Richard Lawrence Muglia died from complications of pancreatic cancer on April 30 at home in Chilmark. He was 71.

He was born in North Plainfield, N.J. on Jan. 29, 1951, and grew up in central New Jersey. His father, Anthony Peter Muglia, was a building contractor. His mother, Mary Bencivengo Muglia, managed a household of three sons and two daughters.

He attended Williams College, where he earned a degree in political science in 1973, and built a cadre of friends who have remained close ever since. In 1976 he received a master’s degree in public health from Yale University, where he was named the E. Richard Weinerman Fellow. He received his law degree from Columbia University, where he was named a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, in 1982.

As a partner at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, he spent the bulk of his career in Europe, Russia and former Soviet bloc countries, During his legal career he represented investment banks, international corporations and individuals in transactions involving listings on the New York and London stock exchanges, debt and equity securities issuances, and provided advice regarding mergers and acquisitions. He specialized in the privatization of state-owned telecommunication companies, including those in Portugal, Spain and Sweden, among others.

Following his retirement from Skadden Arps, he was general counsel and secretary of Tronox, a New York Stock Exchange-listed mining and chemical company based in Stamford, Conn.

His life’s work took place in the fast-paced corridors of international law but the true loves of his life was found in quieter moments with his family: fly fishing in the rivers and streams of western Montana, gardening at home in Chilmark, and sharing a laugh and a story over a fine glass of wine or one of his perfectly-mixed gin martinis.

To his friends and family, he was known for his brilliant mind, his generous spirit, sartorial style, and hearty laugh.

He is survived by his wife Ellen; his son Sam and his wife Haley McMillen, of Pasadena, Calif.; his daughter Alice and her husband Bill Russo, of Washington, D.C.; two sisters, Anita of Pittstown, N.J. and Ann Marie Zampella of Kansas City, Mo.; a brother, Anthony of Lebanon, N.J.; and one grandchild. His older brother Carl predeceased him.

Donations can be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard at or to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at