Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, November 22, 2002


Page 3


Memorial to Be Held for Downtown Sole Practitioner Lair Franklin Jr.


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Memorial services have been scheduled for tomorrow for Lair Franklin Jr. a sole practitioner in criminal defense.

Franklin, 53, of Beverly Hills, passed away Monday from liver cancer, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Meigs said.

Steven Friedman, another sole practitioner who shared Franklin’s downtown office, said Franklin was well-respected by the lawyers and judges he worked with for his integrity.

“[He was] not someone who would use chicanery and trickery to get a client off,” Friedman said. “He had a voice that was given acceptance. If he said it, then his word was his bond.”

“Lair’s the type of person what we’re looking for all lawyers to be like, as far as civility goes,” Meigs, a family friend, said. “Most people considered him to be a real gentleman. I’ve never heard him raise his voice. I really think that he emphasized civility among lawyers.”

Friedman also said Franklin was outgoing and well-liked, even by those who didn’t know him well. He said when he ate at a restaurant Monday that he and Franklin had often visited and told the owner of Franklin’s death, she “just broke down in tears”—a reaction he said is typical even of people who were not close to Franklin.

Perry Howard, who said he had been friends with Franklin since they were children, echoed that praise.

“People would just come up to him on the streets and just start talking to him, and he would talk right back to them,” Howard said.

Howard described Franklin as a man who loved challenges, and usually came out on top of them. He also said Franklin loved sports, both watching them-he was a UCLA football fan—and participating in them.

Franklin graduated from California State University Los Angeles in the early 1970s with an undergraduate degree in history, and spent some time driving around the country, living briefly in Boston before returning to Los Angeles-though Howard says Franklin never really left Los Angeles. Howard and Friedman said Franklin was still exploring what to do with his life at that time.

Clarity may have come in the form of a neighbor who was a lawyer, who Friedman said may have inspired Franklin to attend law school as an example of another black man who had struggled to become a lawyer.

“I think he looked over and had a sense that as a black man in the mid- to late sixties, early seventies, he had a [positive] role he could play,” Friedman said.

After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1978, Franklin was active in the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Criminal Law Executive Section Committee and in the John M. Langston Bar Association.

Franklin is survived by his daughter, Roxanne Franklin of New Orleans; parents, Lair and Beryl Franklin of Los Angeles; sister and brother-in law, Corliss and Richard Leathers of Los Angeles; nephews, Matthew and Daniel Leathers; and many other relatives and friends.

A memorial service for Franklin will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, 2085 S. Hobart Avenue in Los Angeles. Notes, cards and other expressions of sympathy may be sent to Dr. and Mrs. Richard Leathers in care of the church.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company