Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton Mourns Loss of George Robert Richter, Jr.
Los Angeles, CA, July 16, 2002— George Robert Richter, Jr., one of the founding name partners of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, passed away Monday, July 15. He was 92.
"Our entire firm is deeply saddened, as George was not only a pioneer and an extraordinary lawyer, he was a fine human being. At the same time, we celebrate the fact that George had a long and wonderful life and lived it to its fullest," commented Guy Halgren, Chair of the Executive Committee.
Born in Blue Island, Illinois in 1910, Richter moved to Los Angeles with his family after graduating from Culver Military Academy. He received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of Southern California, in 1930 and 1933, respectively.
Richter joined Mathes & Sheppard, as the firm was known, as a law clerk, in 1932. Both he and J. Stanley Mullin, who passed away in 2000, joined the Firm as associates, upon completion of their legal studies in 1933. After two years, Richter interrupted his employment with Mathes & Sheppard to accept a position in the legal department of Security First National Bank. While at Security First, he began developing his expertise in commercial and banking law. He returned to the firm in 1936, serving lending clients and becoming an expert in labor law. Richter became a partner in 1941, and a name partner in 1945. His stint at Security First, meanwhile, resulted in a 60-year relationship between the bank and the firm.
"He was really, really respected. I don't think he had an enemy in the world," said Merrill Francis, who was Richter's partner for many years in the firm's Banking & Finance Practice Group. J. Stanley Mullin once described Richter as the "best lawyer west of the Mississippi." He also said that Richter was "so quiet, he could never be identified as seeking legal business." Yet clients sought him out because of his fine legal mind and his efficiency.
Specializing in both labor law and banking and financial law, Richter headed up each of those practices at various periods during his career. For the next several decades, he played a crucial role at the Firm, as it grew to seven offices.
Richter also chaired a number of committees for the American Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Bar Association., as well as held a number of public posts, including a turn as Chair of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws., Chair of the Conference on Personal Finance Law, and Chair of the State Bar of California Committee on Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). His efforts led to the passage of the UCC in California.
In addition to being a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Richter maintained active participation in the American Law Institute. He was also an enthusiastic and dedicated supporter of numerous local community and philanthropic endeavors, including the Board of Trustees of the Newport Harbor Art Museum and St. Joseph's Hospital. Richter also supported USC Law School, by contributing to the advancement of teaching, research and scholarship. In recognition of his support, the main entrance lobby at the USC Law School was named the George R. Richter Commons.
A resident of La Jolla, California, Richter spent his last five years there. He enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family in Palm Desert. He is survived by his wife, Betty Jane Richter, and son and daughter, Craig Richter and Georgann Lovejoy. A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 20, at 2:30 p.m., at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, located at 3500 Pacific View Drive.
Pursuant to Richter’s wishes, the family asks that donations be made to The Law School, University of Southern California.
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