ROBERT VON MEHREN
FUNERAL HOME
Frank E. Campbell The Funeral Chapel
1076 Madison Ave
New York, NY
von MEHREN--Robert B.,

The last surviving lawyer in the infamous Alger Hiss trials of the late 1940s, died Thursday at his home in Manhattan from congestive heart failure, according to his wife, Susan Heller Anderson, a writer and former reporter for The New York Times. Mr. von Mehren was 93. As a young lawyer for the firm that is now Debevoise & Plimpton, Mr. von Mehren served on the defense counsel team representing Mr. Hiss, a highly regarded former government official, during his two trials for perjury in 1949 and 1950. Mr. Hiss, then president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was told in August, 1948, that Whittaker Chambers, an editor at Time magazine, had testified before the Committee for the Investigation of Un-American Activities of the House of Representatives and had accused Hiss of being a spy for the Soviet Union while working for the U.S. government. Newspapers labeled the proceedings "the trial of the century." Richard M. Nixon subsequently became nationally famous for his pursuit of Communists, specially Mr. Hiss, and 20 years later, in 1968, was elected president. He revealed later, in the Watergate tapes, that he had mounted a systematic campaign of leaking information that would turn opinion against Hiss. Among the many positions Mr. von Mehren held outside the law firm were legal counsel to the Preparatory Commission of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which composed the guidelines for the United Nations' agency that exist today; consultant to the Rand Corporation on disarmament; consultant to the Hudson Institute on international law, and senior lecturer in law at the Wharton School. An active proselytizer of arbitration, Mr. von Mehren taught and lectured all over the world. He pioneered international arbitration among American lawyers, serving in more than four dozen arbitrations after he "retired" from Debevoise. His pro bono positions included chairman, vice chairman and/or president of the International Law Association, the Practicing Law Institute, the American branch of the International Law Association, several committees of the City Bar Association of New York and the Harvard Law School Association of New York. He was an honorary member of the Commercial Bar of London and the Singapore Bar. He was also on the board of the American Arbitration Association; a fellow of the American Bar Foundation; the vice-president emeritis of the Axe-Hougton Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Century Association and the University Club. Born in Albert Lea, Minn., he won a national scholarship to Yale University, from whence he graduated summa cum laude, then magna cum laude from the Harvard Law School, where he served as president of its Law Review. Upon graduation he became associated with Debevoise, where he spent most of his career until he became an international arbitrator. He clerked for Judge Learned Hand at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Stanley F. Reed. An avid sailor, Mr. von Mehren raced his beloved Mariner Phalarope, on Martha's Vineyard, where he owned a home that he bought from James Cagney in 1957. In addition to his wife, Mr von Mehren is survived by his loving children: a son, Carl; three daughters, Katharine, Jane and Margaret, and Philip D. Anderson, his stepson. He was predeceased by his first wife, Mary Katharine; his younger son, John, and his identical twin, Arthur T. von Mehren. A celebration of his life is to be held in the fall in Manhattan. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in his name to the Sherriff's Meadow Foundation, 57 David Ave., Vineyard Haven MA 02568. The family will receive friends at their Manhattan apartment 4pm-8pm on Sunday, May 8, and 6pm-8pm on Monday, May 9.

Published by New York Times on May 7, 2016.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Frank E. Campbell The Funeral Chapel
MAKE A DONATION
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
Sponsored by Cynthia Lichtenstein in Memory of Bob's Service to the International Law Association.
Add a Message


Not sure what to say?



8 Entries
I KNEW THE WHOLE VON MEHREN FAMILY AS DEAR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WHEN BOB , ARTHUR AND YOUNG GEORGE WERE GROWING UP IN MPLS. WROTE WITH BOB A FEW YEARS AGO. HE WILL BE MISSED AS A DEAR OLD FRIEND,AS WELL AS AN ATTORNEY. JOAN HUNTER PUDVAN,NOW 88.GEORGE WAS MY PARTICULAR HERO, BUT ALL THE V.M. BOYS WERE GREAT. WRITE ME FOR STOREIS IF YOU WISH....FACEBOOK OR GMAIL.
May 17, 2019
Deep condolences to the prof. von Mehren family on behalf or the Czech Branch of the International Law Association. Prof. von Mehren was very enthusiastic and altruistic in introducing young Czech lawyers to the realm of international arbitration. He will always remain in our hearts and minds.
Vladimir Balas
September 1, 2016
I have just found Bobs obituary and hasten to send deep condolences to his family on behalf of the ILA Spanish Branch I have the honour to chair. He always be remembered as a true gentleman and an outstanding lawyer.
You are in our thoughts and prayers
Prof. Dr. Julio GONZALEZ-SORIA
August 31, 2016
Deepest sympathies on behalf of the American Branch of the International Law Association, to which Bob made such wonderful contributions. I had the privilege of working with him on a few occasions and quickly recognized a true gentleman and superb lawyer, who inspired many to work in the international field.
David Stewart
August 31, 2016
Dear Susan and all Bob's living children, I have just found (on Aug 28) Bob's NYT obituary and hasten to send all of you my concolences. The posting by Mr Bell says it all. I had the enormous pleasure of being mentored (as much as a young woman attorney in those days could be) Bob in my work for the American Branch of the International Law Association (of which he was President while I was with Milbank, Tweed) and of attending biennial Conferences of the ILA with Bob and his wife Mary Catherine. She and I would sneak out of the Conference to go to art galleries together in the venue cities. Bob indeed was a consummate international lawyer as well as a devoted husband and father.
Cynthia Lichtenstein
August 28, 2016
Deep condolences to the von Mehren family on the loss of this consummate gentleman and exemplary professional. I recall with fondness my congenial & productive dealings with Bob and his associate Nick Kourides when I was a lawyer with GE International hq'd in NYC 1977-82. It was an extraordinary pleasure dealing with Bob, Nick, and the excellent & astute Marco Marin Esq fron Napoli. We all became friends. Marco and Bob remained close ever after I believe as do Marco and I (& our children & grandchildren!). Those days are now a wonderful memory as we say good-bye to Bob & salute him:
"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." Rest in peace Bob in the kind embrace of whatever divinities there may be. Jim Bell
May 11, 2016
God's blessing and comfort as your beloved dad R.I.P wait on God to make all thing new, doing away with death and pain shortly, until then sincere condolences.
Pansy
May 10, 2016
Dear Katy, My sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved father. What an amazing and wonderful life he had! My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.
Eileen Codyer
May 9, 2016
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 results