Attorney returns to Oakland firm he clerked with, rises to partner
Attorney Winston Moody drew on his legal knowledge after being hit while cycling. Credit: Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer
This story is one in a series written and paid for by Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer, an Oakland-based law firm dedicated to helping people who are hurt and suffering, who Compensation and get the results they need to move forward.
When Winston Moody was a clerk at Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer in Oakland more than a decade ago, he knew not only that he wanted to be a lawyer, but that this was the firm he wanted to be at Right to exercise. Moody was recently named the company’s newest partner.
“It’s an exciting place to work. It has this David versus Goliath vibe where the good fight is being waged on behalf of the little guy, ”Moody said.
Moody studied at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, where he practiced as a lawyer for several years. In 2016, he was overjoyed when Gary Gwilliam invited him to return to Oakland to work as an assistant attorney.
“It was pretty easy for me to fit in with the corporate culture,” recalls Moody. A bonus: Moody plays guitar, and some of the firm’s partners are also accomplished musicians.
He also liked the feasibility and persistence of the partners in enforcing claims for their clients.
Case in point: One of Moody’s first assignments in 2008 was to conduct admissions interviews with large numbers of former Lawrence Livermore Lab employees who claimed they were after the government-funded lab was privatized by a joint venture with. Bechtel Corporation and the University of California wrongly dismissed to save costs.
When he returned to the firm during his summer of law school, Moody continued to help Gwilliam fight on behalf of these former Lawrence Livermore Lab employees. In the end, it took seven years of litigation, including two month-long trials, before plaintiffs were awarded a $ 38.25 million settlement.
“It was inspiring to be on a very big case that was such a long, hard-fought battle – and to see what it takes to get something like that done,” said Moody.
Since his return, Moody has had a wealth of experience representing the firm’s clients on a wide variety of cases, including claims of alleged workplace discrimination, assault, wrongful death and even malicious prosecution. He said all of the company’s partners were mentors to him.
As the law firm’s youngest partner, Moody now looks back and realizes the amazing journey he has made and how he has developed personally and professionally as a lawyer.
“My work is not a routine. Each case really forces you to think outside the box, deal with laws and facts, and figure out what you can use to your client’s advantage in each situation, ”he said.
Moody considers himself fortunate that early in his career he had the opportunity to represent clients in testimony and hearings, and to present oral arguments in state courts, state appeals courts, and federal courts. He said that one of the advantages of working in a locally owned and independently operated company is the opportunity to be so active in so many ways.
“I have to dive right into the deep end,” said Moody.
Winston Moody Credit: Gwilliam
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Moody first came to the Bay Area as an exchange student at Sonoma State University for a semester. After graduating from college in his hometown, Moody moved to Berkeley and got a job with Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer while debating whether to prosecute the law.
Moody fell in love with the region because of the top-class concerts and the many outdoor activities, especially surfing and cycling. He used to be mainly a mountain biker, but after commuting to work on two wheels, he also loved racing bikes.
Unfortunately, Moody has got a taste for how dangerous it can be for road cyclists to be hit by a motorist. He wasn’t seriously injured, but his bike was damaged and he was happy to use his legal skills to reach an out-of-court settlement.
“It was a very personal way of seeing how practical our job can be. There was a problem and we solved it, ”said Moody. “We do that for our customers.”
Moody would like to take on more bike-related cases. Cycling is an environmentally friendly alternative to driving and it should be safe for people to choose this more environmentally friendly option.
“Bicycle accidents happen all the time and people get very seriously injured,” Moody said.
Moody recently worked on a case where a cyclist was hit by a vehicle on the way to his job in a fast food restaurant. The victim suffered broken bones and had to undergo an operation. The insurance company finally agreed out of court to pay the policy limit.
A similar type of lawsuit handled by Moody’s firm involved a person who skateboarded to work on a bike lane in San Francisco and was hit by a SUV driver; he suffered a fractured vertebra.
Moody said his firm doesn’t handle that many cases, and when they do, the lawyers really get to know the clients they represent.
In one particularly tragic case, a man in San Francisco died in 2017 when he fell off a curb and hit his head after being approached by an angry man.
The victim’s daughter was upset that police hadn’t charged the other man for her father’s death, and when an agreement was finally reached earlier this year, the relief she felt was evident, Moody said.
“You could see it in her face,” he said. “It meant so much to her that it was confirmed that her father was an important person and that the accused would be held accountable.”
Each case brings its own unique challenges, but it can be very rewarding when a sacrifice is completed, when a settlement or award is won, Moody said.