Obit­u­ary

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.