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Military Background for William Lyon’s Rising Star

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Louis “Dutch” Schotemeyer’s relatively new gig as an associate general counsel for William Lyon Homes is a far cry from some of his previous jobs.

He seems to have adapted nicely.

After moving countless times with several different titles, the military veteran hit the ground running when he joined the Newport Beach-based homebuilder at the start of last year.

Schotemeyer, along with four other individuals that make up the in-house legal team of William Lyon Homes (NYSE: WLH), counsels the company’s leadership on topics ranging from labor and employment to contract negotiation.

“The biggest challenge is the breadth and scope of the issues we see on a day to day basis,” said Schotemeyer, who represents the legal needs of 10 homebuilding divisions across seven states.

Schotemeyer was awarded the Rising Star award at the Business Journal’s 10th annual General Counsel Awards on Nov. 13 at Hotel Irvine (see stories on the other winners, pages 1, 6, and 8).

Military Career

As the son of an immigrant—his nickname is a nod to his paternal Dutch heritage—Schotemeyer witnessed the opportunities his family found in America, which served as an early driver for his wish to enlist in the military.

He graduated early from high school to join the Marines, and served in the Marine Corps Reserve while he attended Washington State University.

A dizzying military career ensued, with stints taking him from his home state of Washington to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pentagon.

In 2001, he decided to take advantage of an opportunity to attend law school through a military program.

He graduated from the University of Washington in 2004, and spent the next decade serving in a different way, acting as a prosecutor and defense attorney for service members. He later spearheaded the reorganization of the Marine Corps’ legal community, training and mentoring hundreds of attorneys.

His final stint with the military was as a Battalion Commander at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

“It was exactly where I started 24 years earlier, and it felt like there was good symmetry to end my career there,” Schotemeyer said.

“My wife, Amber, and I had been married for about 20 years at that point, and we wanted to finally settle down.”

Chance that Paid Off

They ended up in Newport Beach, where Schotemeyer had been hired as an associate at Newmeyer & Dillion LLP where he specialized in business litigation, labor and construction law.

It’s also where he was scouted by William Lyon Homes, which had been one of the law firm’s clients and whose execs also count military ties.

The firm’s founder and chairman emeritus, Gen. William Lyon, once served as commander of the United States Air Force Reserve Command.

External Counsel

William Lyon Homes is Orange County’s second largest publicly traded builder that launched in 1954.

“They took a chance on me, and it ended up being a great fit for both of us.”

Schotemeyer stays connected to his military background by mentoring Marines looking to transition into their civilian career. He’s also heavily involved in youth soccer, having coached at Our Lady of Fatima School, Mission Basilica School and with the California Football Academy in San Clemente where he currently serves as an assistant coach, team manager and tournament director.

Among the players he has coached are his two daughters, Elle, 12, and Rian, 16.

“I missed a lot of time with my kids, so it’s a big thing for me to try and be as engaged as possible.”

As for their new home in Orange County, “it’s the best place to be.”

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