Francis R. Kirkham, the senior surviving partner of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, died in San Francisco on October 22, 1996, at the age of 92.
Born August 23, 1904 in Fillmore, Utah, he obtained his baccalaureate and, in 1930, his law degree from George Washington University, graduating first in his class. He served as law clerk first to Supreme Court Justice Sutherland, and then to Chief Justice Hughes. Mr. Kirkham with a fellow law clerk, Reynolds Robertson, wrote "Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States", which became the definitive text on that subject. Also, Mr. Kirkham, at the request of the Chief Justice, rewrote for the Supreme Court the "General Orders and Forms in Bankruptcy" to address the depression-years' amendments to the bankruptcy laws, a task which has been described as "a stunning work of legal scholarship." In 1936, he went to San Francisco with the firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, and was elected to the partnership in 1940. From 1960 to 1970, he served as General Counsel to Standard Oil Company of California, now Chevron Corporation.He served the profession in many ways: from 1953 to 1955, as a member of the Attorney General's National Committee to Study the Antitrust Laws; in 1961, as chairman of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association; in 1973, as a member of the National Commission on the Revision of the Federal Appellate System; and in 1976, as a participant in the (Dean Roscoe) Pound Conference, which was convened by the Chief Justice of the United States and by the chief justices of the fifty States. To consider "the causes of popular dissatisfaction with the administration of justice." He was then selected to address the conference and thereafter served on a task force chaired by the attorney general of the United States to evaluate the work of the conference. He was called upon to testify before the House and before the Senate, both with respect to the revision of the Federal appellate system. And the recommendations of the Pound conference.
He received the National Alumni Achievement Award from George Washington University in 1970, and the Alumni Merit Honor Award from the University of Utah in 1976. In 1989, the Francis R. Kirkham professorship in the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University was founded to honor "the achievements of one of the country's most distinguished and gifted advocates."
Mr. Kirkham is survived by Ellis Shipp Musser, his wife of 67 years; his brother Don; his sisters Rose Kimball and Geraldine Monson; four children, James, Ellis Elizabeth (Judy) Stillman, Katherine Movius, and Eugene; 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Services were held in San Francisco with graveside services at the Kirkham family plot on Monday, October 28th, at 3 p.m., at the Lehi City Cemetery, 1100 North 400 East, Lehi, Utah County under direction of Larkin Mortuary.
The family suggests that any memorial contributions be to the Francis R. Kirkham Chair of Jurisprudence, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602.
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