Joshua Briones LLM ’01, managing member of the Los Angeles office of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, grew up in California, the son of immigrant parents who worked on farms. As a child, he remembers waking early to work with his parents in the fields and moving so often that he did not graduate from high school; instead he took the California Proficiency exam so that he could attend community college. His original aim, he says, was to get an associate’s degree and work as a bank teller or in a financial institution. One perceptive school counselor, however, noticed his excellent marks in English and history courses and suggested that he consider going to law school.
“She was literally the first and only person up until that point that had ever even mentioned law school to me as a possibility,” Briones acknowledges. “She was very encouraging, and I would go to her often for advice and direction.” That sort of guidance and mentorship has been a key factor in Briones success both law school and throughout his legal career, he says.
While working towards his JD at UCLA School of Law, Briones became interested in litigation. Due to his interest in the legal systems of neighboring countries, his law school mentors there suggested that he pursue an LLM degree with an emphasis in international law. “NYU is the best in international legal studies, which is how I ended up there,” Briones says. “But it was also enticing to go to NYU because I had never been to the East Coast, and I had never been to New York City—and it was amazing, a whole other world for me.”
Briones says he valued how accessible his NYU Law professors were outside of classes: “I frequently would visit with my professors and talk to them about classes, about my career, about writing.” He also recalls having the chance to travel to Washington, DC, with a small group of his fellow LLM students to sit in on an oral argument in the US Supreme Court and attend a dinner with several Supreme Court Justices. “I got to meet and talk to Justice William Rehnquist and to other members of the court at that time,” Briones says. “Obviously, that’s something I’m never going to forget.”
After law school, Briones spent 15 years at DLA Piper (he originally started at Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, before the two firms merged) honing his litigation skills. He began to specialize in class action cases, he says, in part “by chance”—it just so happened that the partners he worked with as an associate were starting to handle a number of class action lawsuits—and also because he particularly enjoys “big cases where you’re working closely with the client and there’s a lot at stake.” Briones has served as the lead defense counsel on more than 200 class action cases in both state and federal courts. He has represented companies such as Paypal, Ebay and the Lakers Organization, which the longtime Lakers fan especially enjoyed.
Briones was drawn to Mintz Levin because of its commitment to collaboration, he says: “The firm is uniquely focused on the importance of people who are not only outstanding lawyers, but who are also looking for ways to work together as teams and not just as an individual attorney.” Based in Boston, the firm has other offices in New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. As managing member of its expanding Los Angeles office (which consisted of three lawyers when Briones first joined), Briones is working to build a team with the same collaborative spirit that he has found elsewhere at Mintz Levin. “It’s so rewarding to go out and find people with that same mindset to join forces and build up an office,” he says.
Briones takes pride in serving as a mentor to younger lawyers in his firm. “I’ve always had individuals in my life who have served as guides to me, both on a professional and personal level,” he notes. “I make an effort to be that same kind of mentor to others in the office whether they’re associates, or younger partners. I just think that it’s so important to teach and share what I’ve learned.”
His colleagues appreciate the time Briones puts in to nurture talent and forge a community. “Joshua is a natural leader and mentor,” says Arameh O’Boyle, who joined Mintz Levin as a litigator shortly after Briones. “He is a fierce champion of junior attorneys, entrusting them with significant responsibilities and providing them valuable litigation experience while also closely guiding them to become better lawyers.”
Posted December 21, 2017