In Memoriam: Professor Christopher (“Chris”) Lasch

Jun 30, 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce that Professor Christopher (“Chris”) Lasch of the Sturm College of Law passed away in June after a period of illness. A fierce advocate for civil rights and legal education, Chris will be missed greatly by his family, friends and colleagues at the University of Denver and beyond.

Dr. Lasch came to DU after a distinguished career as a public defender and partner in the firm of Goodwin and Lasch, representing clients in criminal and civil rights cases at the trial, appellate, and postconviction stages. He graduated from Columbia College and Yale Law School, starting his career as a law professor by serving as the Robert Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow at Yale. After joining DU in 2010, Dr. Lasch co-directed and raised the profile of the Criminal Defense Clinic, founded the Immigration Law & Policy Clinic, and served as the Ronald V. Yegge Clinical Co-Director. His teaching, clinical work, and legal advocacy transformed the lives of students and clients, while his scholarship helped shape immigration and criminal law.

Sturm College of Law Dean Bruce Smith described Dr. Lasch in this way in a letter to his faculty: “A fierce advocate for social justice, a revered teacher, and a scholar of immense range and significance, Chris profoundly shaped the lives of his clients, the professional identities and pathways of his students, and the contours of the multiple areas of law impacted by his scholarship.”

Latinx Center leaders Dr. Lisa Martinez and Dr. Deb Ortega wrote about their colleague: “Chris was also an active member of the Latinx Center and contributed to the Knowledge Bridge initiative that ultimately led to the founding of DU’s Center for Immigration Policy and Research (CIPR). A defining feature of his legacy will always be an unwavering belief in the potential of every person regardless of their individual circumstance.”

Dr. Lasch’s obituary offers more examples of his exemplary contributions to criminal justice, his students, and legal profession—as well as his delightful sense of humor:

A Memorial Service will take place Friday, July 16, 2021 at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Doors will open at 1:30 PM with the service to held from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Please note that the following resources are available to faculty, staff, and students and we encourage you to seek support as needed. All University of Denver employees are eligible for the Employee Assistance Program, which grants up to six free counseling sessions per year. Additional counseling services can be obtained through our Health & Counseling Center or the Professional Psychology Clinic. We also offer SupportLinc, an Employee Assistance Program which provides 24/7 access to confidential resources from your phone or computer (1-888-881-LINC (5462) Username: universityofdenver).

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