The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Legal Ethics Committee sends our heartfelt sympathies to the friends and family of Paul Vapnek, a renowned legal ethics and intellectual property lawyer, who passed away on February 28, 2015.
After clerking for U.S. District Judge William Sweigert of the Northern District of California, Paul practiced at Townsend and Townsend and Crew, now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, for his 50-year career. He was the first editor-in-chief of the State Bar’s Compendium on Professional Responsibility, chaired the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct of the State Bar of California, and co-authored the Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide on Professional Responsibility. Among many significant accomplishments and leadership roles, Paul rejuvenated the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Legal Ethics Committee in the 1970s. He remained an active member of the Legal Ethics Committee and most recently participated in a lively discussion at a monthly meeting relating to the California Supreme Court’s return of proposed Rules of Professional Conduct to the State Bar.
Fellow legal ethics and intellectual property lawyers and others who knew him uniformly describe Paul as a brilliant and kind colleague, counselor, and friend. His genuine love of the law inspired his colleagues, and he served as a mentor and role model for many students and attorneys.
Paul’s guidance, wisdom, experience and friendship will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. His remarkable contributions to legal ethics and intellectual property law will have long lasting, positive effects on the entire legal community.