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Former Diplomat Sol Linowitz, 91, Dies

Mr. Linowitz's career choice was set at Hamilton. On Sunday afternoons, he often read to Elihu Root, who had served as secretary of state under Teddy Roosevelt. Root was a Hamilton alumnus who spent time on campus during the last years of his life.

"One afternoon he stopped me and asked, 'What are you going to do after you graduate?' " Mr. Linowitz recalled in the Bar Report interview.


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"I said, 'I don't know. I can't decide between being a lawyer and being a rabbi.' "

Mr. Root had a word of advice: "Be a lawyer. A lawyer needs twice as much religion as a minister or a rabbi."

Mr. Linowitz enrolled at Cornell Law School in 1935.

"My experience during the Depression had given me insights and concerns that I otherwise might not have had, and I saw the law as a tool that could be used to help people," Mr. Linowitz recalled. "So when I went off to law school I was burning with desire to do good."

Mr. Linowitz was editor-in-chief of the Cornell Law Quarterly and graduated first in his class in 1938.

He considered a career on Wall Street, but he decided instead to go with a small family firm in Rochester, Sutherland & Sutherland, a father and his two sons.

"What I learned at Sutherland & Sutherland is that the law is a human profession," he recalled. "If you are going to get satisfaction and personal fulfillment as a lawyer, you've got to do things that are helpful to people. You can't do things impersonally."

At a Cornell fraternity dance during his early years with the Rochester firm, Mr. Linowitz also met a young woman in a green satin dress named Toni Zimmerman. She was from New York City and was studying bacteriology at Cornell and teaching modern dance on the side. They married in 1939.

A knee injury incurred playing soccer at Hamilton kept him out of the military at the onset of World War II, so Mr. Linowitz wrangled a job in Washington at the Office of Price Administration, where he was in charge of appellate cases in the rent control program. He worked with a young lawyer named Richard Nixon. In 1944, he received a naval commission -- as did Nixon -- and served until 1946, when he went back to Rochester. He practiced law in Rochester for the next 20 years.

During that time, he watched his former OPA colleague get his start in politics. "I remember feeling envious of the way he was moving up," he recalled in the 1995 interview. "My wife still teases me about that -- that Richard Nixon, of all people, was the guy with whom I chose to compare myself."

After the war, Mr. Linowitz went back to Rochester, where he met a young businessman named Joseph C. Wilson, who had just succeeded his father as president of the Haloid Company, a $17 million-a-year photographic supplies producer that was overshadowed by the Rochester giant, Eastman-Kodak. Wilson wanted to expand his automatic photocopying business, and his research director had encountered an obscure process called electrophotography, invented by an equally obscure engineer and patent lawyer named Charles Carlson. It was being developed by Battelle Memorial Institute, an industrial research organization in Columbus, Ohio.

Wilson asked Mr. Linowitz to help him draw up an option form for the process and then to accompany him to Columbus. Wilson didn't want to take the work to the company's regular attorney, because he was afraid word would get back to Eastman-Kodak. He made it clear to Mr. Linowitz that it was a "one-shot" project, that he wanted Mr. Linowitz to draw up an agreement by which Haloid would acquire a short-term license, with renewal options, for certain uses of electrophotography.


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