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Obituaries

George Richter Jr., 92; Wrote Business Laws

July 18, 2002|DENNIS McLELLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

George R. Richter Jr., a founding partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton who helped draft the state Uniform Commercial Code governing all commercial transactions, has died. He was 92.

Richter, who specialized in labor law and banking and financial law, died Monday in La Jolla. The cause of death was not announced.

Richter, who headed a number of committees for the American Bar Assn. and the Los Angeles County Bar Assn., had a long involvement with the Uniform Commercial Code.

In 1948, he was appointed chairman of the first State Bar of California committee to study the code.

In 1953 he became a member of the permanent editorial board of the Uniform Commercial Code.

He also served as president of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws from 1959 through 1961.

And from 1951 through 1986, he served as a member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws and was commission chairman from 1956 through 1973.

In 1963, the state Legislature passed a resolution recognizing his work.

In 1999, Richter donated $1 million for the advancement of teaching, research and scholarship at his alma mater, the USC School of Law.

"George Richter is a shining example of the consummate lawyer, one who has practiced law at the highest levels of professionalism and contributed significantly to the improvement of the legal system through his truly outstanding work with the movement to create uniform state laws," Scott H. Bice, the dean of the law school, said of him at the time.

In recognition of his gift, the lobby of the main entrance to the law school was dedicated as the George R. Richter Commons.

Born in Blue Island, Ill., in 1910, Richter moved with his family to Los Angeles after graduating from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind.

He earned his undergraduate degree from USC, and while attending law school he joined what was then Mathes & Sheppard as a law clerk in 1932.

After being admitted to the state bar in 1933, he became an associate at the firm.

But it was the Depression and clients were few.

No longer able to afford Richter's $85 monthly salary, Mathes & Sheppard in 1934 gave him a leave of absence until the firm could afford to take him back.

Richter joined the legal department of Security First National Bank in downtown Los Angeles, where he began developing an expertise in commercial and banking law.

After returning to Mathes & Sheppard in 1936, he served lending clients and became an expert in labor law. Richter became a partner in 1941 and a name partner in 1945.

He supported numerous local community and philanthropic causes, including St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange.

Richter also served on the board of trustees of the Newport Harbor Art Museum, now the Orange County Museum of Art.

Richter is survived by his wife, Betty Jane; his son, Craig, of Laguna Beach; and his daughter, Georgann Lovejoy, of Palm Desert.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Pacific View Memorial Park, 3500 Pacific View Drive, Corona del Mar.

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