Eric Lanphere was a knowledgeable lawyer, an exceptional trial attorney and “down to earth,” recalled his friend and former law partner, state Rep. Jim Dines
Lanphere, who attended Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School, died on Nov. 9, after a lengthy illness. He was 81.
A service in his honor will be held at 3 p.m., Friday, at Hope Evangelical Free Church, 4710 Juan Tabo NE. Cremation has taken place and a private family burial will be conducted at a later date.
“We practiced and handled cases and trials together for a number of years at Johnson and Lanphere. I joined the firm in 1979 and was there until 1987, when he left and I went off to start my own law firm,” Dines said. “Eric was an exceptional trial attorney, in fact one of the more gifted trial attorneys that I knew. He was extremely bright and always brought a practical approach to cases, along with an ability to speak to people directly.”
Further, Lanphere’s mastery of the law was unparalleled. “He was, perhaps, one of the most knowledgeable attorneys that I have encountered in my career,” Dines said, “but he coupled that with being down to earth.”
He and Lanphere often traveled around the country together in connection with legal cases. “He was a fun guy to be around. He liked to tell jokes, he laughed a lot and he enjoyed getting out and meeting people.”
An inside joke the two men shared concerned Lanphere’s love of red chile and his inability to get it all in his mouth. “If he was wearing a new tie, he always wound up with the chile on his tie,” Dines said.
As part of his legal repertoire, Lanphere was also the general counsel for the Albuquerque Journal for many years, preceding Dines, who later served as the newspaper’s general counsel.
Mike Gallagher, a longtime investigative reporter for the Journal who worked with Lanphere on several projects, said, “Eric was always a gentleman and a strong believer in the First Amendment and the role of newspapers in our society.”
Outside of his legal career and his stellar reputation in the legal community, Lanphere was a dedicated family man. He and his wife, Carolyn, were married for 48 years.
He is also survived by his son Eric Lanphere and Eric’s wife, Debbie; stepdaughter Kimberley Lang; grandchildren, Daniel Lanphere, of Corrales; twins Brittany Lang and Maggie Lang, of San Diego, Calif.; and Geneva and Giles Kirshner, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Lanphere was preceded in death by his only brother, Lloyd Lanphere, his stepdaughter Marcelle Kirshner, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and grandson Tommy Lang, of Albuquerque.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions please be made to Hope Evangelical Free Church.