William A. "Bill" Rutter
1928 - 2012
October 21, 1928 - February 2, 2012

William A. Rutter ("Bill") passed away peacefully Thursday evening, February 2nd, 2012, with his wife Sally, the love of his life, and all of his children, by his side.

Bill received his B.A. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara; his M.P.A. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles; and his J.D. degree from the University of Southern California School of Law, where he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. As a youth, he was an Eagle Scout; and as a young adult, Bill served our country during the Korean War.

Bill shared his knowledge and skills in almost every facet of the legal profession: as a practitioner, as a law school teacher, as a publisher, and as an author. For 15 years following his admission to the Bar in 1955, Bill maintained a general civil law practice, specializing in business litigation and appellate work. At that point, he withdrew from the practice of law and began his career as a visionary and trail blazer in legal education. Since then, Bill devoted his life to legal education and publishing law study aides and Practice Guides.

In 1979, he founded The Rutter Group, which grew under his leadership to become a leading and most highly respected provider of continuing legal education publications and programs in California and nationwide. The standards he set through the Rutter Group Practice Guides have been imitated but never matched.

Bill also wrote and published all of the original Gilbert Law Summaries, the most popular study aides for law students, and founded the BAR/BRI Bar Review, which became the largest Bar Review course in the country.

In 1996, Bill joined a very select group of legal scholars when the California State Bar Board of Governors honored him with the Bernard E. Witkin Medal recognizing those "who have altered the landscape of California jurisprudence." This honor particularly singled Bill out as an "extraordinary contributor to the California legal community."

Bill was also a very quiet and private philanthropist. Among his countless goodwill gestures, he and his wife Sally, for almost 50 years, sponsored dozens of foster children in many countries. They underwrote a French Horn Chair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. And when the Philharmonic reached out to them to sponsor one of the four Wagner Horns the orchestra desperately needed, they provided all four.

Tributes have poured in, including the following:

"Bill Rutter was a giant of the law . . . Bill was also a dear and loyal friend of many, many years." Justice Ming W. Chin, California Supreme Court

"The contributions of Bill Rutter to the practice of law over the past half century cannot be overstated . . . Because of Bill's efforts, even a sole practitioner today has the ability to quickly deal with otherwise unfamiliar issues. He well deserves his place in the pantheon of legal scholars and leaders." Justice H. Walter Croskey, California Court of Appeal

"Bill Rutter's contributions to the legal profession and, through it, to justice and the administration of justice are immeasurable, and indelible. He altered the course of legal education forever . . . And he did his work with enormous skill and energy, complete integrity, and grace." Presiding Justice Norman L. Epstein, California Court of Appeal

"Bill's passing marks the end of a legal era. He is one-of-a-kind." Justice Rebecca A. Wiseman, California Court of Appeal

"Bill was an outstanding legal scholar. His knowledge of the law was so broad and infused all of The Rutter Group publications . . . Bill was also the kind of human being we should all aspire to emulate. He earned the respect of our entire legal community." Justice William F. Rylaarsdam, California Court of Appeal

"Working with Bill was always such a pleasure. He was a brilliant man who had a unique way of explaining complex legal issues in concise, understandable language, and he was so kind . . . His work is a lasting legacy." Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon, Los Angeles Superior Court

"Bill left us with impossibly huge shoes to fill. We will not let him down. We will miss him dearly." Linda Diamond Raznick and Kalman S. Zempleny II, The Rutter Group

Bill is survived by his adoring wife Sally, his children Paul, Joanna, Barry and Charlie, and their respective spouses, 13 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. And the "other love of his life," Missy, Bill's rescue Westie. He was the most loving husband, father, grandfather and greatgrandfather to all of them.

There will be a public Memorial Service celebrating Bill's life on Saturday, February 18th, 2:00 p.m., at the Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90024.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in honor of Bill Rutter can be made to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association-Music Matters.
Published by Los Angeles Daily News on Feb. 8, 2012.
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18 Entries
Valenda Newell
June 19, 2017
The most interesting person i have ever met & so humble, miss him
Robbie wWoods
July 11, 2012
My father and Bill became law partners right after they graduated from USC Law. He was always a cheerful and wonderful man who was always a joy to be around.
Later on in our lives, I would see him at Gelson's in Encino and also see him driving on Ventura Blvd. with a dog in the front seat next to him.
He would always inquire as to my family's health and was always upbeat and happy.
I shall miss him.
Rob Irmas
March 7, 2012
Sorry for your loss.He sounded like a nice guy. May the God of peace help you
all to cope with your loss.Philippains 4.7
February 28, 2012
Bill was one of my dad's best and most enduring friends. My dad never went to college and spent part of his life as a musician. Despite their different stations in life, they were great friends. Bill was a kind and caring man, and I'll always remember him with fondness and respect.
Wendy Kauderer
February 19, 2012
Bill was my uncle. My one and only Uncle Bill. We had a very close relationship and I knew of course that he was a giant of the law, but for me he was first and foremost a giant of a man! Bill was kind, modest, intelligent, wise and so very very dear to Danny, me and the girls. I've learned so much from Bill and I know that he will remain in my heart and mind for ever.
Dalia Sternberg
February 15, 2012
The staff of American Cancer Fund™ at www.AmericanCancerFund.org is sorry to hear of Bill's passing. We have received memorial contributions in his name and our sincere condolences go out to his family.
S Lerer
February 15, 2012
My Dad was a truly great man who inspired me and the entire family with his wisdom, intelligence, and charm. He was humble about his accomplishments but he achieved so much. He was always an inspiration to me and will continue to be my inspiration.

Thank you for being my Dad.
Paul Rutter
February 15, 2012
I only met Bill Rutter once, about twenty years ago, and to this day I remember being impressed by the way he treated me, with kindness. He made me feel part of the meeting that I was only there to observe, yet he seemed to go out of his way to acknowledge me and took the time to treat me special. After having worked with many people in the legal education field over the years, it is a rare experience to find a lawyer that remains down to earth. Also, I am continuously blown away at the superior complements that I receive after someone uses one of his Rutter Group books. Bill was a man among lawyers, and I mean that as the highest compliment I can pay to anyone.

My deepest sympathies go to his family, friends, and the good people at the Rutter Group. My two former bosses, Meyer Fisher and Bill Gehr also spoke very highly of Bill Rutter. They did not praise many, so to hear them praise and respect Bill also shows the incredible impact that Bill Rutter had on those he touched.

Bill Rutter, you will certainly be missed.
Ted Rogers
February 13, 2012
A Boss to dream for like no other. A kind and gentle man, you loved to make smile. If Bill told you a job well done, nothing was more satisfying. It was a privilege to work for Bill and call him my friend. My love to Sally and the Rutter family…Steven & Alexis Levine (Washington DC)
February 12, 2012
I never met Bill, but I am an attorney. So, of course, his efforts influenced me in law school, as I prepared for the bar, and as I practiced in California. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
Tom W.
February 9, 2012
I was only privileged to meet Bill briefly. What a kind wonderful individual he was to our family and our daughter.
He has left an amazing legacy through his work, family, and his love of others. Thank you for accepting our daughter into your family and loving her the way you did. Our love and prayers are with your family and especially your beautiful wife Gran.
TerryAnn Whitby
February 9, 2012
As part of Bill's extended family, I knew him as a warm, wonderful and fun man. A joy in conversation. A supporter of all his family and friends. I will miss him terribly and I shed tears over no longer having times to enjoy with him.
Darla Opava
February 8, 2012
I never had the good fortune to meet Bill Rutter, but without his brilliance in the BAR/BRI publications and Rutter Group books, I likely wouldn't have passed the CA Bar exam or practiced law as effectively as I do today. Thank you, Mr. Rutter and my condolences to your family. It's wonderful to see that you were as great a family-man as you were a lawyer...and probably even better than that!
Mark A. Lester
February 8, 2012
To the Rutter Family:

In your sadness, may there be peace...In your thoughts, may there be love....In your hearts, may there be healing. (Psalm 147:3)

My condolences,
February 8, 2012
Words cannot express my sadness with the loss of Bill. He was a wonderful man in every way. He was beyond brilliant, refined, worldly, soft-spoken, gentile, kind and humble, just a few of the many qualities that made him a true gentleman of the highest degree. Sally and the entire Rutter family are in our thoughts and prayers -- just as our Rutter Group family is in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, as well. We all miss him very much, though he will remain alive in our hearts forever.
Kalman S. Zempleny II
February 8, 2012
Goodbye, Grandpa. I miss you.
Jim Martin
February 8, 2012
As I have done working side by side with you for nearly 40 years, I will march in your footsteps forever, but I will never be able to fill those shoes. I do, and will always, miss you.
Linda Diamond Raznick
February 7, 2012
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