ATTORNEY PATRICK BROOKS
Patrick was born and raised in Modesto, California, the son of a criminal defense attorney who used to be a Sheriff Captain and a legal secretary who came to this country from Mexico when she was a child. He was surrounded by the law from the beginning, his mom rushing to court to file documents when she was pregnant with him, visiting the public defender’s when Patrick was a kid. He saw very early what was good in the legal system, and what was not.
Patrick Brooks attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, majoring in English with an emphasis on writing. He was on Loyola’s successful debate team for about a year until it occurred to his that it was sunny twelve months of the year in Southern California but he had no tan at all. He graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco, and went to work at the California Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Office, where he worked in the Criminal Division and later the Public Rights Division. In the Criminal Division he handled numerous appeals, writs and trials. About fifteen of the appeals resulted in cases published in the Official Reports. Patrick handled many cases in the California Court of Appeal, the United States District Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He orally argued many of those cases. One of the last cases he handled in the Criminal Division was a capital case, which he briefed and argued before the California Supreme Court.
Patrick started to look for a different kind of law practice when his old doubts about the death penalty resurfaced, and he came to see it as arbitrary and morally flawed. He moved to the Public Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office, which protects the state’s environment, land, and natural resources. He worked as a civil litigator in the Land Law Section, representing state agencies in trial and appellate courts and helping to protect the public’s access to the coast and nature trails.
After a few years of rewarding work in Public Rights, he moved to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office. In the Municipal Division there Patrick successfully handled cases in state and federal court on a variety of matters, including discrimination, land law, civil rights and the First Amendment. When he became anxious to be in a courtroom more often, he transferred to the Criminal Division, where he handled a wide variety of criminal trial matters, many of which went to jury trial. Being in a trial courtroom on a regular basis, he was reminded repeatedly of what works – and does not work – in the criminal justice system. He earned the respect of colleagues, opposing counsel, trial judges, and court personnel. He was reminded of what he had seen since he was a child, that there is no substitute for good listening, hard work, and sincere, passionate advocacy. In the first law office of his father, now retired, he remember a framed picture of Abraham Lincoln, with the famous quotation attributed to him, “A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.” To him, that has always meant more than the notion that a lawyer must work hard for their client. A good lawyer also has to listen as well as he speaks. He have credibility and an excellent reputation from many years of learning how to listen as well as he advocate. Patrick have a compassion grown from a lifetime of seeing every side of the criminal justice system, and that compassion is accompanied by real experience and skill.