William (Bill) A. Law

LLG Engineers - William (Bill) A. Law

Tribute to William (Bill) A. Law (May 3rd, 1921 – August 21th, 2018)

It is with great sadness to inform you that Bill Law passed away on the morning of August 21, 2018. Bill’s daughter, Kathy Steimer, let us know he passed away peacefully and was with family. Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with the entire Law family.

Bill was the Law of Linscott, Law & Greenspan, Engineers and the “L” of LG2WB Engineers, Inc. He was born on May 3, 1921, in Los Angeles, California. Yes, he was a native Angeleno and the only California born partner that LLG has ever had. In the early 1940s, while serving in the Army, Bill was sent to Ann Arbor to study at the University of Michigan. His late wife, Helen, was a registered nurse who supported the USO, met Bill and the two began a courtship. Then the Army and World War II called Bill to service in the South Pacific. When the war ended, Bill returned to Ann Arbor. He finished his engineering studies and eventually won Helen’s heart. After returning to Los Angeles, Bill convinced Helen to head west and become his bride by sending an engagement ring through the mail. They married in Los Angeles in July 1948 and spent an incredible 67 years together. Bill and Helen had four children: Duane, Dale, and Kathy. Their son Mark passed away as a young child. He is survived by three children, grandkids and great-grandkids.

LLG Engineers - William (Bill) A. Law

After working 20 years with the County of Los Angeles, Phil Linscott convinced Bill to join Linscott Associates. A few years later, Linscott, Law, & Greenspan, Engineers was formed by the trio of Phil, Bill and Jack. Bill was personable and fun as well as the epitome of what a professional engineer should be. He was a highly regarded engineer in our industry and was a major force in the development of LLG as a well-known traffic and transportation planning consultancy. He worked on signature planning and design projects throughout the nation, including some that we continue to work with to this day (Getty Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Westfield Century City Shopping Center, etc.).

LLG Engineers - William (Bill) A. Law

Below are a few remembrances in tribute to a most special man:

“I had the honor of working with Bill Law for several years in our Playa del Rey office on Pershing Drive. After 20 years in the Los Angeles County Road Department, he excelled in the private sector (Linscott Associates) without breaking stride, spending 20 years at LLG. A leader, mentor, friend, all-in all a “mench”. Bill was a consummate engineer and consultant.

It has been 25 years since Bill retired from the company, which means that only a handful of today’s LLG team members actually worked with or came into contact with Bill on the job. I hope that those of you who were at the 50th Anniversary celebration two years ago in November, 2016, had a chance to spend some time with him.

Phil Linscott, Bill and I were an interesting trio. Phil was very good at remembering names, Bill was very good at remembering numbers, and I remembered some names and some numbers (which were not always connected). So we each knew enough to be dangerous.

In the early 1970’s Bill pioneered by buying the first hand held “computer” which did more than add, subtract and multiply. It was the size of a small brick and cost around $300. Today thin palm sized calculators having the same or more capability are often given away for free.

Bill had a number of stories about growing up in Southern California (Los Angeles and Cambria) in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. As someone from somewhere else (Brooklyn, NY) I enjoyed listening to his stories. Unfortunately, I cannot remember a single one. He was also a party to the 1950’s transportation infrastructure boom that characterized California at that time. It’s what brought me west in 1958.

My memory may not be correct. But I think Bill had a hand in helping Betsey Linscott purchase the company’s first word processor, and that Kathy (Bill’s daughter) was one of the first users.

Bill’s legacy can be seen in the principals, team members and alumni he mentored.”

Jack Greenspan
LLG Engineers

“Bill (along with Lee Ward) was my first boss when I started at LLG in 1985.  He taught me how to do my first ICU calculation (hand-written!).  Bill was both nurturing and supportive, but allowing me enough latitude to grow my own career.  I recall attending a public hearing with Bill for a religious school sometime around 1990.  The hearing room was packed with angry neighbors opposing the project and I was there to speak in support of our traffic study prepared for the school.  My turn came to go up to the lectern and respond to the traffic issues raised by the project opponents.  I was very nervous and whispered to Bill, “What should I say?”  Bill responded in a loud voice for the whole room to hear, “I don’t know but you better say something!” 

Outside of work, Bill spoke often about his children with great pride (and occasional frustration which I have come to appreciate).  He also looked forward to his frequent visits to his place in the desert.  My favorite times with Bill were spent with his wife Helen by his side:  Helen would go on and on lecturing Bill about something, to which Bill would simply reply with a “yes dear,” which was always said with fondness.”

David Shender
LLG Engineers

“My first professional job was with Gruen Associates in 1971. Bill interviewed me to be part of the small team to work on TOPICS (Traffic Operational Program to Increase Capacity and Safety) studies. One of the cities studied was Culver City, where I now work part-time. Bill had been with the Los Angeles County Road Department and competed to be the Chief of Traffic and Lighting. However, the nod went to Harry Parker. Bill could never forget that “damn sincere-looking blue suit” that Harry wore to the interview. Seeing that he could go no higher he left to manage the TOPICS studies at Gruen Associates. It was a bit of an odd-fit, however, since Gruen was mostly an architectural firm. When TOPICS came to a close in 1972 he was tapped by Phil Linscott to join him and Jack Greenspan at Linscott Associates, which would later become Linscott, Law and Greenspan.

After TOPICS I was then transferred to work on parking and civil engineering tasks for new shopping centers such as the Fox Hills Mall. However, I preferred traffic engineering over civil engineering assignements. A few months later Bill asked me to join Linscott Associates to work on circulation studies for new and expanded developments, such as Century City. Their office was in Playa del Rey, only one mile from where I lived with my parents. There was Phil, Bill, Jack, Phil’s wife, Betsey (secreatary/receptionist) a draftsman and myself. He encouraged me to attend the Los Angeles Chapter (before it was a Section) ITE meetings which I did and then became a member. He knew so much about nuts and bolts traffic engineering and I learned from him. Despite his extensive knowledge he couldn’t readily remember names. I have the same problem today.

The next year I join the Los Angeles Department of Traffic and didn’t see much of Bill after that. I had no idea that he was still alive. But I will always be indebted to him for giving me a chance, getting me started and believing in me.”

John Fisher
Formerly with Linscott Associates

“My memories of Bill go back to even before my first day of work in 1976 at then-Linscott Associates. After accepting Phil’s job offer, he invited me to join him and Betsey as well as Bill and Helen on Phil’s boat for a sail from Marina del Rey to Redondo Beach and back. It was a great way to really get acquainted, and thanks to light winds, we had plenty of time to do that. On that day, Bill struck me as very engaging, a great conversationalist, with great humor, and great stories. At the office, I learned Bill had tremendous attention to detail guided by lots of experience; he was an engineer’s engineer. Bill mentored many fledging engineers (we certainly can point to many LLG team members and alumni trained “at Bill’s knee”), and provided great counsel as we continued to grow our company (BTW, when I joined the company, our full-time staff grew by 25%…to a total of five). Nice job, Bill!

Thinking back, the aspects that still stand out most to me are his patience, and his love for our company and the people in it. Funny story about patience….I was only a year out of school when I started working with Bill, and like most fledgling engineers, I made many mistakes. Even when I did, his patience in getting me on the right track was nothing short of exemplary. I remember mentioning this to his daughter Kathy (who was still in high school and sometimes helped us with field work) as we rode to a study site together. Her reply…”My Dad???”, or words to that effect, with a look that suggested I had two heads, much like you might expect from any teenager. I suspect she came to think differently as time when on.

My two strongest memories of Bill illustrated his very deep-felt emotion. When Phil Linscott passed away, Bill, Jack and I travelled together to a small memorial service hosted by Betsey at their “farm” in Ohio. We sat on a hill, overlooking the property, and several people (mostly neighbors as I recall) stood up to offer stories and remembrances. Bill’s comments and his love for Phil were probably among the most moving of any I’d heard by one man about another to that point in my life. Afterwards, Betsey insisted, “You’ll stay for supper”, and we did. I wish all of you reading this could have been there, because the time the four of us spent together that evening was a real gift. I saw that side of Bill again, and many of you could too, as he made his comments on our 50th “boat ride” celebration. It’s fair to say that Bill felt pure joy in sharing that experience with all of you, and seeing what our little company has become.”

Paul Wilkinson
LLG Engineers

“Even though I was hired by Lee Ward, I worked more with Bill. He oversaw Car Counter Company, a subsidiary of LLG to conduct traffic counts for ourselves and other traffic engineering firms. Within two years of my start date he allowed me to manage the business. He taught me how to market our services, take orders, deal with clients, send out invoicing and make collection calls. This was an invaluable experience with lessons learned still applied today. I’m thankful for the trust he put in me.

One story is that one day we were driving on the Santa Monica Freeway to a meeting and I must have commented on how fast he was driving his gold Toyota Cressida (I was a little nervous). He said he followed the 85% rule. Drive faster than 85% of the other cars and you get places quick and you don’t stand out to the CHP. It worked for him and now for me.

Bill’s leadership and mentorship were qualities to be emulated, as noted by others.”

John Keating
LLG Engineers

“Bill was more than a professional engineer whom I had the pleasure to work with for several years upon joining the firm in 1988. He was a mentor, a friend, and like a second Dad to me. He showed me the consultancy ropes so to speak, always took the time to explain the nuances of our projects, and when things got difficult supported me. I treasure the things he taught me, not just about being a professional engineer, but about life. He has made me a better person and for that I am grateful.”

Clare Look-Jaeger
LLG Engineers

“Bill was an astute and perceptive guy, who also had a wry sense of humor. He was a total professional engineer in all facets of our work (consulting, mentoring, dealing with the public, etc., etc.). The breadth of design and planning projects he worked on, along with the wide variety of locales, was indicative of how good an engineer he was and how highly regarded he was in the industry. My favorite memories of Bill are actually the fun discussions about history, life, work and the world. He was well-traveled and experienced and was insightful in his comments and opinions. Bill was also instrumental in my affection for Hawaii having asked me to help out with the Ala Moana project in Honolulu which lasted for about four years in the early 1990s and for which I will be forever grateful.”

Kevin (K.C.) Jaeger
LLG Engineers

LLG Engineers - William (Bill) A. Law

Many of us had the great pleasure of seeing Bill and some of his family at our recent 50th LLG anniversary celebration. What a magical day it was! May Bill’s spirit forever live on in all of our hearts.