The American Bar Association recently honored MoFo veteran trial lawyer Arturo González with its prestigious 2019 Pro Bono Publico Award, for his ongoing commitment to pro bono and public service. Arturo, chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation & Trial Group, was presented with the award during the organization’s 2019 annual meeting.
Arturo 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.
During his acceptance speech, Arturo spoke about his non-traditional path to the legal profession, stating, “I didn’t grow up like most partners at large law firms—my parents were immigrant farm workers who didn’t speak English. I was the 11th out of 12 children, and I spent my summers of farms picking tomatoes and peaches.”
He recalled that he was the first in his family to attend a four-year college and when he went to law school he couldn’t even name a single law firm. “I sought advice, telling a nice woman in the placement office that I wanted to be a trial lawyer, but I wanted to help poor people too. She recommended a firm called MoFo, and I’m glad she did.”
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 efforts have 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.
Arturo is a past president of the Bar Association of San Francisco. He and his colleague, Jim Brosnahan, are the only lawyers in MoFo history to 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.
Arturo was presented with the award during the ABA’s Annual Meeting on August 8–13, 2019, in San Francisco. For more information, please visit the ABA’s Annual Meeting page.