A fallen Bronc: Rider says goodbye to former legal counsel

By Tatyanna Carman 

Former Rider Chief of Counsel Michael Spicer passed away on Sept. 4 at the age of 87. 

Spicer became chief of counsel at Rider in 2004 and was at the university for 11 years before retiring in 2015, according to General Counsel and Vice President for Legal Affairs Mark A. Solomon. 

Before that, Spicer worked on a consulting basis as outside counsel with Rider and then became a part-time employee after retiring from the Jamieson Moore Peskin and Spicer Law Firm, now known as Pepper Hamilton, according to Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Planning Debbie Stasolla. He was also a graduate from Dartmouth and Harvard Law School, according to the Murphy Funeral Home website. 

“Mike was a quiet but an important presence. He was your go-to guy for all things legal-related,” said Stasolla. “So, although Mike and I didn’t get a chance to work very directly together a lot, whenever I had a question related to board work or the bylaws or an action item or a resolution, Mike was always there to be of assistance.” 

Solomon was Spicer’s successor at Rider University and his former colleague at Pepper Hamilton. He joined the firm when Spicer joined in 1986. Spicer was practicing education law.

“Mike was one of the leading attorneys in this area in terms of banking and finance and corporate law and he was a real stand out guy, go-to guy. If you had banking issues, that was one of the first names that came up was Mike Spicer,” said Solomon.

Solomon also mentioned that Spicer was council to the NJ Bankers Association and worked closely on matters with the New Jersey Department of Insurance and Banking. Solomon reflected on his professional relationship with Spicer. 

“When I was at Jamieson I was an associate, he was a partner and then we became partners together and then when he came here to Rider he was my client, my firm’s client. So he would come back to Pepper Hamilton at that time in the Princeton office and we worked together, as did other attorneys in the Pepper firm with Mike in his capacity as council here,” Solomon said. “We had a number of years together and he taught me and a whole bunch of other young attorneys a lot about the practice of law. And as I said, [he] was a real leader in certain legal areas.” 

Solomon also said that the Rider community did not experience him the way the legal, corporate and banking community experienced him in the years when he was in private practice. However, he emphasized that Spicer had a great interest in education. 

“And one of the things I really appreciated about Mike was that you could just stop by his office with a quick question or ‘could you help me out with this,’ and he would be very glad to help you out, even if he was in the midst of something, so that was one of the things I especially appreciated about Mike,” Stasolla said. 

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