CHICAGO -- Chapman and Cutler LLP said it was mourning the loss of retired partner Ronald E. Rokosz, described as a "tour de force" who was instrumental in the development of credit enhancement, liquidity facilities and other bank products used in the public finance sector.
Rokosz, a leading international banking attorney and 40-year veteran of the firm, died Aug. 3 at his home in Lake Barrington, Ill. He was 71.
The Chicago native received his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1969. He joined Chapman and Cutler that same year and made partner in 1977.
Rokosz developed the firm's international banking practice, assisting foreign banks in legal matters and helping many establish Chicago offices. Rokosz' relationships with international banks led directly to the development of credit enhancement products and he helped structure some of the earliest letter of credit backed transactions for his banking clients. He also helped develop the firm's securitization practice.
Rokosz, a gifted musician who opted for a legal career over his work as a guitarist in his band The Royal Airs, was fondly remembered in a tribute circulated by Chapman for his business acumen, contributions to the firm's growth, role as a mentor, and sense of humor.
"I had the privilege of working with Ron for nearly 20 years," Chapman's chief executive partner Tim Mohan said in a tribute. "Many of us owe our careers at Chapman to Ron's work and unfailing generosity with his client relationships.
"Ron was very proud of being a Chapman partner, and his belief in the capabilities of the firm and its people was both genuine and contagious," Mohan said.
"Ron was always at the new frontier of the law where others would later travel," said Jim Spiotto, a retired Chapman partner who is a managing director at Chapman Strategic Advisors LLC. He called his longtime friend and colleague instrumental in the navigation of licensing and regulation of foreign banks, establishment of effective methods to save failing companies for lender or supplier clients, assured repayment structures for new forms of financing such as cross-border transactions, aircraft securitization, and sustainable sovereign debt restructuring.
Chapman partner Rick Cosgrove and Michael Maza, a managing director at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, called Rokosz a mentor.
"His quality of character and outsized sense of humor was contagious," Maza said.
Rokosz retired in 2007 and decided to teach himself to play the piano. He was known to take requests at gatherings.
Rokosz enjoyed his music, traveling, and spending time with his family in Marco Island, Fla.
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, his son, Christopher Rokosz; and his grandchildren, Amanda and Ashley.