WILLIAM A MASTERSON
June 25, 1931-March 11, 2014
Bill Masterson died in his home on March 11, 2014 surrounded by his family after a long illness with cancer. The first member of his family to go to college, Masterson deeply valued the power of a good education. While working full time, he won scholarships to Loyola High School and to UCLA
, where he was a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship in 1951-1952. After serving as a drill instructor in the U.S. Army for two years, he continued his education at UCLA Law School, where he was a member of The Order of the Coif and Law Review, graduating in the class of 1958.
Masterson's peers describe his law career as nothing short of brilliant. He was a business trial lawyer for close to 30 years, practicing as a partner with, in succession, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, and Hampton; Rogers and Wells; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom. His clients included Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles County in its legal battle to oust then Coroner Thomas Noguchi from office, and various newspapers and reporters
in First Amendment cases, including the successful defense of Los Angeles Times cartoonist Paul Conrad vs. Union Oil Company. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (President, 1975), The California Judges Association, and the American Judicature Society.
Masterson was appointed to the Superior Court, Los Angeles County and served from 1988-1993, where he presided over criminal felony trials as well as cases in civil and dependency court. He served two terms as a member of the California Judicial Performance Commission 1989-1993. He was elevated to Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One in 1993. Before retiring completely, Masterson worked as a private judge resolving disputes through arbitration. Masterson felt his biggest contribution to the law was as a judge.
He was author of Civil Trial Practice (Practicing Law Institute, 1986) and frequently wrote articles and lectured on matters relating to class actions and libel law, among others.
Associates who worked with him as a lawyer describe him as an advisor, mentor, and mental compass, who had the courage to try cases others would have settled for fear of losing.
Masterson is survived by his wife of 40 plus years, Julie Cosgrove Masterson; four children, Mark, Mary, Tim, and Barbara; and four grandchildren, Patrick, Meghan, Finian, and Rory. He will be deeply missed by all his family, and the wide circle of friends and associates whose lives he touched. God bless, my darling.
A Celebration of Life "Honoring His Honor" will be held Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm at the California Club, 538 S. Flower St. in downtown Los Angeles. Those attended are requested to RSVP by April 6 to Julie Masterson. Donations in Bill Masterson's memory may be made to The Bishop Goodan Home, 191 N. El Molino, Pasadena, Ca. 91101 or to Loyola High School, 1901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca. 90006.