Robert Jerome Lipshutz, 88: Atlantan was White House counsel for President Jimmy Carter

Robert Lipshutz had tremendous respect and admiration for former President Jimmy Carter. He didn't waver when some friends deserted the one-term commander-in-chief  because of a position he took or something he said.

"When there was pressure to confirm what Carter should or should not be doing, he made his independent decisions," said a son, Randall M. Lipshutz of  Dunwoody. "If there were consequences, so be it."

In 2006 Mr. Carter said Israeli policy in the West Bank represented instances of apartheid worse than what once ruled in South Africa. The telephone at the Lipshutz home rang constantly during the fall-out.

"Bob was in the hospital, so I was the one who got all the phone calls," recalled  Betty Beck Rosenberg Lipshutz, his wife of 37 years. "Bob had tremendous love for his country, his family and the privilege of working with President Carter."

From January 1977 to October 1979, Mr. Lipshutz served as the president's White House counsel. Afterward, he remained a close friend and confidant of Mr. Carter. He served as his personal attorney and was trustee emeritus of the Carter Center.

Robert Jerome Lipshutz, 88, died Saturday of complications from various illnesses at Atlanta Hospice. The Carters, who had been in touch, were unable to attend the funeral, which was held Monday and handled by Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care.

An Atlanta native, Mr. Lipshutz  attended Boys High and earned his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Georgia. He served in the U.S. Army three years during World War II.

In 1947, he opened a private practice in Atlanta. An acquaintance introduced the lawyer to Mr. Carter during the politician's first bid for governor. Mr. Lipshutz worked behind the scenes on that campaign, but played a more visible role during Mr. Carter's second bid for the office. Once elected governor, Mr. Carter appointed Mr. Lipshutz to various commissions during his term.

Mr. Lipshutz served as Mr. Carter's national campaign treasurer when he ran for president in 1976. In Washington, the president filled key posts with trusted advisers known as the "Georgia Mafia." Among them was Mr. Lipshutz, the grandson of Russian refugees.

His son said Mr. Lipshutz was pleased with the accomplishments of the Carter administration.

"They increased female  judicial appointments and the number of blacks in high positions," said Randall Lipshutz, who remembers his father's wood-paneled office in the West Wing. "And with the Camp David Accords, Dad was knee-deep in all of that."

Michael H. Cardozo, a deputy associate counsel for Mr. Carter, called Mr. Lipshutz a self-made man, soldier, attorney and friend of Israel.

"He was a senior partner of what, in essence, was a small law office in the White House," Mr. Cardozo said. "He provided sound advice to the president on issues that fell under his jurisdiction."

After his time in Washington, Mr. Lipshutz returned to Atlanta and specialized in corporate, financial and real estate law, among other areas.  He was a board trustee of the Atlanta Jewish Federation and served as a trustee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

His first wife, Barbara Levin Lipshutz, died in 1970. He remarried in 1973.

Additional survivors include three daughters, Judith Ann Lipshutz of Atlanta, Wendy Jean Lipshutz of Alpharetta and Debbie Sue Lipshutz of Philadelphia; a stepson, Robert D. Rosenberg of McLean, Va.; a stepdaughter, Nancy F. Rosenberg of Brooklyn, N.Y.;  and nine grandchildren.