Long time Ann Arbor lawyer dies at age 86

Lawrence “Larry” Sperling, a partner in the Ann Arbor firm of Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., died August 3 at the age of 86. He joined the Washtenaw County Bar Association in 1958 and was a Life Member.

A graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, he received a J.D. with Distinction from Michigan Law School in 1956, where he was Associate Editor of the Michigan Law Review and Order of the Coif. After law school, he was chosen for the Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.

He then returned to Ann Arbor to set up his own legal practice, eventually merging with one of the oldest law firms in Washtenaw County to create the firm of Pear, Sperling, Eggan and Daniels where he was still practicing law until two weeks before his death.

Legal victories included the first federal court of appeals case finding a constitutional right under the Equal Protection Clause for girls to be able to play on boys athletic teams (Morris v. State Board of Education, 422 F2d 1207 (1973); the first federal case creating a right for public high school students to not be expelled for their expression and speech without due process; (Vought v. Van Buren Public Schools, 306 F Supp 1388 (1969)), and the first case to prevent high school athletes in Ohio from being denied participation in varsity athletics due to disability.

He was the first lawyer for Domino's Pizza, drawing up their first franchising agreement, and serving on their first Board of Directors, and is credited with helping prevent the company's bankruptcy when they were first starting with two stores.

For many years Sperling was City Attorney for Ypsilanti, was one of the first presidents of the Washtenaw County Legal Aid program, and a former board member and vice-president of the Washtenaw ACLU.

While he engaged in various forms of civil and criminal work over 60 years of practice, he spent much of his later years representing those seeking Social Security Disability benefits.

He was a strong and active supporter of organizations founded or co-founded by his wife Doris, including the Ann Arbor Young People's Theatre and the Family Learning Institute (FLI). He was also a long and passionate supporter of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, founded and run by his son Rick for over 25 years. The family asks memorial contributions go to the theatre - http://mosaicdetroit.org/donate-3,

Services will be held at 2 p.m,  Sunday, August 12 at Temple Beth Emeth, 2309 Packard, Ann Arbor.