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Lewis and Roca partner dies

Peter Baird, a long-time partner of the law firm Lewis and Roca, died on August 27.

“Peter’s passing is a great personal loss to all of us, and our prayers and best wishes go out to his family,” Ken Van Winkle, the firm’s managing partner, stated in an announcement sent to the media Aug. 31. “It has been an honor and a joy to work with him.”

Baird was a member of the firm’s commercial litigation and professional liability practice groups and had argued before the U.S. and Arizona supreme courts.

He was a partner in the firm for more than 40 years and was involved in many high-profile cases, including a successful lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Justice’s use of informants at worship services as unconstitutional. He also was involved in litigation following the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Baird also was an avid “mentalist,” who had performed to benefit cancer research.

His writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Magazine and Newsweek.

His most recent book, “Protecting Moscow From The Soviets,” was a 2009 winner at The San Francisco Book Festival in the category of Compilations/Anthologies.

Baird, who received his law degree from Stanford University in 1966, had been listed in every edition of “The Best Lawyers in America” in the categories of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation and Legal Malpractice Law.

As a Founding Fellow of the Arizona State Bar Foundation for Legal Services and Education, he was awarded the Walter E. Craig Distinguished Service Award in 2003.

Baird was born on Aug. 23, 1941, in Syracuse, N.Y., and grew up in Moscow, Idaho. He was the only child of Thomas and Virginia Baird. He was a ~cum laude~ graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and he received his law degree from Stanford University in 1966.

After graduating from law school, Baird joined Lewis and Roca in July 1966 and practiced there until his death.

He is survived by his wife Susanne Mercier Baird, two sons from his first marriage, Kyle Baird and Thomas Baird, as well as several grandchildren.

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