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Marquette University Alumni Association

Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award

Richard T. McDermottRICHARD T. McDERMOTT, ARTS '62

New York

“The idea is to try to get better every day.” That’s Dick McDermott’s formula for success.

A retired partner of the global law firm Clifford Chance, Dick specialized in business mergers and acquisitions for 37 years and now teaches corporate finance as an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law.

But getting better means going further.

Beyond Fordham’s students, Dick shapes business lawyers across the country and around the world. He wrote a casebook — now in its fourth edition — that 22 law schools nationwide use, and he has shared his knowledge as an adjunct professor for 19 years at the New York University School of Law and as a visiting lecturer at two Australian law schools. Dick also devoted seven years to training more than 300 associates and counsels in the Americas region for Clifford Chance.

But the formula doesn’t allow Dick to be complacent as an educator. He has advised professional services firms as a principal of the Practice Development Counsel and mediates corporate, commercial and securities cases as a special master of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. He also is a former consultant to Moody’s Financial Services and a member of the Research Independence Council — a joint venture of NASDAQ and Reuters — and has served on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association and New York Bar Association’s Committee on Securities Regulation.

Dick is also committed to service. He is a member of the Clifford Chance Foundation Board and led a nonprofit corporation that provides social and educational programming to the poor in Brooklyn. Lest his formula exclude his alma mater, Dick enthusiastically advocates and supports Marquette’s CIRCLES alumni networking program.

Fun facts about Dick:
Hometown: Whitefish Bay, Wis.
Favorite book: The Match by Mark Frost
Someone alive or dead he’d like to have dinner with: Al McGuire
The Marquette faculty member who had an impact on Dick: Rev. Francis Paul Prucha, S.J.
Favorite Marquette memory: When his wife, Mary Pat Scanlon, was voted the 1962 Engineering Sweetheart.
In grade school, Dick wanted to be a lawyer. His dad was a lawyer and a “cool guy” whom everyone respected.
Most influential person in Dick’s life: His wife, Mary Pat