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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin

In Memoriam Richard Ogle departed this earth on  Oct. 27, 2016 after a long fi ght with pulmonary fi brosis. To call his fi ght courageous would be to trivialize it. His fi ght was more than that. Richard accepted no sympathy and complained to no one. Th rough his long illness Richard was far more concerned with those who worried about him than he was with his own health. "Inspirational" is often overused, but not when referring to Richard Ogle.  Richard was born on March  11, 1942, in Birmingham. He attended Ramsey High School in Birmingham. Richard's work ethic was forged early and was well known. His fi rst job was at nine years old, shoveling coal into the furnace of an apartment building. He worked construction jobs while in high school while still managing to play on the school's football and baseball teams.   Richard was voted "Friendliest" by his Senior Class, a superlative that certainly fi t him.   Richard later attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of ODK, and then graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law. His le- Dan Sparks In Memory of Richard Ferrell Ogle gal career began in 1968 and he practiced law in Birmingham for almost 50 years. On May 1, 2008 Richard moved his practice to and joined Christian & Small LLP.  He had an immediate impact, not only in the fi rm's profi tability, but in its attitude. Richard was never afraid of a good fi ght and his attitude was infectious. Richard had no fear of any case, any client, any fact situation, any opposing counsel or any judge. His bravado was far from false.  Richard was a warrior and a genuine advocate for his clients. Everyone knew it. Some lawyers feared him, some loved him, but all of them respected him. Th e manner and passion with which we practice law at Christian & Small was forever impacted by Richard Ogle.  Richard had a sharp mind and a quick tongue. I am fond of the story about Richard beginning a complicated jury trial before a former Federal District Judge in Birmingham particularly known for exerting excessive control over the goings on in his courtroom. Richard was told by the judge he would have only 10 minutes to present his opening statement to the jury. Richard protested loudly that he could not possibly present his  opening statement in such a complicated case in only 10 minutes. He pleaded for more time, all to no avail. Th e trial began with Richard presenting his opening remarks to the jury. Precisely at the 10 minute mark, and mid-sentence, Richard was interrupted by the judge and unceremoniously told to sit down, as his time was up. Th e case then proceeded, as others do, with examination of witnesses and the taking of evidence from both sides. At the conclusion of the evidence, the judge called a side-bar conference with all of the lawyers. "Mr. Ogle", he said, "You are the plaintiff , how long do you need for closing argument?" "Well, fi rst I'll need time to fi nish my opening statement," Richard zinged back. Richard naturally got the full time for closing that he asked for. Richard had much to off er his clients and partners and was doing so up until his very fi nal months. He was working almost to his fi nal breath, having been in the offi ce only a few days before his last.  As recently as January 2016 Richard began a trial of an arbitration alongside two other Christian & Small partners. Richard  was lead counsel and strategist. On the fourth day of the trial, Richard became too ill to continue, an exacerbation of the terminal illness, which led to his hospitalization. Nevertheless, Richard mandated that he be reported to daily and consulted on strategy throughout the remaining eight days of the trial. (It is fi tting that Richard's client fully prevailed in this case which was to become a two week trial, and Richard's fi nal one).  Richard's compulsion to always do the right thing was evident in his mentoring to many younger lawyers, including those in our fi rm.  Many Christian & Small lawyers Continued on page 26 Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Spring 2017 17


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin
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