William John Rea, Jr.


  • location icon Los Angeles, CA
    633 West 5th Street
    Suite 4000
    Los Angeles, CA 90071

William John Rea, Jr. is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Professional Liability Practice. He has more than 36 years of experience in the areas of professional liability defense, directors and officers litigation, commercial and property/casualty litigation, insurance law (coverage and bad faith defense), including jury trial and appellate practice.

His professional liability practice focuses on defense of attorneys in legal malpractice and malicious prosecution litigation, and defense of errors and omissions claims against accountants, architects, engineers, insurance agents and other professionals. He also defends attorneys and accountants in securities fraud litigation.

Directors and officers practice includes defense of shareholders’ derivative litigation.

Litigation experience also includes defending property/casualty cases ranging from landlord-tenant disputes, to civil rights litigation to brain injury claims. Insurance law practice includes coverage opinions and coverage litigation, and first- and third-party bad faith defense.

Legal Experience

  • First-chair jury trial experience in legal malpractice, insurance bad faith, general civil litigation and various professional liability cases
  • Judicial Extern for Chief Justice Edward Pringle, Colorado Supreme Court, 1977-1978
  • Research Attorney, Los Angeles Superior Court, 1979


  • Editor and author, “Professional Liability Update” published by Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
  • Contributor to the treatise, “California Practice Guide: Personal Injury”, published by The Rutter Group
  • Author, “Adding to the Confusion”, published in The Verdict, a publication of the Association  of Southern California Defense Counsel, 4th Quarter 2007
  • Co-Author, “Attorney Conflict of Interest: Causation and Damages”, presented at 1998 American Bar Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada
  • Co-Author, “Liability Insurance for E-Business Risks”, Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook, 2000-2001 edition, published by The West Group
  • Co-Author, “Intellectual Property Insurance Coverage” monograph, 2000
  • Author, “Special Needs Children and the Litigation Trap” monograph, 2001
  • Author, “Spoliation of Evidence” monograph, 1995

Selected Published Decisions

  • Ingram v. Oroudjian, 647 F.3d 925, 9th Cir. 2011
  • In re Mexico City Aircrash of October 31, 1979, 708 F.2d 400, 9th Cir. 1983
  • Oren Royal Oaks Venture v. Greenberg, Bernhard, Weiss & Karma, Inc., 42 Cal.3d 1157, 1986
  • Shane v. Superior Court, 160 Cal.App.3d 1237, 1984
  • In re Estate of Linnick, 171 Cal.App.3d 752, 1985
  • Weismann v. Industrial Underwriters Insurance Co., 177 Cal.App.3d 38, 1986
  • Phoenix Insurance Company v. United States Fire Insurance Co., 189 Cal.App.3d 1511, 1987

Professional Presentations

  • Presenter, “Liability Update,” CJPIA Risk Management Educational Forum, 2012
  • Lecturer for The Rutter Group in continuing education seminars: “Demonstration of Effective Jury Trial Techniques”, “Lawyering Skills”, and “Civil Procedure”
  • Lecturer for Continuing Education of the Bar
  • Presenter, California Judicial Colleg, 2007


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Central District of California
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • United States Courts of Appeals
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit



United States District Court for the Northern, Southern and Central Districts of California

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • American Board of Trial Advocates, 2001-present
  • City of Palos Verdes Estates, Mayor, 2011-2012, Mayor Pro Tempore, 2010-2011; City Councilmember, 2007-present; Planning Commissioner, 2005-2007
  • California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, Vice-President and Chair, Claims Committee, 2013-2015; Executive Committee, Coverage Committee, 2009-2015; Director 2007-present.
  • Harbor Developmental Disabilities Foundation, President, 2011-2012, 2015-present; Executive Committee, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary of Board of Trustees, 2002-2009, 2010-present.
  • Los Angeles Superior Court, Mediator
  • Governing Board Member, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, 2015-present
  • American Inns of Court

Awards & Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Rating
  • Named a Southern California SuperLawyer by Los Angeles Magazine, 2009-present


University of California at Los Angeles

Juris Doctor, 1978

St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University


University of California at Los Angeles

Bachelor of Art in Economics, 1975

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