Fredrick Swaab will be forever recognised for his legacy of innovation and generosity of spirit.
In early 2016, Fred Swaab, entrepreneur and founder of Sydney-based Swaab Attorneys, sadly lost his long battle with ill health.
Fred founded the mid-tier aspirational firm in 1981, which he led until 2010, when he retired as managing partner to become Chairman. He worked tirelessly to create a law firm with an innovative edge and a culture that was reflective of his care for people’s well-being and personal “spirit”.
Fred had a genuine interest in every member of staff, clients and individuals in his large network of contacts. He was known for his generosity – of spirit and time, as well as financial generosity. Throughout his career, Fred mentored many lawyers, some of whom never even worked for Swaab Attorneys providing both insight and guidance. He invested much of his time and often his finances in both up-and-coming entrepreneurs and established business people. It was not unusual for Fred to offer a client or a start-up business the use of a spare office at Swaab Attorneys on a semi-permanent basis.
He has left an indelible mark of generosity on the firm he built and in the business and legal community he served. Characteristically Fred had the foresight to develop a succession plan for his firm over 12 years ago, which he successfully implemented.
Fred also held long standing roles including Chairman of the recently publicly listed company, Pureprofile Limited, Director of UXC Limited and President of the Melanoma Foundation.
Born in the Netherlands, Fred emigrated to Australia as a young child. He spent his childhood in Sydney’s northern beaches. He graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Arts in 1970 and from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws in 1974. A short number of years after Fred was admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of NSW in 1974, he established his own firm, which he grew to a partnership of 12 lawyers before he retired from day-to-day firm management when he first fell ill with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in October 2010. Fred underwent a successful stem cell transplant in March 2011, made a full recovery and returned to Swaab Attorneys as Chairman. After travelling to America to meet his donor, Fred said, “Of all the highlights in my life, meeting my donor, David, will be up there with the best of them”. Sadly, Fred was re-diagnosed in early 2015 and struggled to recover from the complications.
Besides his contribution to Sydney’s business community, Fred was a talented competitive swimmer and a life member and strong supporter of the Bondi Icebergs. Fred’s swimming was important to his physical and spiritual well-being, even during his illness.
Fred will be sadly missed by the partners and staff of Swaab Attorneys, many of whom worked with Fred over many years.
Fred is survived by his wife, Judy, his daughters Nikki and Jessica, sons in law, Mark and Gavin and his 5 grandchildren Joel, Sam, Georgia, Olivia and Josh. The partners of Swaab Attorneys extend their sincere condolences to Fred’s family and friends.