Edward W. Mullinix, 91, formerly of St. Davids, a retired partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis L.L.P., died Wednesday, Dec. 9, of Alzheimer's disease at the Forest at Duke in Durham, N.C.
Mr. Mullinix started his career with Schnader in 1949. He specialized in litigation and alternative dispute resolution.
During his most active years, he worked principally in litigation involving commercial and antitrust cases, and in lawyer and judge disciplinary proceedings.
He managed the firm's work for a number of major corporate clients. He also chaired the firm's standing committee on professional conduct for many years.
Peter F. Vaira, the former U.S. attorney in Philadelphia and a friend of Mr. Mullinix's, wrote in an email that Mr. Mullinix distinguished himself from the get-go as a Navy veteran and as first in his class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
"Coming out of law school, Ed declined a clerkship with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, because Ed did not think the justice was that outstanding," Vaira wrote.
"Edward was uncompromising when it came to the requirement of excellence, and held himself and those around him to the same high standards," said firm chairman David Smith.
When Mr. Mullinix applied to an old-school Philadelphia firm, he was told he had a great resumé but did not come from one of the proper Philadelphia families, Vaira said.
So he applied to seven law firms in New York, and got seven offers. Hearing that there was a Jewish law firm in Philadelphia that hired non-Jews, Mr. Mullinix applied and was accepted, Vaira wrote.
"It was Schnader. He got hired and was a giant of the bar," wrote Vaira.
Mr. Mullinix cut a distinctive figure in Center City and as he rode the Paoli Local, dressed in three-piece suit with pocket watch, Vaira wrote: "He was always in a vest; with a flower in his lapel in the summer; always with a hat."
"Ed was in all respects an elegant gentleman: elegant in his dress, elegant in his movements and, most importantly, elegant in his analysis of the most complex of legal problems, and a gentleman in treating everyone, of whatever station, with unfailing courtesy," said former firm chairman Dennis Supplee.
Born in Baltimore to Howard and Elsie Wingate Mullinix, Mr. Mullinix grew up in Round Bay, Md. He interrupted his college classes when World War II war broke out, and afterward went straight to Penn's law school, where he was editor of the law review.
At Schnader, he rose from associate to partner between 1949 and 1992, and served as senior counsel to the firm until retiring in 2012.
Among his many honors: serving as a consultant to U.S. District Court on the revision of local civil rules; as judge pro tempore of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas; and as an emeritus fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He also was a leader of the American, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Bar Associations.
"Mr. Mullinix was a man of great dignity and grace, who taught all he knew the importance of honesty, integrity, and adherence to the highest level of honor," his family said in a tribute.
He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Virginia; daughter Marcia Ladd; son Edward W. Jr.; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. A brother died earlier.
Services are to be private.
Donations may be made to the Fund for Penn Law, unrestricted, with checks payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Golkin Hall, 3501 Sansom St., Philadelphia 19104. Attention: Andy Maynard.