Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Superior Court Judge Lawrence Crispo to Retire in April, Take Up Private Judging
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence W. Crispo, a leading trial lawyer and bar activist before his appointment to the bench 10 years ago, said yesterday he will retire April 5 to become a private judge.
“I loved practicing law, and I’ve had a very good run [as a judge],” he told the MetNews. “It’s time to move to new challenges, new adventures.”
Crispo said he will join ADR Services as soon as he leaves office, and will initially seek assignments in a broad range of matters rather than specialize in any particular area.
He said he also hopes to have more time for leisure pursuits such as community theater and riding his bicycle. Crispo was involved for several years in a bench-bar bicycle ride that was co-sponsored by the County Bar and the MetNews.
He was appointed to the court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994 after 27 years as a partner at the downtown Los Angeles law firm then known as Breidenbach, Swainston, Crispo & Way.
State Bar Governor
His practice concentrated on business litigation, pharmaceutical litigation, and medical and legal malpractice. He served as a member of the State Bar Board of Governors from 1990 to 1993 and passed up the opportunity to run for State Bar president as he advanced in the judicial appointments process.
He also served as chairman of the State Bar’s Client Relations Committee, president of the local Italian American Lawyers Association, governor of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and president of the Wilshire Bar Association, not to mention the Half-Norwegian (on the Mother’s Side) American Bar Association.
He was an advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates and served on the organization’s national board, and spent 18 years on the Civil Service Commission in the City of San Gabriel.
He has remained active while serving on the bench. He served multiple terms on the Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Committee and was a member of the state courts’ task force on community outreach.
A New York native, Crispo was educated at Loyola University in Los Angeles, graduating in 1956. He was working as a Pacific Bell intern when he enrolled in Loyola Law School’s evening program.
While a law student, he adjusted claims for Travelers Insurance Company. He joined the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in 1961 after graduation.
After a year in which he handled about 70 misdemeanor jury trials, he joined Gilbert, Thompson & Kelly—later Gilbert, Kelly, Crowley & Jennett—and became a civil litigator.
He practiced on his own for about three years before joining Francis Breidenbach’s new law firm, which had grown to more than 50 lawyers before Crispo left for the court.
Crispo has lectured extensively on trial practice, legal ethics and law practice management. He has advocated fostering a better image of lawyers, beginning with the way attorneys treat each other, becoming famous for the “CIVILITY” sign he placed on his bench.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company