The American Bar Association honored Morrison & Foerster veteran trial lawyers Jim Brosnahan and Arturo González with prestigious awards during the organization’s 2019 Annual Meeting, held in August in San Francisco. Jim, senior of counsel in Morrison & Foerster’s trial and appellate practices, was presented with the ABA’s John H. Pickering Achievement Award for his lifelong work emulating that of the award’s namesake, whose outstanding legal ability and record of service to the profession improved access to justice for all. Arturo, chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation/Trial Group, was presented with a 2019 Pro Bono Publico Award.
Jim had earned the honor by demonstrating outstanding legal ability, compiling a distinguished record of dedicated service to the profession and the community at large, and making significant contributions to the furtherance of access to justice for all.
Considered a lion of the trial bar as well as one of the most respected and “greatest trial lawyers in the country,” Jim is known for his uncanny legal ability and oral advocacy skills. Jim has tried 150 cases to completion with only 11 losses. He has represented countless pro bono clients in criminal and civil matters, earning him a reputation as “a fighter for the underdog.”
His impact outside of the courtroom is equally impressive. Throughout his unrivaled career, Jim has made countless contributions, including:
- Serving as president of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 1977, and co-founding its Volunteer Legal Services Program (now called the Justice & Diversity Center).
- Serving as one of the earliest and most dedicated stalwarts supporting diversity in the legal profession, and founder of the Minority Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco.
- Serving as one of the foremost teachers of trial litigation in the country; author of the Trial Handbook for California Lawyers.
- Serving as an outspoken supporter of the Civil Gideon movement, which seeks to establish a right to counsel in civil matters when basic human needs are at stake.
Throughout his legendary legal career of almost 60 years, Jim has fiercely committed himself to promoting equal access to the justice system and advocating on behalf of low-income and disadvantaged individuals.
Arturo González was honored for his pro bono work and innumerable public service contributions to the community at large. Considered one of the “finest trial lawyers in the United States,” Arturo credits his background, growing up as the son of non-English-speaking farm workers, as giving him the unique perspective that he brings into the courtroom every day, and as one of the main factors that motivated him to become a lawyer and fight for those who may not otherwise have access to fair legal representation.
Although Arturo is widely known for his legal prowess in the courtroom securing favorable outcomes for blockbuster clients such as Uber and VMware, his pro bono advocacy has been equally impactful. Throughout his more than three-decades-long career at MoFo, he has been committed to ensuring that even the most underserved communities and individuals have equal representation and access to the law. Over the years, Arturo has worked on more than 100 pro bono cases and has secured favorable outcomes for his clients in many key areas of the law, including:
- Ensuring the right to an education for low income children.
- Protecting the constitutional rights of communities of color.
- Curbing abusive tactics and procedures used by certain law enforcement agencies.
Arturo’s nomination this year was supported by, among others, retired U.S. District Court Judge Oliver W. Wanger, who presided over two pro bono jury trials in which Arturo served as lead counsel and achieved “outstanding and exemplary results” for plaintiffs with civil rights claims against law enforcement.
The ABA Pro Bono Publico Awards are the top honors given by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, which over the years has spotlighted the pro bono efforts of individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, and other institutions in the legal profession.
Jim and Arturo are both past presidents of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and have been admitted to the top three invitation-only trial lawyer organizations — the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Download a copy of our MoProBono newsletter to learn more other recent pro bono honors and awards, in addition to inspiring pro bono matters that MoFo lawyers haven taken on this year.