In Memoriam: Ron Motley | The American Association For Justice Archive

In Memoriam: Ron Motley

Linda Lipsen
Thursday, August 22, 2013

We lost a giant today.

Ron Motley was one of the most creative, fearless lawyers I’ve ever known. He took the impossible cases no one else would take, delivering justice to families devastated by a litany of harmful products including asbestos, lead paint, and tobacco, just to name a few. Ron was one of the best courtroom lawyers EVER— a bold and dramatic legal pioneer. He literally created an avenue of redress for thousands who otherwise would have been left without a remedy. And he was a fiercely loyal friend. His contributions to AAJ, where he was a member for nearly 40 years, are immeasurable.

He is survived by his family, countless lawyers who became lawyers because of him, his grateful clients to whom he offered hope and a way back from their horrific losses, and his AAJ family. His partner Joe Rice worked with Ron to build Motley Rice into the firm it is today. 

I’d like to share with you Joe’s touching tribute to our dear friend Ron:

It is with the deepest sadness and most profound grief that I share with you that Motley Rice LLC co-founder Ronald L. Motley, 68, has passed away.

Ron was a true giant of the legal profession. A trail blazer and innovator. A charismatic master of the courtroom. A tenacious interrogator. The greatest trial lawyer ever. All marked by unmatched courage in going after any wrongdoer, no matter how big and powerful, and by his bottomless well of compassion for those who had been wronged.

Ron and I were partners and close friends for 35 years as we worked together to fight for our clients and their causes to build Motley Rice into what it is today. Not only is this a personal loss to me, Ron’s family, my family and our firm but also for so many more for whom Ron also was a devoted friend, mentor, collaborator, legal adversary and fellow crusader for justice.

Ron’s passing is an incalculable loss for all those he devoted his life’s work to, whether it was people harmed from asbestos exposure, State Attorneys General taking on Big Tobacco, 9/11 family members seeking to bankrupt terrorism, or anyone else who wanted his or her day in court to redress injustice. Ron proudly lived life as a trial lawyer.

All of us at Motley Rice will continue to devote ourselves to carrying Ron’s legacy forward and honoring his life and memory by redoubling our efforts to put the powerless on a level playing field with the powerful, to get them their day in court, and to win justice for all. As Ron would say, “We’ll leave no stone unturned.”

He will be greatly missed and forever remembered. Information on arrangements can be found here (