Press Releases

Sheppard Mullin Mourns Loss of Partner Bob Thompson

July 31, 2017

It is with great sadness that Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP reports that Robert A. Thompson, a partner who had been with the firm since 1995, passed away suddenly on July 29.  He was 74. 

Thompson was a member of Sheppard Mullin's Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group and based in the firm's San Francisco office.  He handled a broad range of commercial real estate matters, including investment, development, leasing, financing and land-use approvals for master-planned residential, office, mixed-use, hospital and other project types.  He was a leader in the evolving world of crafting “public private partnerships” and nationally recognized for his work on a number of bar association task forces setting standards for legal opinion practice. 

"Our firm is deeply saddened.  Bob was a premier lawyer and first-class person.  We will miss him.  Bob worked on some of the biggest and most prominent real estate projects in San Francisco.  He was universally respected by clients and colleagues alike,” said Guy Halgren, chairman of Sheppard Mullin.  "Bob also believed that lawyers have a fundamental obligation to do good.  His involvement in our pro bono program was long standing and involved activities both internal to the firm and in the larger San Francisco legal community.”

“I had the privilege of knowing and practicing law with Bob for over 46 years.  Bob was an exceptionally gifted lawyer, but above all else Bob had a generous, caring spirit, always going out of his way to help others,” said Randy Short, Sheppard Mullin of counsel.  “Bob was a class act, and we are all the better for having known him.”

“Bob was a friend, a collaborator and mentor to me for over 40 years.  Above all, he ‘loved the law’ (as those of us of the Joanie Caucus generation would say) for its intellectual rigor, its honesty, its role in protecting our nation’s fundamental values and persons of all means, backgrounds and walks of life,” said Joan Story, Sheppard Mullin of counsel.  “He will be sorely missed, but has left a big footprint.”

Thompson received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1969 and a B.A. from Stanford University in 1965. 

Over the course of his career, Thompson acted as counsel to a number of significant San Francisco projects, including San Francisco Centre, the Fillmore Center, Marathon Plaza, 505 Sansome Street, 100 Spear Street, 160 Spear Street, 210 California Street, 345 California Street, 595 Market Street and Embarcadero Center.  More recent San Francisco Projects include the Kaiser Permanente Geary Boulevard Campus and the "Macy's block" redevelopment at Union Square.

Thompson's more significant and "public/private partnership" projects include the new UCSF Mission Bay campus, the Westfield/Bloomingdale's shopping center, Pier One and the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard, Treasure Island Naval Station, and Presidio National Park.  His representation of the Presidio Trust has included the Letterman/Lucas Digital Arts Center and the Public Health Service residential project. He represented UCSF with respect to the acquisition and development of its new Mission Bay campus site, as well as the pioneering lease/leaseback development of the Sandler Neurosciences Center at Mission Bay. Other recent projects include the UC Davis West Campus, and the Pacific Union College Eco-Village (Angwin).

Among his many professional involvements, Thompson was a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers board of governors, chair of American College of Real Estate Lawyers’ Attorneys Opinion Committee, a member of Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society, chair of the Urban Land Institute San Francisco District Council, chair of the ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Section’s Committee on Legal Opinions in Real Estate Transactions, chair of the State Bar of California’s Committee on the Environment, and a charter member of the State Bar of California’s Executive Committee of Real Estate Section.