Daniel Scott Sharp, known as a warrior for his clients, a champion of civil rights, and for his unfailing love and devotion to his wife and law partner, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, died Saturday at the Kaplan House, Hospice of the North Shore, Danvers, Massachusetts. He was 57 years old. Daniel was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Alan Edwin Sharp and Mary (McLellan) Sharp.
Daniel was a veteran of the Vietnam Era, serving his time as a supervisor of the Intelligence Communications Center in Wiesbaden near Frankfurt, West Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1974, at which time he held a Top Secret clearance. Daniel showed his brilliance in human relations when he improved the morale of the entire staff at the Intelligence Communications Center by re-organizing the shifts and making sure his colleagues got enough rest and recreation.
When the Sergeant Major of the Army could not persuade Daniel to re-enlist, Daniel returned to the United States in 1974. He attended the University of Michigan while running political campaigns and working full time in the Michigan House of Representatives as the aide to Perry Bullard (D-Ann Arbor) chair of the state House Judiciary Committee. Among other notable activities, under the auspices of Rep. Bullard, Daniel authored the Michigan Open Meetings Act, the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, the Employee Right to Know Act and assisted Rep. Bullard in blocking legislation making it easier for police to conduct wiretaps and enter homes in the absence of a warrant.
While working for Rep. Bullard, writing news releases, proposed legislation and managing the staff for Rep. Bullard, Daniel studied part time in Ann Arbor, graduating from the University of Michigan in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. He graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1986 summa cum laude. On graduating from law school, Daniel became the publisher of Michigan Lawyers Weekly, a weekly newspaper for lawyers, where he pulled off a publishing miracle by running it ‘in the black’ within the first eighteen months. He started “the most popular opinions” and many other innovations used by the Lawyers Weekly newspapers to this day. He also framed the concept of what is now Lawyers Weekly USA. While continuing to publish Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Daniel was asked to come to Boston to publish Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, and Lawyers Alert (which became Lawyers Weekly USA).
Never content to sit on the sidelines, in 1994, Daniel decided to follow his dream of becoming a practicing trial lawyer. In the 15 years that Daniel practiced he won significant awards and achieved great results for his clients in state and federal court. Daniel’s sophisticated grasp of the rules of procedure and the rules of evidence caused fellow lawyers and judges to recognize him as a highly competent and elegant litigator. He was not afraid of anyone and was always ready to take on bullies in the private and public sectors. He was most proud of his father, Alan, a WWII bomber pilot who was his hero and his model.
Daniel practiced law in Marblehead with his wife, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, whom he married in 1989. Both Elaine and Dan shared many interests, having both worked in print journalism, both graduating from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and both being lawyers. They had an enviable marriage, and enjoyed sailing, entertaining, and trying cases together.
Daniel is survived by his wife and law partner, Elaine of Marblehead, Massachusetts; his father, Alan Edwin Sharp of Johnstown, Ohio; his brother, David Alan Sharp and sister-in-law Nancy Sharp of Alcalde, New Mexico; his paternal aunt, Dorothy Pawluk of Flint, Michigan; and a niece and nephew. Daniel’s mother, Mary McLellan Sharp, predeceased him in 1986.
Daniel was an accomplished sailor who knew he could not direct the wind, but could adjust his sails. He is sailing now on that endless sea of calm and peace, free from the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumor that ravaged his body and took him from us. With the final battle over, Daniel’s tender love, generosity, brilliant mind and sharp wit will be greatly missed by his wife, Elaine, his family, friends, and clients, and his unfailing honesty and integrity will be missed by lawyers, judges and court staff in Michigan, Massachusetts and in all states where he practiced law. May he rest in peace as we treasure his memory.