For more than 100 years, the partners of Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse LLP have sought to represent clients as part of a team effort, working together as needed to further each client’s best interest. Many of our partners have devoted their entire professional careers to our firm. Part of the key to our success lies in the fact that there has always been at least one active partner with significant longevity to ensure consistency and maintain the firm’s philosophy.
The firm was founded by Shobal P. Mulford and George W. Dryer in 1908, when Theodore Roosevelt was in the final year of his second term as U.S. President. Mr. Mulford, born in Ohio in 1850, journeyed to Los Angeles in 1883 to continue his practice in corporate and probate law. Mr. Dryer was born in 1881 in Placerville, the heart of California’s “gold country,” and grew up in Santa Ana. He graduated from Stanford Law School and was admitted to the California Bar in 1904. Mr. Dryer was very active in civic and philanthropic endeavors, founding the Stanford Law Society of Southern California and serving as its first president. In 1919, he and noted orthopedic surgeon Charles Leroy Lowman founded Orthopaedic Hospital and its financial support entity, the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Foundation. Mr. Dryer managed the business and financial details of the two organizations, becoming their first president and serving as such until 1946. He also served as Chairman of their Boards from 1940 until his passing in 1959.
Otis H. Castle, a Pasadena High School alumnus, joined Mr. Dryer under the firm name Dryer & Castle, and remained active with the firm until the early 1940’s. In 1948, Stanley C. Lagerlof became a named partner. A graduate of the University of Southern California law school, Mr. Lagerlof served in World War II with great distinction as a lieutenant in the Navy, and was awarded the Navy’s Silver Star, the Bronze Cross of the Netherlands, and the Purple Heart.
Mr. Lagerlof’s successful representation of the vital interests of the Palo Verde Irrigation District in the historic Arizona v. California litigation over rights to the waters of the Colorado River established the firm’s first solid foothold in the fields of water rights and special water district law. Throughout his long involvement with the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), serving as chair of its County Water Districts section and, for many years, as a board member, he successfully promoted and directed the firm’s growing reputation as specialists in establishing and protecting water rights and serving as general counsel to water districts and municipalities. The firm formed numerous water districts over the last 50 years, and continues to serve those interests.
In 1950, the firm name became Dryer, Burris & Lagerlof. In 1959, after the passing of two senior partners, the firm name was changed to Burris & Lagerlof. Mr. Burris and Mr. Lagerlof stayed the firm’s course, assisted by the invaluable contributions of partners H. Melvin Swift and H. Jess Senecal, who joined the firm in 1959. Mr. Senecal’s name was added to the firm in 1973, and he served as its managing partner from 1976 to 2002. Mr. Lagerlof retired in 1996 after almost 50 years with the firm. Mr. Senecal remained as the face of the firm and was its leading ambassador until his passing in June, 2012.
The firm moved to its current location in December 1990, and is proud to a part of the vibrant Pasadena community. The firm adopted its current name in 2006, with Timothy J. Gosney and William F. Kruse continuing as managing partners. James D. Ciampa was added as a managing partner in 2013.
As Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse, LLP, enters its second century, we can point with pride to the many talented lawyers who have embodied the notion of professionalism in the practice of law. We strive daily to uphold the vision they created – one of service and quality – and the guiding philosophy articulated by Mr. Senecal: “To treat each client as our only client.”