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Richard M. Sherman, In Memoriam


Irell & Manella LLP mourns the passing of its partner emeritus Richard Sherman who passed away on July 2.

“Rick was a true leader of the firm, and he led with a warmth and generosity that touched many of us,” said Matthew Ashley, a member of Irell’s Executive Committee. “In an era of increasing specialization, Rick Sherman was the rare generalist, but a generalist with specialist-like talents in whatever he endeavored to do. He litigated virtually every type of action imaginable and also managed complex transactions. He was equally comfortable in a boardroom, a courtroom, or a room full of insurance carriers and investment bankers. In short, Rick was a man of many talents and truly one of a kind.”

Rick joined Irell immediately after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1974. He served as managing partner of the Newport Beach office from 2002 to 2008, the maximum allowable tenure, and on the firm’s Executive Committee for 14 years. For five years, he was the executive vice president and general counsel of the William Lyon Company, and he also served as general counsel for CalAir, which was subsequently purchased by American Airlines. 

“Rick was truly a complete lawyer, in every sense. He could do it all,” said Michael Ermer, an Irell partner and former managing partner of the Newport Beach office. “Rick was a valued mentor and friend to so many of us. We all benefited from his kindness and the time he invested in us, despite all the other things he had going on. He was a pillar of the firm, especially the Newport Beach office, which he helped to found. Sadly, Rick experienced several serious health challenges during the last couple of years, but he faced them all with dignity and his signature good humor. I will be forever grateful for the positive impact Rick had on my career, and my life as a whole. To say he will be missed is a great understatement.”

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