David L. Cohen was in a board of directors meeting at Comcast Corp. when he received word that Arthur Makadon, the former Chair of Ballard Spahr whom Mr. Cohen called “my closest confidant” and “my best friend,” had died at age 70.

Mr. Cohen said that in addition to being a great lawyer and mentor, Mr. Makadon was a trusted adviser to generations of local lawyers, businesspeople, and politicians. “He was always behind the scenes and you never heard about it,” Mr. Cohen said. “But decision-makers turned to him for two reasons—instinct and judgment.”

Among those who sought Mr. Makadon’s counsel was former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, who first met Mr. Makadon in 1968, when both men were prosecutors working for then-Philadelphia District Attorney Arlen Specter.

“He was a tremendous help to me even though he never worked directly for me,” said Governor Rendell, now special counsel at Ballard Spahr. “He never changed in the 45 years I knew him. He was energetic, irreverent, effective, and he feared nothing. And as good of a managing partner as he was, he was an even better litigator.”

People

Edward G. Rendell