THOSE WERE the good old days.

And Steve Arbittier was a big part of it.

The former chairman of the litigation department of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, who later joined Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll as a partner, was a lawyer of the old school.

"Like others in his generation at Wolf Block, he represented the best there is among lawyers," said Arthur Makadon, chairman of Ballard Spahr. "He was part of the glory days of Wolf Block where dignity and professionalism converged.

"Sadly, Steve (and maybe that entire modus vivendi) are now gone in the frenzy of the times. Steve was a super lawyer at a time and in a way that you cannot buy.

"It truly was a golden era."

Steven A. Arbittier, a civil trial lawyer for 45 years specializing in arbitration and mediation, former chairman of the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors, a writer on civil practice and an active community leader, died of cancer May 14. He was 72 and lived in Rydal, Montgomery County.

"He was smart, wise and had the utmost integrity," Makadon said. "He also respected the profession and the profession reciprocated.

"We will miss Steve and we will miss what he represented. I only hope that some of what Steve was has been left behind so that others may strive to recapture those glory says."

Over his years of civil practice, Steve specialized in handling complex construction and commercial litigation. He arbitrated construction and commercial cases for the American Arbitration Association for more than 40 years.

He mediated more than 100 cases in his career, ranging in value up to $20 million.

His arbitration cases ranged from routine commercial disputes to complex, multiparty construction conflicts. In 1967, he became a member of the national panel of arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association.

He was co-author of the Philadelphia Court of Common Please Civil Practice Manual for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute from 1982 to 2007.

Steve was included in the 2011 edition of "The Best Lawyers in America" in the specialties of alternative dispute resolution, commercial litigation and construction law.

He was named a "Super Lawyer" in the areas of construction surety, alternative dispute resolution and general litigation from 2004 to 2008 by Philadelphia magazine.

He was a recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Special Award of Merit.

Steve was chairman of the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors in 1988. He also was an organizer and chairman in 1985 of the Campaign for Qualified Judges.

He was the first in his family to attend college. He was graduated from Central High School and went on to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he took both his undergraduate and law degrees, both on full scholarship.

He joined Wolf Block in 1963, where he headed the litigation department from 1991 to 1995. In 1995, he joined Ballard Spahr as a partner. He was named senior counsel in 2007.

Steve was known to step in and help several organizations in their time of need. He was past president of Klein JCC in Northeast Philadelphia, the Old York Road Skating Club and Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Helen P. "Lynne" Arbittier; two sons, Robert and Douglas; four daughters, Meredith Shatoff, Jennifer Williams, Elizabeth Arbittier and Lauren Davis, and 12 grandchildren.

Services: Memorial Service 1 p.m. today at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, 8339 Old York Road, Cheltenham.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1626 Locust St., Philadelphia 19103.