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In Memoriam: Robert P. Style, Esq.

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Nov 8, 2011

September 13, 1943 – July 18, 2011

Editor’s Note: Bob Style’s passing was a loss to our community and we were saddened to hear the news earlier this summer. This tribute is from Bob’s professional colleague, Jeff Allen, as a memoriam to a valued member of the agency recruiting family. Out of respect for Bob and as a small tribute, we have added information on his passing to his online bio on The Fordyce Letter.

The passing of Bob Style happened quietly. As a result, I’m receiving calls from clients and friends – many of whom didn’t even know he died. Not fun to tell them.

Bob’s family has asked me to say a few words about him. I’m honored to do that, but a few words won’t do Bob justice. So I’ll say three words, and try in vain to convey what they mean.

“INDISPENSABLE”

There is simply no way to overstate the magnitude of our loss.

Bob started in our business as a corporate lawyer for Snelling and Snelling. Bob Snelling was building the first worldwide placement business — from “Fort Snelling” – brick by brick. Bob Style provided the mortar for “Dr. Bob.” In those early days, the challenge of complying with 50 constantly changing state incorporating, franchising, licensing, and consumer lending laws was almost impossible. The federal law made things even more confusing, but Bob made sense out of it.

I first met Bob in the 70’s when I worked a desk for one of Bob Snelling’s former franchisees. We hooked up again in the 80’s when we worked together to help the heavies in our business deregulate the “employer-paid-fee” segment of our business. He had gone into private practice, and had become the attorney for NAPC (now NAPS).

Think about steamrolling through 50 states, trying to stop government bureaucrats from regulating. Where would you start? There wasn’t even any Internet communication.

Bob came up with the firepower we needed. He prepared a chart of the “employment agency” regulations state by state, enabling comparisons between them, and eventually highlighting their absurdity.

The research and analysis required for something like that was nothing short of amazing. Just the number of hours to assemble the statutes, legislative opinions, cases, administrative rulings, and correspondence was staggering. Then to make sense out of that mess required skilled lawyering that few ever attain.

But as I got to know Bob, I discovered it was what he did and who he was. He made sense. Bob’s articles for staffing businesses on legal concepts, enactment of new laws, or relevant cases reflected depth and breadth. Depth by his intellect and breadth by his experience. He was always right because he did his homework.

Bob was one of the very few people who worked inside the legal underpinnings of what you do every day. That’s where the heavy lifting is done – constantly tracking proposed legislation, statutes, cases, administrative rulings, and legal treatises. Watching out for anything that could harm you in your activities. Alerting you to what to do, what to avoid, and how to become better at your mission.

Bob and I shared a love of certification. He loved it because it reflected the achievement of professionalism.

The institutional knowledge Bob developed throughout his career was simply irreplaceable.

“DEDICATED”

Bob was a lawyer’s lawyer.

Referring cases to him was automatic around here. I’d have trusted him with our law practice. Even with all of his personal turmoil, Bob was caring, interested, and most of all, kind.

Every so often, I’d get a call from someone wanting a “second opinion.” I’d say, “Sure. What did Bob tell you?” He was that good.

Bob served more than just paying clients. He served. He was in it to raise the bar, and he did that with distinction.

Bob epitomized the way a lawyer should conduct himself.

“RELIABLE”

Bob was rock solid. The real deal. The kind of person you could depend on. The kind of person you’d want with you in a canoe or a foxhole. He’d be right there, making sure you were okay. And you’d be okay because he was there.

That must be the highest praise of humankind.

If you knew him, you know it was well-deserved.

“Indispensable,” “dedicated,” and”reliable.” His last name was Style, but his middle initial should have been “C.’ “C” for Class.

That’s the best I can do, but it’s not good enough. How does one describe such a good friend? Such a brilliant scholar? Such a precious gem?

You look around for him and he’s gone. You call and the number’s disconnected. You email and there’s no address.

Life goes on, but the loss remains.

So please take a moment – even if you didn’t know this remarkable, understated man – and give thanks for all he did. Wow.

Bob suffered greatly in recent years. Unrelenting pain, the loss of his beloved wife Pat, and knowledge of his expiration date. If you’d like to share a story with his family and friends about how his generosity helped you, please:

  1. Go to www.philly.com.
  2. Click on Obituaries.
  3. Type Style in the field under Find a Death Notice.
  4. Click Search.
  5. Scroll down to ROBERT STYLE.
  6. Click Guest Book and enter your message.

Any ideas about a tribute to Bob would be greatly appreciated. You can reach me at (310)559-6000 or jeff@placementlaw.com. Thanks.

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