George L. Middleton Jr., 50, a partner at a District law firm who specialized in tax law and counted Gannett Co. Inc. among his clients, died Oct. 4 at his home in McLean of pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Middleton started working at what is now Nixon Peabody LLP in 1977 at its office in Rochester, N.Y. He was named partner in 1984 and came to Washington in 1985. By the late 1980s, was the lead tax lawyer for Gannett.

During the '80s, he assisted lawyers trying to amend tax laws to help newspapers wanting to buy new properties. In essence, the buyers wanted to deduct the difference between the value of the physical assets of the property and the purchase price.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that case, Newark Morning Ledger Co. v. United States of America, in the buyer's favor. That helped Mr. Middleton with his work handling Gannett's purchases of several newspapers.

Mr. Middleton was born in Rochester. He grew up in the Northeast and graduated from Harvard University in 1971 with a degree in mathematics. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1974.

He was a member of the tax section of the American Bar Association and Baptist Fellowship of Washington.

Mr. Middleton's hobbies included sailing at his summer home near Rochester.

He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Alice Bayer Middleton of McLean; a son, Robert, of McLean; his parents, the Rev. George L. and Jessamine Middleton, both of Rochester; and two sisters.