Washington communications lawyer John Quale died Sunday from bladder cancer after battling the disease for the past eight years. Quale, 61, was a partner in the D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He maintained an active practice until three weeks before his death, primarily representing broadcast, satellite, and wireless companies, venture capital and investment firms, and commercial banks.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1971, Quale joined the Washington office of Kirkland & Ellis. In 1983, he and several others left the firm to found Wiley Rein. While at Wiley, Quale served as head of the mass media communications group and also met his future wife, Diane Zipursky Quale, who was an associate. Quale jumped to Skadden in 1996.
Over the years, says Skadden partner Antoinette Bush, Quale was a mentor to a number of younger lawyers, including Bush herself. She first met him in 1979, when she was a summer associate at Kirkland. She joined that firm as an associate in his practice and later moved with him to Wiley Rein. “John really was a unique partner in the sense that he really took a lot of time with all the associates that he worked with to make sure that they got good training,” says Bush.
She adds, “He was an amazing writer. He was a perfectionist.”
Bush says that up until a few weeks ago, Quale seemed to be doing well, but then his condition took a rapid turn for the worse. Even when he was undergoing treatment, Bush says Quale made it into the office or worked from home. “He really loved practicing law,” she says.
Quale is survived by his wife and five children. He and his wife founded the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network three years ago to raise awareness about the disease.
A memorial service for Quale will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the National Press Club.