Farewell to a Founder - Michael J. Duckor (1945-2017)

March 23, 2017

            March 6, 2017, marked the end of an era for DSMW.  On that day, Michael J. Duckor, one of the firm’s founders, passed away.  He left behind a legacy we will continue to recognize and honor.

            In 1977, Gary Spradling and Mike had the foresight and courage to leave the security of their respective practices at Gray, Cary, Ames and Frye, one of San Diego’s largest and respected law firms.  They launched our firm at that time under the name of Duckor and Spradling.

            For the last forty years, the firm has maintained the standards they established and demanded for high quality transactional and litigation work, serving thousands of clients in the process.  By establishing the firm, they have given meaningful work to hundreds of people over that period.

            Mike was a central, driving part of the firm’s continued success.  He was a smart and talented litigator.  Moreover, he was attuned to clients’ needs while handling cases.  Clients were loyal to him and many were attracted to the firm by his personality and handling of their disputes.

            In addition to his work in the courts and his management duties with the firm, Mike was well known and appreciated in the San Diego legal community.  He was one of the lawyers instrumental in founding the San Diego chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.  He served on its board of trustees and, eventually, as its President.  He remained very active in that and other groups during his legal career.

            Always one to see the value in properly assessing a case at an early stage and explore alternative dispute resolution, Mike was eventually asked by the Courts to assist in mediating construction disputes.  He did so very successfully, and that part of his practice grew rapidly.  During the last years before his retirement, and after it, Mike successfully mediated many cases.  He won much recognition for his efforts in that area.  During his practice, he constantly reminded younger lawyers at the firm to keep in mind their clients’ interests and, if appropriate, to explore the possibility of settlement at all stages of a case.

            As much as anything else, all of us will miss Mike’s incessant good cheer and friendship.  It was a pleasure seeing him at the start of a day.  Inside the firm and out, he was quick with a greeting, a smile and a question about how you were doing.  Always one who cared deeply about his family, he would take interest in all of ours and helped establish a family-friendly culture at DSMW. 

            All of us at DSMW are grateful for our time with Mike and will miss him greatly.  We send our deepest condolences to his wife Linda and their family.  We encourage you to read Mike’s full obituary to learn more about his life.