Friday, December 21, 2007

Bill Strauss: The Lawyer Who Became Beloved

Back when money-market funds were the Next Big Thing, Federated Investors sought to woo money from bank trust accounts. At first it was a hard sell. ("Are you crazy, Cratchett? If it weren't for float the bank gets from trust cash, we'd close your silly little department!")

To curry favor, Federated threw great parties during trust conferences. The one I remember best, in Washington, D. C., featured an orchestra of angels – well, they had wings – and a performance by the Capitol Steps.

My wife and I have loved that merry band of Capitol Hill pranksters ever since.

Sadly, today's Washington Post reports that Capitol Steps co-founder Bill Strauss died December 18th at age 60, after years of battling pancreatic cancer.

Strauss was a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law, with a Master's from the Kennedy School of Government, who wound up working on the staff of Senator Charles Percy. At a Christmas party in 1981, he and other Senate staffers performed some silly songs. The rest is . . . The Capitol Steps.

At a tribute to Strauss on the Steps web site, you can hear a sampling of songs, including two classic Christmas numbers.

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