About the Firm 

New career built on old foundation

By Brett Sporich Staff Writer SGV Tribune

William CrawfordDeveloper turned to construction law

William Crawford is senior partner in the West Covina law offices of Crawford, Bacon, Bangs & Briesemeister, which he founded in 1979. The 17-attorney firm specializes in construction law and litigation. In addition to his duties as district governor of Lions International, Crawford serves as legal counsel to the American Subcontractors Association and serves as a Judge Pro Tem of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Crawford, 49, is a Hacienda Heights resident. His office is on the 11th floor of the California State Bank Tower in West Covina.

Q How did you go from being a builder to practicing construction law?
A I was a subcontractor, builder and developer for 12 years and watched the construction industry become more and more technical. Back in the '60s it was very common to do business on a handshake in front of a pickup truck. I saw the writing on the wall. Today, you practically need a law degree to enter into contracts and to understand what is being said.
Q What's the most dramatic case you've ever represented?
A Well, we just tried the case we called "The Weed That Ate Corona.: There is a weed called scale broom - people would be sitting watching television and notice a bulge in the carpet and they would cut the carpeting off and the weed would come out. It would literally destroy and rip the homes apart.
Q Is this all true?
A Oh, yes. You should've been here the day the lady came in and explained her problem. I said, "Holy cow!" I though I was going to fall off this chair. This weed would literally come up from underneath the ground and lift swimming pools loaded full of water right out of the ground. People were abandoning their homes. It was an incredible case.
Q How many homes were affected?
A There were about 22 homes affected by this. (The weed is) prevalent in wash areas. Very few experts are familiar with it; it lays dormant for hundreds of years. It grows in a catacomb fashion underneath the earth and when water hits it, it comes to the surface no matter what is above it. It would rip the corner of homes apart.
Q Who's fault is all of this?
A That's the problem with it. The bottom line of it is not so much who did what, but who was best prepared to share the burden? The little post office clerk and his wife put their entire proceeds of the sale of their prior home into the one in Corona and now they were within three years of retirement and they were going to lose everything because the home literally plummeted to zero value. So our point was to go in and force the developer to correct this wrong, which we ultimately did.
Q What do you think of all the lawyer jokes making the rounds?
A I think they're great! It does a great deal to put life in perspective, to knock lawyers off their pedestal and make them a part of real life.
Q What's going to happen to home prices in Southern California? Will they continue to decline?
A I think that home prices have bottomed out. We'll bounce along this year to where we'll turn around at the start of early next year. By '95 we should be in full swing again.

Story Courtesy of San Gabriel Valley News, Mark Giberson; Photo by Cindy Darby

The Law Offices of Crawford and Bangs, LLP

Riverside Area
(Satellite Office)
1950 Market Street
Riverside, CA 92501
Phone: 951-788-4309
Los Angeles Area
1290 E. Center Court Drive
Covina, CA 91724-3600
Phone: 626-915-1641
Fax: 626-332-5604
San Diego Area
(Satellite Office)
555 W. Beech Street
San Diego, CA 92101-2938
Phone: 760-753-2242
Fax: 760-753-4885