Richard P. Sher, noted attorney-mediator, dies at 68

Richard P. Sher

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Richard P. Sher, a noted attorney-mediator, was often described as a “mensch” by his family, friends, legal colleagues and clients. Mr. Sher, who brought those qualities of compassion and fair-mindedness into his legal specialty of conflict resolution, died Dec. 8 at the age of 68.

Richard Philip Sher was born Oct. 30, 1950 in Kansas City, Mo., the son of Martha Abend Sher and Abbot Sher.  He was married for 46 years to the former Linda Zellinger. 

Mr. Sher was a 1968 graduate of Pembroke Country Day School in Kansas City, a 1972 graduate of Northwestern University, and a 1974 honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School.  He decided to specialize in mediation because he saw it as an unmet need and sought to fill it.  

He was a founder and managing member of Sher Corwin Winters, where he had a broad practice in civil trial matters and alternative dispute resolution. He served as mediator for more than 3,000 cases during his career.

Mr. Sher was a past president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Attorney Mediators and a former member of its national board of directors.  In 2011, he was inducted as a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators. He was a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and was president of the Association of Attorney-Mediators and the American Bar Association Litigation Section. Mr. Sher served as co-editor of the Fall 2014 issue of the St. Louis Bar Journal, which was devoted exclusively to alternative dispute resolution. Among many honors, Mr. Sher was listed among the Best Lawyers from 2008 onward and was named the 2018 Best Lawyer of the Year, Arbitration, by Best Lawyers.

Mr. Sher trained dozens of mediators and arbitrators in the St. Louis area and served as an alternative dispute resolution advisor and rules draftsman for both state and federal courts. He was a member of the Missouri Bar and was licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals in several circuits.

Mr. Sher’s many law clients and colleagues through the years of his practice admired his human qualities as assets to his sensitive area of legal work.

When asked what personal qualities best describe her late husband, Linda Sher, said, “Certainly he was a mensch, always sensitive and thoughtful to everyone who knew him or worked with him. I would add considerate, patient, curious, a life-long learner, generous and relentless.”

In 2010, the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Missouri honored Richard and Linda Sher with the organization’s Leon Neuman Distinguished Service Award at its annual Silver Ball Fundraiser. The couple had co-chaired the event for six years. 

Mr. Sher, who had played baseball in college and was a “huge sports fan” according to his widow, “was always forward-looking and even had planned to go to the 2019 Super Bowl.  He was a strong Kansas City Chiefs fan, and also enjoyed golf.”

Funeral services were held Dec. 10 at Temple Israel, where Rabbi Amy Feder officiated. Burial was at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery on Ladue Road.

In addition to his wife, Linda Zellinger Sher, Mr. Sher is survived by the couple’s children, Jenny (Jason) Lew and Amanda Sher (Matt Wagner), and four grandchildren.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the charity of the donor’s choice.