November 9, 2011
BU Law Mourns the Passing of Robert Grondine
|Dean Maureen O'Rourke presenting Grondine with a Silver Shingle award in October 2010|
In 2006, Grondine returned to BU Law to speak to J.D. and LL.M students about how to prepare for and achieve a career in international legal practice. He described how, as an undergraduate at Dartmouth, he had set his sights on Japan after his academic advisor encouraged him to find a niche in order to avoid the competition that was building in the legal profession.
“My advisor’s figures showed that, at the time, there were only maybe about 3,000 people in the United States who could speak Japanese,” Grondine recalled. “He said, ‘I don’t know how many of those people are lawyers, but probably not more than five or ten.’” After that conversation, Grondine committed himself to learning Japanese, spent a couple of years in Japan, and then enrolled at BU Law, already fluent in the language.
John Riccardi, assistant dean for graduate and international programs at BU Law, said that Grondine was always interested in helping young lawyers build international careers. “Bob was a great supporter of our LL.M. programs and was always available for help in recruiting Japanese candidates and also making connections for us with other White & Case offices throughout the world,” Riccardi said. “His practice experience in Tokyo and his involvement in the Chamber of Commerce and various professional organizations made him a very valuable resource—and he was always extremely generous and responsive whenever I had a question or was seeking advice. I never hesitated to contact him. He was a good friend of our program.”
Cornell Stinson, assistant dean for development and alumni relations, said that Grondine was equally generous when it came to supporting BU Law’s plans for strategic improvements. Stinson noted that Grondine was one of the Founding Benefactors who got involved very early in planning for the upcoming expansion and renovation of BU’s law campus and stepped forward with major gift commitments.
“Bob was a loyal and devoted alumnus, quick to provide very sound and balanced advice, and he made a point of flying back from Japan to attend Advisory Board meetings,” Stinson said. “His commitment and presence on the Board will be sorely missed.”
Grondine is survived by his wife Aiko and daughter Michelle.