Frederic L. “Rick” Ballard, Jr., who helped transform his great-grandfather’s small law office into the national firm of Ballard Spahr with more than 500 attorneys and a sizeable public finance practice, died unexpectedly on Sunday, May 11. He was 72.

Unbeknownst to many, Mr. Ballard had been battling lung cancer for almost two years. He had insisted on continuing to work through the illness, e-mailing and calling colleagues the day before he died.

Lawyers in the municipal bond market remembered Mr. Ballard as a highly respected attorney who mentored many, wrote a go-to book on arbitrage (ABCs of Arbitrage), and was deeply involved in projects undertaken by the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL) and the American Bar Association’s tax-exempt financing committee.

“He was a terrific guy,” said Walter St. Onge, a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP in Boston and a former NABL president. “It’s a terrible loss for our industry and his colleagues at Ballard, at NABL, and across the country.”

“He was an outstanding practitioner, a scholar, and tremendous contributor to the public finance industry and to NABL in particular,” said NABL President Allen Robertson, partner at Robinson, Bradshaw, & Hinson, P.A., in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. Robertson noted that Mr. Ballard was one of few public finance attorneys to win two of NABL’s most prestigious awards: the Bernard P. Friel Medal for Service in Public Finance in 2005, and the Frederick O. Keil Distinguished Service Award in 2007.

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