Herald Price Fahringer, Famed Free Speech Attorney, Dies

Rhett Pardon

NEW YORK — Attorney Herald Price Fahringer, who represented numerous high-profile adult entertainment entrepreneurs in a wide range of criminal and civil matters involving free speech, died last week of prostate cancer.

Fahringer, 87, mounted hundreds of legal challenges over adult entertainment zoning involving topless bars and peep-show enterprises and defended scores of cases on behalf of famous clients such as Larry Flynt and Al Goldstein in his 50-plus years as a New York City attorney.

His stunning list of adult entertainment clients was only outmatched by his win-loss record in the courts, as well as his number of appearances.

In about 100 obscenity cases he had argued in 25 states, Fahringer almost always prevailed. Of the 15 times he has stood before the U.S. Supreme Court in First Amendment cases, he was defeated only twice.

In addition, he argued or briefed more than 400 cases in federal courts of appeals, as well as the high courts of New York, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

William Dobbs, who worked with Fahringer while focusing on community organizing and media strategy over censorship zoning 20 years ago in New York City, said that his work “surely had a big impact on free expression, the adult industry and culture.”

“Herald was a marvelous guy and very talented advocate with great legal acumen,” Dobbs told XBIZ. "Amidst the legal and the formal, Herald was usually in the midst of outrageousness."

Fahringer not only handled free speech cases involving zoning and pornography; he handled the defense of individuals charged with extortion, racketeering, gambling arson and homicide.

He was a former general counsel to the First Amendment Lawyers Association and appeared on numerous national TV programs such as “Good Morning America" and “Inside Edition.”

Fahringer attended Buffalo Law School and became a name partner of a Buffalo firm now known as Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, which handles many adult entertainment cases. He was for many years based in Buffalo, frequently commuting to New York to argue cases.

His law firm will remain Fahringer & Dubno, name partner Erica Dubno told XBIZ.

"We will continue his legacy and work," she said.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday, March 28, in New York City for Fahringer. Dubno said she is still finalizing the details but that individuals can email her at erica.dubno@fahringerlaw.com for more information.