David Straus, American Business Media's former Washington counsel, died Jan. 15 after a long battle with cancer. He was 66 years old.
Straus, who was a partner at law firm Thompson Coburn, was instrumental in fighting several winning battles against the Postal Rate Commission that helped hold down postal rates for b-to-b media companies. He also helped lobby for the CAN-SPAM Act.
“He did so much for our industry; it's remarkable,” said Gordon Hughes, former president-CEO of ABM.
Hughes continued: “I knew David for 16 years, and he was much more than an attorney to me. If I had to encapsulate him and his intellect and his capabilities as an attorney, I'd say if you saw him cross-examine someone, he could extract your teeth.
“He was just unbelievable in the courtroom. He could have been Perry Mason, but he did it with grace and he did it with humor.”
Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications Inc., which publishes Media Business, knew Straus well from his work with ABM's committee on Washington and legal affairs.
“David Straus was a wonderful individual and, more than that, knew more about postal regulations than anyone I ever met,” Crain said. “He was funny, sarcastic, witty and smart as a whip.”
Hughes said that in ABM's squabbles with the MPA over postal rates, Straus more than held his own against teams of lawyers on the other side. “He was literally David and they were Goliath,” Hughes said.