A graduate of the St. Paul College of Law in 1926, Abner J. Swanson was a "government lawyer" for a quarter century. He served in the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department for fifteen years. After a year in private practice, he became counsel to the War Assets Administration, later the Reconstruction Finance Administration and finally the Federal National Mortgage Association.
He died on December 16, 1955, at age 51. In memorial services for the Hennepin County Bar Association the following year, Alex Leslie Janes Jr., recalled him:
"His right to be called a superior lawyer respects a more solid foundation; with abilities essentially of an intellectual order, he was a legal scholar in the full sense of the term. His mind was clear and quick, one that could make short work of the analysis of intricate legal problems, one that could go directly to the core of the matter in controversy with penetrating judgment. His language, written or spoken, though plain as to literary style, was like his thinking ? clear, concise and definite. Its meaning was never unmistakable."