Distinguished Lawyer Memorial Honoree

Laurens "Bill" Youmans, III

The California Public defenders Association’s 1998 public defender of the year, Bill Youmans spent his 26-year legal career serving the San Diego area. He served as counsel in more than 300 jury trials, including dozens involving capital crimes, and won acquittals in several prominent cases. After graduating from University of California School of Law, Boalt Hall, in 1972, Bill worked for the San Diego city attorney’s office. In 1977, he became a supervising criminal attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, which he left in 1984 for the county public defender’s office. A caring and conscientious attorney, he was sought out to represent the most difficult clients in the most difficult cases. He chaired the San Diego County Bar Association’s criminal legislation committee from 1974 to 1980 and was elected a delegate to the State bar Convention from 1976 to 1989. Born in Philadelphia, Bill grew up in San Diego. He was class valedictorian at Marian High School in Imperial Beach. Later, a Little League baseball coach, Bill attended the University of San Diego on a baseball scholarship and graduated with honors. While at law school, he helped found the Ecology Law Quarterly, which is still published. Bill is survived by his wife, Lisa and five children.