Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

Since 1994, the Litigation Section has inducted one or more attorneys into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame during a special awards dinner at the Annual Trial Symposium.

This award is given to professionals who have excelled as trial lawyers and whose careers exemplify the highest of values and professional attainment.

2014 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Dinner

The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Morgan Chu, Partner with Irell & Manella LLP, will be inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.

The reception and dinner in his honor and presentation of the award will take place at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Laguna Niguel on Friday, July11, 2014.

Hosted Reception 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Dinner and Presentation: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Reserve your space today: register online or register by mail or fax.

Mr. Chu is a partner of Irell & Manella LLP. He was named The Outstanding Intellectual Property Lawyer in the United States in the first Chambers Award for Excellence, 2006. Chambers has described Mr. Chu as “beyond doubt the most gifted trial lawyer in the USA,” who “delivers staggering results for clients.”

Mr. Chu was Co-Managing Partner of the firm for two terms from 1997 to 2003 and has been a member of its Executive Committee since 1985. He is presently Chair of the Litigation Group.

After law school, Mr. Chu clerked for the Honorable Charles M. Merrill of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, joined Irell & Manella as an associate in 1977, and became a partner in 1982.

Mr. Chu was lead trial counsel in cases with over $4.3 billion in jury verdicts and settlements, including:

  • City of Hope v. Genentech – The jury verdict was the largest damage award ever affirmed on appeal by California courts. More than $565 million was paid by the defendant.
  • TiVo v. EchoStar, et al. – $1.6 billion in judgments and settlements including over $600 million paid by EchoStar after the jury verdict and post-trial proceedings; TiVo v. Motorola and TiVo v. Cisco – $490 million; TiVo v. AT&T – $215 million; TiVo v. Verizon – $250 million, plus future royalties.
  • Stac Electronics v. Microsoft – $120 million jury verdict.
  • Immersion v. Sony – After the jury verdict of $82 million, plaintiff was paid more than $150 million.
  • Texas Instruments v. Samsung – Settlement over $1 billion from ITC and district court actions (co-lead counsel).

Mr. Chu was lead counsel for the defendant in one of the "Top Defense Verdicts" of 2010, Linear Technology v. Novellus Systems, in which Irell secured a unanimous jury verdict in favor of Novellus on all of the plaintiff's causes of action – including breach of contract and lack of good faith and fair dealing. Mr. Chu was also lead counsel for the alleged infringer in one of the “Top Ten Defense Verdicts for 2005,” Ultratech Stepper Inc. v. ASML, in which the jury found plaintiff’s patent invalid by clear and convincing evidence, and in Boole & Babbage v. Candle Corporation in the first trial involving a patent on computer software in 1986, where the jury also invalidated the patent.

Past inductees

2013: Thomas J. McDermott, Jr.
2012: Mary Alexander
2011: Mark P. Robinson, Jr.
2010: Cris Arguedas and Penny Cooper
2009: George R. Walker
2008: Edith R. Matthai
2007: Harvey R. Levine
2006: e. bob wallach
2005: Raoul D. Kennedy
2004: Ephraim Margolin and Kurt Melchior
2003: Thomas Girardi
2002: John Keker
2001: Joe Genshlea
2000: Honorable Rudi M. Brewster and Marjorie Wilson Day
1999: Joseph W. Cotchett
1998: Florentino Garza and Robert S. Warren
1997: Justice Clinton W. White
1996: Jim Brosnahan
1995: Eugene J. Majeski
1994: Joseph A. Ball

Please note: the biographical information in the descriptions below reflects what was current at the time the award was given and has not been updated since.

2013 -Thomas J. McDermott, Jr.

The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Thomas J. McDermott, Jr. will be 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

Photo of 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

Mark P. Robinson, Jr.

The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Mark P. Robinson, Jr. was be 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

George G. Walker

The Section was pleased to announce that George R. Walker, Esq. 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 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
 

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

e. bob wallach
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
Raoul D. Kennedy

Raoul Kenned, left, and Richard Heavey, right 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
Kurt W. Melchior

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.

2003 - Thomas Girardi

Thomas Girardi
Thomas Girardi
 

Thomas Girardi, a partner in Girardi / Keese, has been practicing law since 1965. Mr. Girardi specializes in commercial litigation, product liability law, toxic torts, and bad faith cases. He is an associate professor at Loyola Law School and sits on the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Girardi was the youngest member ever admitted to this distinguished organization, which is limited to 500 lawyers worldwide. He is also a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an organization limited to 100 lawyers who have obtained the largest verdicts in the United States. Mr. Girardi is the immediate past national president of the American Board of Trial Advocates and has been recognized for twenty years on the “Best Lawyers in America” list and on the Daily Journal’s top lawyers in California since the list was first printed.

2002 - John Keker

John Keker
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
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

Rudi M. Brewster
Rudi M. Brewster

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.

Marjorie Wilson Day
Marjorie Wilson Day

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

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

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.

Robert S. Warren
Robert S. Warren

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

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
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
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

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.

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