Division Four: Presiding Justice Brian S. Currey

Brian S. Currey, Associate Justice

Presiding Justice Currey attended the University of California, Davis, which recognized him as the outstanding male graduate, and the University of Virginia Law School, where he served on the Virginia Law Review.

He then spent nearly 30 years litigating complex cases at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he served in various roles including vice-chair of the litigation department. Some of his high-profile matters included the Exxon Valdez criminal case, the Cantara Loop/Sacramento River train derailment and toxic chemical spill, and the Vioxx products liability litigation. He also advised on and litigated antitrust, business, energy, intellectual property, public finance, infrastructure, and other issues. On the pro bono front, he served as counsel to the Christopher Commission after the Rodney King incident, was a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s task force on criminal justice reform, and secured a Supreme Court victory allowing the U.S. Census to more accurately count traditionally undercounted groups. His firm was honored for a program he helped to create whereby its lawyers gained trial experience by acting as pro bono prosecutors for several smaller cities. He also received an award from an environmental organization for his pro bono work in Southern California.

In 2010, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed him as Counsel to the Mayor, and later also Deputy Mayor for Economic and Business Policy. In those roles, he oversaw the City departments responsible for the airport, port, convention center, planning, building and safety, and other key functions. His time at City Hall gave him an insider’s understanding of how government works and a deeper understanding of public policy issues facing the Golden State.

In 2014, Governor Brown appointed him as a Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. His assignments included presiding over a misdemeanor trial and calendar court, handling a wide variety of cases as the only civil judge at the Compton Courthouse, and serving on the Complex Civil Litigation Court. He also served pro tem in Divisions 1 and 3 of the Second District Court of Appeal.

Governor Brown appointed him to the Court of Appeal in December 2018. The Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously confirmed that appointment after the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission bestowed an “exceptionally well qualified” rating.

In 2023, Governor Newsom elevated him to his current role as Presiding Justice of Division 4. He was again unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments and again received an “exceptionally well qualified” rating from the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission.

Justice Currey has served as the sole representative of appellate justices on the Board and Executive Board of the California Judges Association (CJA). He also is the liaison between the CJA board and CJA’s Appellate and Civil committees.

Justice Currey is the Chair of the California Civility Task Force, a joint project of CJA and the California Lawyers Association, in cooperation with the State Bar of California. The Task Force’s initial report contains meaningful proposals for improving civility in the practice of law in California and may be viewed at Caljudges.org/Civility.

Justice Currey is a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Litigation Section. He also belongs to a number of other professional associations. He speaks and writes on legal issues, and has taught at the USC Gould School of Law.

In his spare time, he likes running, hiking, kayaking, fly fishing, and enjoying life with family and friends.