Monday, April 8, 2002
Memorial Service Set for April 16 for Loyola Law Professor Bill Hobbs
By a MetNews Staff Writer
An April 16 memorial service has been set for Loyola Law School Professor Bill Hobbs.
Hobbs died March 24 after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 63.
Friends and colleagues remembered Hobbs as a gentle man who had a knack for picking out talented future trial lawyers far from the top of the law school ranks.
“He had an impact on generations of our students,” Victor Gold, associate dean of academic affairs at Loyola, said. “Bill was known for his ability to see in students what maybe other professors didn’t see and what the students themselves didn’t see.”
Hobbs was best known for his work in helping prepare law students for careers in the District Attorney’s Office and as director of Loyola’s Center for Conflict Resolution, which he helped found in 1994 to train law students how to be mediators.
On the outside, the two hats Hobbs wore as a Loyola professor couldn’t be more different, Gallegos said, but Hobbs didn’t see it that way.
“He believed to be a good D.A. you have to be a good mediator,” she said.
Hobbs’ district attorney externship program was so popular that he had to interview the prospective students he wanted to take into the program.
Gold credited Hobbs with playing a big part in putting more Loyola graduates on the bench than any other law school in the state.
“We’ve had an enormous number of graduates who have worked for the DA’s office,” Gold said. “I think to a very large extent Bill Hobbs has an impact on that.”
The long-time professor was honored just three days before his death at Loyola’s Grand Reunion as the recipient of a 2002 Alumni Association Board of Governor’s Award and he was announced as the first recipient of a newly created faculty chair was named in his behalf, The William C. Hobbs Clinical Professorship in Trial Advocacy at Loyola Law School. Even though Hobbs was unable to attend the dinner due to complications from his long-term illness, he returned to work the next day and thanked everyone for attending, Marta Gallegos, assistant director of the Center for Conflict Resolution, said.
Hobbs had a natural talent for helping students work out their problems just by talking to them, Gallegos said.
“When you walked out of his office things were always a lot clearer,” she said. “He didn’t resolve it for you but he gave you the tools to resolve it yourself.”
Hobbs was not only giving of his time, but also his finances, Gallegos recalled. It was not uncommon for Hobbs to pass along money to students who needed it for books or for the bar examination fee, she said. And he would always give students attending study abroad programs $100, Gallegos said.
“He would never let anybody know,” she said.
Hobbs first joined the Loyola faculty 31 years ago as an adjunct professor. While at Loyola, he served as the faculty advisor for the Scott Moot Court and the Byrne Trial Advocacy teams in addition to teaching trial advocacy and his ever-popular District Attorney Seminar which has helped prepare students for careers in the District Attorney’s Office for the past 20 years.
A graduate of Loyola High School, Hobbs earned at bachelor of arts degree in political science from Loyola Marymount University and his law degree from USC Law Center. After being admitted to the bar in 1964, Hobbs worked in private practice in personal injury defense litigation for a year and then spent nine years with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
In addition to Loyola, Hobbs also taught at Southwestern School of Law as an adjunct, at USC as a lecturer-in-law, and at CSU as a professor.
Colleagues said his love for teaching mediation never tired, extending beyond his students to training mediators for the city of Los Angeles’ dispute resolution program from the time it was created in 1989 and provided mediation training for attorneys and citizens through the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Services.
Avis Ridley-Thomas, administrator of the city’s Dispute Resolution Program, said Hobbs had a unique talent for training mediators.
“There are a few good mechanics, good plumbers, and good politicians,” Ridley-Thomas said. “He was just one of the very good ones.”
Deborah Thomas, Director of Operations for DRS, called Hobbs one of the grandfathers of alternative dispute resolution in the Los Angeles area.
“He was very inspirational,” Thomas, received her own mediation training from Hobbs, said. “If you sat in and listened to one of his seminars, once you walked out you were ready to go out and promote the cause.”
Loyola Professor Susan Poehls, a former student of Hobbs and currently the Byrne Trial Advocacy Coach and Faculty Advisor Faculty Member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, will be taking over Hobbs’ Trial Advocacy class. She will also supervise the school’s District Attorney externship program.
Funeral services were held for Hobbs March 30 at Holy Cross Mortuary Chapel in Culver City.
Hobbs is survived by daughters Terri Hobbs Ellison and Laurie Hobbs, his sons, Peter and Steven Hobbs, his sister, Patti Lines, his brother Michael Hobbs; and grandchildren Christine, Robert, and Ryan.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Hobbs’ name to Loyola Law School, The Center for Conflict Resolution, 919 S. Albany St., Los Angeles, CA 90015.
The April 16 service is set for 12:15 p.m. at the school’s chapel.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company