Prominent Southern California civil rights attorney Dale K. Galipo ’84 returned to UCLA School of Law on April 8 to deliver the 21st Irving H. Green Memorial Lecture, “Becoming a Civil Rights Trial Lawyer.”
Nationally celebrated for his work in police abuse cases, Galipo divulged to dozens of students, faculty and alumni his keys to courtroom success, including practice and sincerity. “Always be professional and courteous and nice to everybody,” he said, noting that outcomes are better for attorneys whom people like and respect. “One of the things that helped me in my career as a lawyer is I always loved people … and that’s one of the reasons I got into practicing civil rights.”
Raised in the Midwest, Galipo came to California for the first time to attend UCLA Law. He began his career in the late 1980s as a personal injury lawyer and then a criminal defense attorney, at one point winning an incredible six consecutive acquittals. In recent years, Galipo has represented family members of Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in 2018; actress Vanessa Marquez, whom South Pasadena police killed at her apartment in 2018; and Nathanael Pickett, who was fatally shot by a San Bernardino deputy in 2015, a case that resulted in a $33.5 million verdict last year.
Galipo’s cases often present tricky challenges, including “really negative facts,” such as when he represents a client who was mistreated by police but who may have a criminal record. In those matters, he said, honesty is vital: “You gotta handle it straight up.” Ultimately, he added, the opportunity to “level the playing field” for people who may not otherwise have a chance is “a really good feeling.”
Funded by a gift from his wife and children, the Irving H. Green Memorial Lecture series launched in 1993 to bring to UCLA Law the leading advocates of the day. Past lecturers have included legendary criminal defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, social justice activist Bryan Stevenson, 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund special master Kenneth Feinberg, and UCLA Law alumni A. Barry Cappello ’65 and Harland Braun ’67.