1940 - 2003


David Arthur Cathcart, a nationally prominent labor and employment law specialist, died on September 30 at home in Pasadena, California from cancer. He was 63 years old.

Mr. Cathcart was a senior partner in the international law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He was the founding chair of the American Employment Law Council and held many leadership positions in the American Bar Association, the Management Advisory Committee to the National Labor Relations Board, the California Employers Group, the National Employment Task Force of the American Arbitration Association, the International Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Mr. Cathcart was a senior editor of a widely used practice guide, the California Employment Litigation Practice Guide published in 2002, and editor-in-chief of the Five Year Cumulative Supplement to Employment Discrimination Law published in 1989. He served as co-chair of the annual American Law Institute of the American Bar Association Conference on Employment Discrimination and Civil Rights Actions in Federal and State Courts. In 1992 he was asked to help conduct a nationwide training seminar in which federal judges and lawyers throughout the US were introduced to The Civil Rights Acts of 1991. He was unanimously commended by the UK Chambers and Partners Guides to US Law Firms as a "star practitioner" in employment law in the United States.

Mr. Cathcart was a tireless teacher and mentor to many young lawyers. Ken Doran, Managing Partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, states that "even while battling cancer the last year of his life, Dave remained a wise counselor to his clients and to our associates and maintained his active leadership and charitable contributions to our community."

Mr. Cathcart made many commitments to public service. In the early 1970s as the Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator John V. Tunney he was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the Water Quality Act that has continued over the past 30 years to bring the standards of "fishing and swimming" to many of the nation's waterways. Former Senator Tunney stated, "Dave is one of the most remarkable men that I have ever worked with. His marvelous intellect and his prodigious energy and judgment made such a difference to so many people who have been beneficially affected by that legislation. He was such a pleasure to work with and his wry humor lightened so many tedious hours of negotiation. He had a powerful ethic of responsibility and love of his fellow man. It affected me greatly."

For 23 years Mr. Cathcart was a member of the Board of Governors of the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club where he helped to guide the Club's development to become the largest Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles County serving 6000 children and their families. The David A. Cathcart College Scholarship Fund has been established to provide annual needs-based scholarships to graduating Club members.

In recent years Mr. Cathcart has been a Director of numerous non-profit organizations including the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, the United States South African Leadership Development Program, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the Andover Development Board and the Berkshire National Fish Hatchery.

Mr. Cathcart was born in Pasadena, California and grew up in Palo Alto, California. He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, earned a BA with Great Distinction and Honors in History from Stanford University, an MA in Political Science from Harvard University’s Government Department and his law degree from Harvard Law School. He is survived by his wife, Janet Farley Cathcart, daughters Sarah and Rebecca, brothers Pat and Mike, thirteen nieces and nephews and his uncle, Robert S. Cathcart.  


The funeral will take place next Thursday, October 9th, at 3:30 PM at the Athenaeum, The Faculty Club, on the Cal Tech campus. The address is: 551 South Hill Avenue, Pasadena CA.