History Of The Airola Family Of Lawyers
John Airola’s grandfather, Virgil M. Airola (1892-1980), was the first of the Airola lawyers. Virgil was born in 1892, in Calaveras County, California. He graduated from Bret Harte High School in 1910, received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California in 1914 and his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1916. He was sworn into the State Bar of California in May of 1916. Virgil was elected as District Attorney of Calaveras County in 1927, and held that position for 24 years, until 1951. In 1956 he was elected as Superior Court Judge. He retired in 1964, at the age of 72. Virgil passed away on December 1, 1980, at the age of 88.
In the meantime, two other Airolas had become attorneys. In 1950, Virgil’s son, Orrin K. Airola (1924-2007) (John’s uncle) and Lowell “Buzz” Airola (1926-2003) (John’s cousin), had graduated with their law degrees from Hastings School of Law in San Francisco.
Orrin Airola served as District Attorney of Calaveras County from 1966 to 1974. In 1976, Orrin was elected Justice Court Judge of Calaveras County. Then, in 1976, Orrin was elected as Superior Court Judge of Calaveras County. Orrin held that position until he retired in 1995. Orrin passed away on May 19, 2007, at the age of 83.
Buzz Airola dedicated his professional life to helping injured workers, obtaining one of the first legal specialties in workers’ compensation. He formed a law firm with partner Barry Williams in San Francisco. He and his friend, Victor Beauzay, were the founders and first presidents of the California Applicants Attorneys Association, an organization dedicated to improving legal rights for injured workers. Buzz passed away on October 19, 2004, at the age of 78.
Orrin and Buzz, the second generation of Airola lawyers, paved the way for the third generation of Airola lawyers, which consist of the following, in the order of years of practice:
Kenneth D. Airola – San Andreas, California; grandson of Virgil M. Airola and eldest son of Orrin K. Airola. Mr. Airola is a partner in Airola & Airola, in San Andreas, California, with his brother, Steven J. Airola.
Margaret Airola Bennett – Oak Brook, Illinois; granddaughter of Virgil M. Airola and daughter of Virgil R. Airola, M.D. (1921-1999), orthopedic surgeon in Sacramento, California. Ms. Bennett is a partner at the Bennett Law Firm, LLC, in Oak Brook, Illinois.
Leslie Joan Airola – Portola Valley, California; daughter of Lowell “Buzz” Airola and niece of Virgil M. Airola.
Steven J. Airola – San Andreas, California; son of Orrin K. Airola, grandson of Virgil M. Airola. Mr. Airola is a partner in Airola & Airola, in San Andreas, California, with his brother, Kenneth D. Airola.
Catherine Airola – Seattle, Washington; granddaughter of Virgil M. Airola and daughter of Virgil R. Airola, M.D., orthopedic surgeon in Sacramento, California.
John V. Airola – Sacramento, California; grandson of Virgil M. Airola and son of Ronald K. Airola (1935-1997), cattle and hay rancher in San Andreas, California. John practices with his wife, attorney Tuesday L. Airola, at the Airola Law Offices in Sacramento, California.
The fourth generation of Airola lawyers has also arrived. Bradford L. Bennett, great-grandson of Virgil M. Airola, grandson of Virgil R. Airola, M.D. (deceased) and son of Margaret Airola Bennett was sworn into the State Bar of Illinois in 2007. Mr. Bennett is a partner at the Bennett Law Firm, LLC, in Oak Brook, Illinois, and practices with his mother, Margaret Bennett Airola.
Calaveras County attorneys and authors Michael B. Arkin and Franklin T. Laskin published a book entitled, “From the Depth of the Mines Came the Law” (2000, Word Dancer Press). In that book, Mr. Arkin and Mr. Laskin set forth the history of the Airola family of attorneys. In that section they refer to the “Airolas of Calaveras” as a “legal dynasty”. “For the Airolas of Calaveras, law has indeed become a family endeavor.” (Page 73, “From the Depth of the Mines Came the Law”, 2000 Word Dancer Press).
Here are a few links to more information about members of the “Airola Family of Lawyers”.