Frost Brown Todd is saddened by the death of one of its partners, Rucker Todd. Todd, a corporate lawyer who was an early specialist in the laws of taxation, died on December 25. He was a founding partner of Brown, Todd & Heyburn in 1972, now Frost Brown Todd, and was the former chairman of the firm’s management committee, which was instrumental in shaping the firm as it is today.
Todd moved to Louisville in 1953 to join the firm of Bullitt, Dawson and Tarrant. In 1959 he became a partner in the firm of Brown, Ardery, Todd and Dudley, where he practiced as a tax lawyer during a time when there were few tax specialists in the state. As laws and regulations grew more numerous and complex, he became aware of the need for lawyers to specialize in a field of law. He approached the late Eli H. Brown, III and the late Henry R. Heyburn to discuss the consolidation of their firms into a practice, which would be divided into legal specialties. These discussions resulted in the 1972 consolidation of three firms: Brown, Eldred and Bonnie; Marshall, Cochran, Heyburn and Wells; and Brown, Ardery, Todd and Dudley into the new firm of Brown, Todd & Heyburn. Todd continued to practice tax law there, becoming chair of the firm after the death of Eli Brown in 1974. He retired in 1989.
C. Edward Glasscock, Frost Brown Todd’s Chairman Emeritus, was hired out of law school by Todd. Glasscock spoke on behalf of Frost Brown Todd regarding the firm’s founder, “Mr. Todd was not only a great practitioner, but he was a teacher of the law. Many of us owe him for the background we now have in the law, and for his insistence that we specialize and not become generalists.” Firm Chairman John R. Crockett III, said, “Mr. Todd took special interest in talent and commitment, and his demand for excellence guides us in all that we do today.”
Todd was a native of Kingsport, Tenn. He graduated from Emory University and from Harvard Law School, where he was third in his graduating class and a member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review. He was an officer in the United States Navy at the end of World War II and was on a ship whose crew provided occupation forces after the signing of the surrender by Japan. Before moving to Louisville, he practiced law in Cleveland, Ohio, with the firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue.
In 1957, Todd was elected to the board of the Jefferson County School System, where he served during the time of the system’s large school building program, which provided facilities for what would later become known as Baby Boomers. Always interested in music, he served as an active member on the board of the Louisville Orchestra. Todd was a student of languages and read texts in German long into his retirement.