We all hope to leave enough material for a colourful obit. when the time comes. But few legal practitioners have done better than showbiz lawyer Seymour Lazar, who has died at his home in Palm Springs aged 88. Lazar, whose clients included comedian Lenny Bruce (pictured) and jazz musician Miles Davis, took LSD with Timothy Leary in the 1960s, sported a ponytail, wore a leather suit with no shirt and refused to wear socks.
When he tired of the law he became one of the largest independent stock traders in the US, pushing vast sums earned from day-trades through accounts in the Bahamas.
Lazar also turned to serial litigation, launching class action suits at all-comers, including a car hire firm which surcharged him $11.15 for refuelling. Eventually, according to the New York Times, he ‘pushed his luck too far’. He was indicted for taking $2.6m in kickbacks (Lazar called them referral fees) and in 2007 pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
George Goodman, author of Supermoney, has the final word. ‘Seymour was real,’ he wrote, ‘a formerly respectable lawyer with a respectable wife and child, who discovered arbitrage, mind-blowing chemicals and a new lifestyle all at the same time.’ Those were the days.