Carlton Varner, an attorney and former chairman of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, died Nov. 21 of Lou Gehrig 's disease. He was 61.

Varner, who began practicing at the L.A.-based firm in 1972, specialized in antitrust and complex business litigation. He represented clients working in the pharmaceutical, health care and aerospace industries.

"Carlton was a distinguished antitrust lawyer with a keen intellect, and a person of enormous integrity," Sheppard Mullin Chairman Guy Halgren said in a statement. "In recognition of his character, practicality and good judgment, Carlton was called upon by his partners to serve the firm in a number of managerial capacities."

Varner served as chairman of 560-attorney Sheppard Mullin from 1991 to 1998, and was a member of the firm's executive committee until 2006. He also served as vice president of the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

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