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With the passing of Kenneth Starr this week, the legal profession lost one of its most enduring and impactful figures of the last century.
As someone who was able to work with Starr in litigation, I can honestly say that he was one of the best lawyers that I have seen in court. He not only had a brilliant legal mind but brought a sense of extraordinary clarity and precision to the law.
It was that penetrating intellect that repeatedly led to his being called upon to handle some of this nation’s most intractable and controversial matters. He was often repaid with partisan hostility by the media and Congress. However, he never stooped to the level of his critics. He remained one of the most modest, respectful, and kind individuals that I have ever known.
It is easy to rattle off the list of high-ranking appointments and high-profile cases that made Starr such a historic legal figure. A federal judge, Solicitor General, Independent Counsel, litigator, and academic, he left a legacy that few could hope to match in our profession. However, Ken Starr was more than the collection of