Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Recipients
2023 – Daralyn Durie
Daralyn Durie draws on decades of experience serving as lead counsel in complex matters and securing successful outcomes at trial, including four back-to-back wins in post-COVID in-person jury trials. Daralyn acts as go-to trial counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of cases, ranging from intellectual property to class actions to breach of contract claims. She recently obtained a plaintiff-side jury verdict of $178 million in past damages in a patent infringement case involving melanoma therapy, and won defense verdicts in major cases involving copyright or trademark infringement claims for Redbubble and Activision/Blizzard.
2022 – John E. Sweeney
Over the past four decades, John E. Sweeney has dedicated his practice to protecting the rights of the common man against the abuses of public entities and large corporations.
Recently, through a series of wrongful death cases against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Sweeney made international news by uncovering the existence of Deputy gangs within the Department. These cases changed policies within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and led to the precipitous drop in the killing of minorities by Deputy Sheriffs.
Mr. Sweeney was lead counsel in the landmark California Supreme Court case BB v. County of Los Angeles. The High Court ruled that intentional tortfeasors could not use comparative fault to reduce damages awards.
Mr. Sweeney has also served on the national board of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) for the past six years.
2021 – Arturo González
Arturo González is Chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Commercial Litigation and Trial Practice Group and past co-chair of its Litigation Department. He has had great success representing both plaintiffs and defendants at trial, having successfully defended four $1 billion trials and also, on the plaintiff’s side, won verdicts of $39.3 and $13.8 million in trade secrets cases, a $60 million wrongful death verdict, and a $12 million civil rights verdict. In all, Arturo has tried 12 civil rights cases to verdict.
2021 – Dennis A. Schoville
Dennis A. Schoville sustained a distinguished multi-state trial and appellate record (never losing a case on appeal) during 45 years as both a defense and plaintiff lead counsel. He has successfully defended major aviation manufacturers in highly publicized cases and prosecuted diverse multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for victims in products liability, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, personal injury, civil rights, and sexual assaults—including the landmark Tailhook Trial. He began his legal career after serving in the Vietnam War as a helicopter flight section commander, receiving several awards for heroism and combat service.
2020 – John Burris
John Burris has practiced law for more than 40 years. He is primarily known for his work in the areas of Civil Rights with an emphasis on police misconduct excessive force cases raising federal questions under Federal Code Section 1983. His other practice areas include employment litigation, criminal defense, personal injury, and toxic torts and mass class actions. Mr. Burris frequently provides legal commentary for local and national print and televised media including KTVU Channel 2, KRON 4, MSNBC and other cable Television and radio. He is a frequent lecturer on the topics of police and criminal justice issues. Mr. Burris has an MBA from UC Berkeley and JD from Berkeley School of Law.
2019 – Patricia Glaser
Patricia Glaser is head of Glaser Weil’s Litigation Department and tops the short list of trial attorneys in the nation sought after for high-stakes litigation. Respected as a business trial lawyer, she also provides general legal counsel to publicly and privately held companies across a range of industries, including intellectual property, real estate, entertainment, banking and securities. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, major studios, real estate investors and developers, financial institutions and high-profile entertainers and public figures.
2018 – Jennifer L. Keller and Bob Van Nest
Jennifer L. Keller of Keller/Anderle LLP in Irvine has tried over 150 cases to jury verdict across a wide spectrum of subject matter, from homicide to intellectual property to commercial litigation of all kinds, and for both plaintiffs and defendants. A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Jennifer has been named ten times by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals as one of California’s Top 100 Attorneys, by Benchmark Litigation as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, by Lawdragon as one of the Leading 500 Lawyers in America, and by Super Lawyers as one of the Top Ten Super Lawyers in Southern California. Jennifer is the recipient of California Lawyer Magazine CLAY Awards (California Lawyers of the Year) in 2013 (Litigation) and 2018 (White Collar Defense). She is a graduate of UC Berkeley (A.B. 1975) and UC Hastings College of the Law (J.D. 1978).
Bob Van Nest is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who frequently handles high-stakes cases for clients such as Google, Qualcomm, Electronic Arts, and American Honda. His practice ranges widely over the field of complex business litigation and intellectual property. He has tried cases involving patent infringement, securities fraud, trademarks, commercial contracts and antitrust, including recent groundbreaking trial wins in Google v. Oracle and Cisco v. Arista.
Mr. Van Nest is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. His honors include being listed among California’s Top 75 Intellectual Property Lawyers, Top 100 Attorneys, and California Lawyers of the Year by The Daily Journal, and as a Winning Litigator by National Law Journal
Mr. Van Nest joined Keker & Brockett as an associate in 1979, becoming a partner in 1982.
2017 – Juanita Brooks and Lawrence Wayte
Juanita Brooks is a nationally recognized trial and appellate lawyer who specializes in complex intellectual property, product liability, and mass tort litigation. In 2000, following 23 years in practice, Ms. Brooks joined Fish & Richardson to refocus her career as an intellectual property and patent litigator. Without a background in IP law or math and science, she quickly rose to be a top litigator in the field and often the only woman or minority in the courtroom. Today, she is a principal in Fish & Richardson’s San Diego office and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. In 2016, Law360 named Ms. Brooks an “Icon of IP” for her “skill at trying complicated patent cases without getting bogged down in the technical weeds” and said she is a “jury whisperer.” She has also been dubbed “a titan of the patent bar,” having served as lead counsel in multiple trials each year and handling more than 150 trials throughout her career.
Lawrence Wayte joined McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth, LLP as its sixth lawyer and first associate in September 1963. For over 50 years, he has played a role in leading the firm’s growth to 84 lawyers, in four offices, in three states. During that time, Mr. Wayte has tried cases spanning the breadth of civil litigation, including the defense of products liability, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, commercial litigation, construction accident litigation, and motor vehicle accidents, as well as the representation of licensed professionals before various State of California licensing agencies. Larry has successfully litigated over 240 jury trials, completing his most recent one earlier this year (a three week medical malpractice jury trial) resulting in another defense verdict. In 1986, Mr. Wayte became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and was a charter member of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 1972, where he holds the rank of Diplomate.
2016 – Thomas J. Brandi
For over 35 years, Thomas J. Brandi has tried personal injury cases and complex consumer class actions, resulting in 19 trial verdicts and 200 settlements of one million dollars or more. His career highlights include a $1.38 billion dollar jury verdict against Bank of America for misuse of Social Security benefits, as well as mass tort litigation involving the Dalkon Shield and the diet drug Fen-Phen. In the personal injury arena, he has secured a $29 million verdict in an action involving the absence of a highway median barrier and a $15 million wrongful death verdict due to inadequate maintenance of a public housing unit.
Tom has received numerous awards and recognition for his work, including resolutions from the California State Senate and Assembly, the Robert E. Cartwright Award for excellence in trial advocacy from the Consumer Attorneys of California, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.
Tom also gives back to the Bay Area community that has been his home for more than 50 years. Since 2003, he has taught trial practice at the University of San Francisco School of Law and was named Professor of the Year in 2010. He has also been appointed as a panelist on the Judicial Council Civil Litigation and Small Claims Committee and served on the Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts on the Fair and Efficient Administration of Civil Cases for the Administrative Office of the Court of the Judicial Council of California.
The dinner and ceremony in his honor took place at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco on Saturday, October 22, 2016.
2015 – Michael Kahn
Michael Kahn is Senior Counsel at Crowell & Moring in San Francisco. Since graduating from Stanford Law School and clerking for Judge Ben C. Duniway on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, he has had a distinguished forty-year career representing corporations and individuals in hundreds of complex and high profile litigations and trials. Mr. Kahn founded the litigation practice at Folger Levin & Kahn, which merged into Crowell & Moring in 2009.
Mr. Kahn has tried dozens of cases to verdict with over a 90% success record including landmark cases such as United States v. Stringfellow and Williams v. Owens Illinois. He has served as lead counsel in high profile cases such as Cisco v. Apple (the iPhone litigation), City of Atascadero v. Merrill Lynch (the Orange County bankruptcy case) and PeopleSoft v. Oracle. He has also served pro bono in criminal matters ranging from California Supreme Court death penalty and search and seizure cases to criminal trial work. He has argued over a dozen appeals in state and federal courts.
Throughout his career, Mr. Kahn has engaged in public service, accepting fourteen appointments to serve all three branches of the government. Mr. Kahn served on the California Commission for Judicial Performance, including as chair and vice-chair, for nine years and held numerous positions in California government during the 2000-01 California electricity crisis, including serving as chair of the California Independent System Operator (ISO). Mr. Kahn was one of the creators of the early neutral evaluation concept as a part of Judge Robert Peckham’s Civil Justice Reform Act Committee. Mr. Kahn has also published three books, written over 20 articles, served on numerous charitable and business boards, and has been a member of legal and philanthropic organizations including the American Law Institute.
The dinner and ceremony in his honor took place at The Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco on Saturday, November 14, 2015.
2014 – Morgan Chu
The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Morgan Chu, Partner with Irell & Manella LLP, was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
The reception and dinner in his honor and presentation of the award took place at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Laguna Niguel on Friday, July 11, 2014.
2013 -Thomas J. McDermott, Jr.
The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Thomas J. McDermott, Jr. was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
The reception and dinner in his honor and presentation of the award took place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood on Saturday, June 22, 2013.
2012 – Mary Alexander
The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Mary Alexander was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
The reception and dinner in her honor and presentation of the award took place at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on Saturday, June 23.
2011 – Mark P. Robinson
The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Mark P. Robinson, Jr. was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
The reception and dinner in his honor and presentation of the award took place at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach on Saturday, June 11, 2011.
2010 – Cris Arguedas and Penny Cooper
The Section is pleased to announce that Cris Arguedas and Penny Cooper were honored as the 2010 recipients of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Award.
The award was presented Saturday, June 12, 2010 in the Sonoma Room of the Claremont Hotel and Spa in Berkeley. For more information about the event and its honorees, see the 2010 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Brochure.
2009 – George R. Walker
The Section was pleased to announce that George R. Walker, Esq. was honored as the 2009 recipient of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Award.
The award was presented Saturday, June 27, 2009 in the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
In addition to presentation of the award, a civil law master class was held at the Fairmont prior to the dinner, with Raoul Kennedy, James Brosnahan, Mark Mazzarella and e. bob wallach.
2008 – Edith R. Matthai
Edith R. Matthai’s practice centers on professional malpractice defense. She also defends judges in disciplinary matters. In 2007 she became the Chair of the ABA – LPL Committee. Ms. Matthai has been named by California Lawyer as one of the prominent California attorneys who defend legal malpractice actions, by the Daily Journal/Recorder as one of the top 100 California lawyers and as a top woman litigator. She has been named a Southern California “Top 100 Super Lawyer.” She is a past president of LACBA and the ASCDC. She is President of the Los Angeles Chapter of ABOTA.
The award was presented at a dinner on Sunday, November 15, 2008 in the Sunset Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
2007 – Harvey R. Levine
Harvey R. Levine has distinguished himself as one of the nation’s foremost experts in insurance bad faith and personal injury law. He has litigated insurance bad faith, business tort and personal injury actions for over 30 years.
As he is inducted into the “Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame” by the State Bar of California he joins 16 other lawyers in the State who have been so honored since the award was first presented.
In 2006 he received a jury verdict in a business tort case which was recognized as one of the top 100 verdicts in the country. He was also named one of the “Top Commercial Litigation Lawyers 2006.” In 2003, 2004 and 2005 he was listed in the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in California.” He has been named Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year by San Diego Trial Lawyers Association in 1981, 1986 and 2002 and has received numerous additional Outstanding Trial Lawyer Awards. Cumulatively, he has settled or brought to verdict more than 70 cases in the seven, eight and nine-figure range.
His publications include Levine on Trial Advocacy: Jury Selection (Rutter Group 2004); and Opening Statement (Rutter Group 2005). California Practice Guide: Bad Faith (Rutter Group 1986) and; Insurance Bad Faith Litigation (Matthew Bender 1984).
He is recognized as one of the most dynamic and outstanding lecturers to members of the legal profession. He has lectured to lawyers throughout the United States and Canada on trial techniques, insurance bad faith litigation, punitive damages and personal injury law.
He is Past President of the California Trial Lawyers Association and San Diego Trial Lawyers Association. He has argued many landmark tort cases in the California Supreme Court as Amicus Curiae on behalf of the California Trial Lawyers Association. After working at the United Nations in Rome, Italy, he taught torts, insurance bad faith and product liability law at the University of San Diego School of Law for 21 years. He is admitted to the State Bars of California, New York and Texas.
In addition to receiving his J.D. degree from St. Mary’s University, he received his LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees from N.Y.U. School of Law as a recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship.
In 2000 he received the Bernard E. Witkin Award for civil leadership and excellence in trial advocacy. He was named Honoree of the Year at the YMCA “To Honor Our Champions” Dinner in 2005.
2006 – E. Bob Wallach
The Litigation Section was honored to present to E. Bob Wallach the Section’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Award.
This award is given annually to a professional who has excelled as a trial lawyer and whose career exemplifies the highest of values and professional attainment.
E. Bob wallach has been a trial lawyer for 47 years, having tried 222 jury trials to verdict, with 12 losses. A plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer for 35 of those years, he currently tries complex civil litigation, and also serves as outside General Counsel for Sharper Image Corporation. A co-founder and long time Chairman of the Hastings Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy (1971-81), he is a dedicated teacher of trial advocacy. He has been, or is, a member of ABOTA, Inns of Court, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and is a past President of the Bar Association of San Francisco (1975). He also served as U.S. Representative to the Commission on Human Rights, United Nations (1986-7) and Vice-Chair of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, USIA (1981-87).
2005 – Raoul D. Kennedy
Raoul Kennedy accepted the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Award at the Litigation Section’s Annual Trial Symposium, held April 15-17, 2005 at Silverado in Napa. Richard Heafey (at right) was invited by Mr. Kennedy to join in accepting the award as a representative of his late brother, Ed Heafey.
Raoul Kennedy is a partner in the San Francisco office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He has been handling complex litigation at both the trial and appellate level for more than 37 years. During that time he has been lead counsel in more than 50 trials and in more than 50 appeals involving a wide variety of subjects including class actions, insurance coverage, “bad faith,” patent infringement, products liability, mass torts, and unfair competition.
He is a member of all four of the “by invitation only” trial lawyer organizations: The American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Board of Trial Advocates, The International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and The International Society of Barristers. He is also a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, where he was the 1964 national college debating champion, and of Boalt Hall, where he was the winner of the school’s moot court competition. He is co-author of the CEB treatise California Expert Witness Guide and is an active lecturer who has spoken at more than 250 continuing legal education programs across the United States.
2004 – Ephraim Margolin and Kurt Melchior
Ephraim Margolin graduated Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Yale Law School. In 1956, Ephraim clerked in the Supreme Court of Israel. Since 1962, when he became a California lawyer, he served inter alia, as a President of the Lawyer’s Club of San Francisco; California Academy of Appellate Lawyers; The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. Ephraim was Chair of The Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, Peninsula and Marin Counties and is an Advisory Counsel for Northern California American Civil Liberties Union.
Ephraim represents law offices and lawyers in contempt, sanctions, office dissolution and ethical matters. He represented some of the largest law firms in the United States. Over the years, he also represented Israel, Mexico and Tunis, the California State Assembly; California Department of Transportation; California Public Utilities Commission; several counties in California; and the Bank of America. Ephraim’s success in the Shirley case in the California Supreme Court (Admissibility of Hypnosis in California Courts) and his loss in the John Gotti appeal in the 2nd Circuit, contributed to his national exposure. He also handled non-traditional civil cases such as the Tobacco case, compelling Mr. Wigand’s defense for disclosing cigarette manufacturing secrets on 60 Minutes. This case was depicted in the movie “The Insider.” Ephraim’s name appears on more than 1,000 reported appeals nationally.
Kurt W. Melchior has established himself as one of the pre-eminent trial lawyers. Kurt, who is a Senior Partner with Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliott LLP, has more than 50 years of experience in litigation and has been counsel of record in more than 70 published cases. He represents policyholders in large-scale insurance coverage suits, defends major antitrust cases asserting price fixing and other restraints of trade, litigates antitrust consumer fraud, securities, contract and real estate matters including numerous class actions (two class action tried to verdict, one described by Court of Appeal as an “epic trial drama”), and represents physicians, lawyers and accountants on matters of professional competence. He also acts as an expert witness with respect to attorneys’ professional obligations and standard of care and on insurance coverage issues.
Kurt received his undergraduate and graduate degree from University of Chicago and earned his LLB at Yale. Kurt has served as Vice President of the State Bar of California; and was for 20 years a Senior State Bar Delegate to the House of Delegates, American Bar Association; Member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Specialization; President of the San Francisco Law Library. In his long-standing commitment to the community, he has served, among others, as President of the San Francisco Bilingual School, the Oakes Children’s Center, and the San Francisco Association for Mental Health.
2002 – John Keker
John Keker is widely recognized as one of the nation’s great trial lawyers. A graduate of Yale Law School, Mr. Keker served as a law clerk to retired Chief Justice Earl Warren and founded Keker & Van Nest in 1978. Mr. Keker specializes in complex civil and criminal litigation, and has tried dozens of high profile cases during his distinguished career.
He was the lawyer most frequently identified by his peers as the attorney they would hire if they had a problem. Mr. Keker was named as Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year in 1995, served as Chief Prosecutor in United States v. Oliver North, and is a fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
2001 – Joe Genshlea
Joe Genshlea has exhibited the finest qualities both as a trial lawyer and as a true professional. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a founding partner of Weintraub Genshlea Chediak Sproul, a law corporation. Joe Genshlea received his undergraduate degree from Stanford in 1960 and his law degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1964. He served for two years as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas J. MacBride, Judge, United States District Court of the Eastern District of California.
With over 30 years of practice before the federal and California trial and appellate courts, Joe Genshlea has tried many complex business jury trials and is acknowledged as one of the foremost business litigators in the state. His litigation practice has focused on commercial lending, real estate transactions, intellectual property and business dissolutions. Joe Genshlea has successfully represented financial institutions in lender liability cases, commercial lending and related matters, and handled shareholder derivative suits, copyright infringement matters, real estate litigation, partnership and corporate dissolutions, accounting malpractice, contract disputes and fraud claims to name a few. Recognizing Joe Genshlea’s excellence, he is listed in the “Best Lawyers in America.”
2000 – Rudi M. Brewster and Marjorie Wilson Day
The Honorable Rudi M. Brewster is a Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California . Before his appointment to the federal bench in 1984, Judge Brewster was a highly regarded trial lawyer and partner of the San Diego law firm then known as Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye. He has tried numerous complex commercial lawsuits, including many highly publicized aviation disaster cases. He is a member of both the American Board of Trial Advocates and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a Master in the Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court. He received his B.A. from Princeton in 1954 and his J.D. from Stanford in 1960. He served as a Naval Aviator with the rank of Captain, JAGC with the United States Navy Reserve from 1954 to 1960.
During her 28 years as a trial lawyer, Marjorie Wilson Day has litigated in excess of 60 jury trials, including many complex and high-profile cases. She is presently in partnership with her son, Christopher, in the firm of Day & Day in Tustin. She was the fourth woman ever to be accepted into the American Board of Trial Advocates, of which she is a past chapter and state president and a national board representative. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California, and served on the governing board of the Orange County Trial Lawyers. She holds the title of Master of the Bench of the American Inns of Court and served on the board of the Robert A. Banyard Inn of Court in Orange County, of which she was a founding member.
1999 – Joseph W. Cotchett
Joseph W. Cotchett is a partner in the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy on the San Francisco Peninsula and Los Angeles and is considered by plaintiff’s and defense attorneys alike to be one of the Nation’s best trial lawyers. Mr. Cotchett has won multi-million dollar judgments and settlements for investors in white-collar fraud cases, including verdicts of $147 million and $49 million from the collapse of the Tehnical Equities Corporation in the early 1980’s.
In the early 1990’s, Mr. Cotchett was the lead trial counsel in the Charles Keating and Lincoln Savings & Loan Association/American Continental Corp. trial. After a four-month trial, he won one of the largest jury verdicts then recorded, $4.3 billion and $300 million in settlements from lawyers, accountants and other professionals caught up in the scandal. He has tried over 100 cases to verdict in 37 years of practice.
Mr. Cotchett has won numerous jury awards and settlements in major antitrust actions, securities fraud, qui tam suits, business litigation, and products cases. He has served as defense counsel in numerous cases, including E. & J. Gallo Winery, a significant trade dress infringement case, as well as First Amendment cases. He is also involved in extensive pro bono work, active in his community and has authored several books, including California Courtroom Evidence and Federal Courtroom Evidence.
Mr. Cotchett received an Engineering degree from California Polytechnic College and his L.L.B. from the University of California Hastings College of Law. He has been an active member of national, state and local bar associations and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; The International Academy of Trial Lawyers; The International Society of Barristers and the American Board of Trial ADvocates. He served on the California State Bar Board of Governors, as well as the Board of the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, the Witkin Legal Institute, and Public Citizen Foundation in Washington, D.C., Legal Aid Society, the California Trial Lawyerr Association, and Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
# & J. GaoConsidered by plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys alike to be one of the nation’s best trial lawyers, Joseph W. Cotchett is a clear champion of underdogs and has won mammoth judgments and settlements for investors in white-collar fraud cases, starting with verdicts of $147 million and $49 million arising out of the collapse of the Technical Equities Corp. in the late 1980s. He is perhaps best-known nationally as lead counsel for about 23,000 plaintiffs in the Lincoln Savings & Loan Association/American Continental Corp. debacle, in which, in 1992, he won one of the largest jury verdicts ever, $3.3 billion, later reduced to a still substantial $1.75 billion; he also gained nearly $300 million in settlements from lawyers, accountants and other professionals caught up in the scandal.
Just a few of his past accomplishments include a settlement for $25 million in relation to a qui tam suit involving the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and a $96 million settlement from three defendants in a major antitrust action against the world’s largest producers of citric acid. As defense counsel for E&J Gallo Winery, Inc., Mr. Cotchett won a significant trade dress infringement case. He also served as lead counsel representing writers, actors and directors in the class-action suit challenging the use of net-profits contracts in the movie industry. He was named co-lead counsel for the bondholders in the bankruptcy of Orange County, California.
Involved in extensive pro bono work, Mr. Cotchett’s lawsuit against the United States on behalf of 86,000 Amerasian children in the Philippines who were stranded by the closing of the Subic Bay Naval Base ended in a settlement giving direct U.S. aid to the children.
1998 – Florentino Garza and Robert S. Warren
Florentino Garza has practiced in San Bernardino for most his forty-year legal career and is currently a partner with Garza, Garza & Pacheco. Born to Mexican immigrant parents, he worked his way through school and is now a highly-esteemed litigator and member of the legal community. Mr. Garza is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a diplomat of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a member and past president of the International Academy of Trial Lawyer, and is listed in the Best Lawyers in America. He has also consulted for Romania and Spain to strengthen their legal systems.
Bob Warren graduated from the U.S.C. School of Law in 1956 and returned to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in 1959 after Army service. His trial practice has included securities (e.g., Orange County bankruptcy litigation), environmental (e.g. Hanford Nuclear Reservation litigation), entertainment (Bullwinkle litigation) and a wide variety of other civil cases. In the late 60’s, he began representing the Los Angeles Times and eventually other media interests such as the Wall Street Journal. One of his trial results was included in the article Major Defense Verdicts of 1988, published in the November 1989 ABA Journal. In addition to the Hall of Fame Award, he has received the American Jewish Committee Learned Hand Award, 1988; Los Angeles County Bar Association Shattuck-Price Award for Outstanding Dedication to the Improvement of the Legal Profession and the Administration of Justice, 1989; the Brennan Center for Justice at N.&Y.U. and the Joseph A. Ball Award for Outstanding Advocacy, 1997.
1997 – Justice Clinton W. White
The 1997 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Award was presented to the Honorable Clinton W. White (retired). Justice White practiced civil rights, criminal defense and civil litigation with great skill and commitment for thirty years in the San Francisco Bay Area and during that time was an important role model for minority lawyers. He was appointed to the Alameda Superior Court in 1977 and elevated to the First District Court of Appeal in 1978.
1996 – James Brosnahan
James Brosnahan is a senior partner with Morrison & Foerster. Mr. Brosnahan had tried over 100 jury cases when he was named to the Trial Hall of Fame in 1996, and by 2002 has tried 135 cases. He has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona and San Francisco, California. In 1992, he prosecuted Caspar Weinberger as a member of the Office of the Independent Counsel in the Iran-Contra case. In addition to being inducted into the Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame, he was awarded the “Samuel E. Gates Award” by the American College of Trial Lawyers, and he was named the “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the American Board of Trial Advocates.
1995 – Eugene J. Majeski
Eugene J. Majeski has been practicing law in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 45 years. He has tried in excess of 200 jury trials in state and federal courts.
He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Diplomate of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Majeski was named Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1989 by the American Board of Trial Advocates and was elected to the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame by the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California in 1995 and was named Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2002 by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Majeski is a past president of the San Mateo County Bar Association and the California Association of Defense Counsel. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America since its first publication in 1984.
Mr. Majeski was born in Chicago, Illinois, and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree and his law degree from DePaul University. He was admitted to practice in both Illinois and California.
1994 – Joseph A. Ball
Joseph A. Ball was a partner in the office of Carlsmith Ball Wichman Murray Case & Ichiki. He is a trial lawyer who wrote many articles and the book California Evidentiary Objections (West, 1989). He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a former chair of the Litigation Section.