that he had on me was tremendous. As a candidate attorney, I worked in his competition law department for six months, in 2000. My recollection of that time was of a law and ecosystem that was still very much emerging, along with strong characters, occasional histrionics and hours of listening to technical details. Rob always rose above the malarkey and cut through to the issues. In his quiet manner, he always managed to get to the point with an equal measure of respect and bemusement. He epitomised the notion of dignity and decency. This was clearly a part of him that was hugely valued by so many as mentioned in so many of the tributes.
The one memory of mine that stands out so vividly, even after twenty years, has nothing to do with law. I was standing in his office, and possibly having mentioned visiting India, Rob directed me to a book on his shelf amongst the many legal books. It was a big, fat book and he told me to take it home and read it. It was a Friday and I spent the weekend reading the book. It made such an impact on me, and was so overwhelming, that I came into work very late on the Monday, feeling emotionally drained. The book was Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance.” When I explained why I was late, Rob was completely sympathetic and understanding, if not a little bemused. Never angry.
For me this incident says so much about Rob. The interest he showed in his candidate attorney, his generosity in lending the book, his compassion and huge heart, his understanding and empathy. It was a small incident, but had a long lasting effect. And it impresses on me that such small acts of kindness and decency have vast and enduring repercussions.
When I chose to leave Bowmans and commercial law, Rob was never judgmental and always encouraged me to follow my heart.
He was clearly a pillar of the Bowmans family and very much affected the firm with his values, his wisdom and his culture of decency above all else. It is a part of practicing law that I will always miss.
You are all very much in my thoughts and I send you love at this difficult time. If appropriate, please pass on condolences to his family.
As is said in Jewish tradition, may his memory be a blessing to us all.