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VOL. 123 | NO. 220 | Monday, November 10, 2008

West Memphis Lawyer Dies Of Brain Aneurysm

By Rebekah Hearn

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Kent J. Rubens of the West Memphis law firm Rieves, Rubens & Mayton passed away Wednesday from complications of a brain aneurysm. Although based in Arkansas, Rubens was a well-known litigator in the Memphis legal community.

Rubens was transported from Crittenden Regional Hospital to Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, where he later died.

“He was a real pleasure to work with,” said Rubens’ law firm partner Elton Rieves III. “He and I never had one cross word the entire time we were partners. He had one of the best minds, if not the best legal mind, I’ve ever been associated with.

“Kent was a workaholic; I’ve known him many times to tell me he got to the office at 2:30 or 3 o’clock in the morning. He worked seven days a week. The only socializing I ever knew him to do was to go to his good friend Ronnie Grisanti’s restaurant in Memphis.”

Rubens received his juris doctorate from the University of Arkansas Leflar Law Center in Fayetteville in 1971, and was admitted to practice in Arkansas, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Rubens clerked for Judge John A. Fogleman, an associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court, from 1971 to 1972. Rubens also served as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981 and as the special chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1989.

Rieves said he nominated Rubens to the American College of Trial Lawyers “about three years ago,” and said “he was thrilled to be in that organization.”

“He was just elected vice chair of the Arkansas group of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and he probably would have been the chairman of the Arkansas group next year,” Rieves said.

Rubens also was a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. To be considered for the ABOTA, an attorney has to rank highly among his or her colleagues for 15 consecutive years and have a clean record.

Rubens practiced mostly in the areas of litigation, banking, insurance defense, employment litigation and white-collar criminal defense.

He is survived by his wife, Belynda Rubens. Services were held Saturday at West Memphis High School Auditorium. Rubens was eulogized by Federal Judge William R. Wilson Jr. of Little Rock.

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