Dan Popeo, who died February 21 at 61, founded the Washington Legal Foundation in 1977 to champion free market principles and accountability in government. The blog of the Legal Times reported his death on Thursday, noting:
He attracted some prominent legal minds to tackle issues that impact the free enterprise system and individual rights. The group has been zealous in filing amicus briefs across the country in business-related litigation.
“Dan was a giant in that field,” said former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, the chairman of WLF’s Legal Policy Advisory Board. “The array of talent he could assemble on a given question was amazing.”
Thornburgh, of counsel at K&L Gates, said Popeo assembled discussion panels that had every top advocate who had argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Popeo “spoke in no uncertain terms” when criticizing government policies in newspaper opinion pieces, but in private “he was a very self-effacing kind of guy, he was not a self promoter,” Thornburgh said.
And Popeo was persistent, persuasive and engaging. “I think he felt he had a good product to sell,” Thornburgh said. “He was a good guy.”