Austin L. Hogan, highly regarded product liability attorney

Posted: April 10, 2013

AUSTIN L. HOGAN liked to kick back on the rooftop deck of his Society Hill condominium overlooking the Delaware River and burn through books at a scary pace.

"He would devour a book in an hour and a half," said his wife, Margaret Leyden. "It was frightening."

Not only books but newspapers, local, national and even international, would fall into the maw of his insatiable greed for information and amusement.

And he often would turn from the printed page to his Kindle.

"He read everything," his wife said. "He wanted to know what was going on in the world."

Austin Hogan, a highly regarded lawyer who specialized in product liability cases and was most at home arguing cases in the courtroom, a devoted family man who was always there for his children and siblings no matter the severity of the problem, and a man with a sneaky sense of humor, died of complications of renal cancer on April 5. He was 75.

He was also a devoted Phillies fan who was ready with statistical analyses through good times and bad.

As a lawyer, Austin must have set some kind of record when he won 28 consecutive trials.

"He was the most intuitive trial lawyer I ever saw," said Thomas Goutman, a former colleague of Hogan's at the law firm White and Williams.

"He could make a very complex engineering issue very simple. He refused to use arcane jargon to show off his considerable intellect, and he never talked down to jurors - or anyone else."

Austin joined White and Williams in 1980. He arrived "with a reputation as a brilliant trial attorney specializing in the defense of product manufacturers in cases in which it was alleged that a defectively manufactured or designed product caused serious injury or death," the law firm said.

"In the years that followed, up until his retirement in June 2002, that reputation became national and international. Austin attracted clients from all over the U.S., Europe and Asia."

For a serious lawyer, exceptionally good at his work, Austin could disarm you with his wit, which often arrived unexpectedly and left you laughing.

"He was adorable," said longtime family friend Signe Wilkinson,

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