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Life Trustee Mourned

June 14, 2004

Lester W. Spillane J.D. ’37, a life trustee of Lewis & College, died January 9, 2004, in Napa, California. He was a recipient of the law school’s Distinguished Honors Award in 1981.


After being admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1937, Spillane was admitted to the Federal Communications commission Bar in Washington, D.C. Within a short time, he was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the CIA) to investigate national security in Mexico and on the West Coast. Spillane worked with William Dempsey, Telford Taylor, Charles Denny, Rosel Hyde, Benedit P. Cottone, and Warren Baker as general counsel from 1939 to 1955, spearheading new regulations and case law to protect freedom of speech and public airways for radio and television.


In late 1955, Spillane moved to San Francisco to venture into private practice. He was admitted to the Supreme Court of California in April 1957. Spillane became a prominent communications lawyer on the West Coast, representing television, radio, mobile phone, and movie producers. He worked as a sole practitioner until he formed the San Francisco law firm of Farrand, Malti, Spillane & Cooper. He was also actively involved with the National Association of Broadcasters and the California Association of Broadcasters.


Spillane is survived by his wife, Bonnie.

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