SWLAW Blog | Events

Commencement Keynote Speaker Slide depicting Brian Panish’s headshot in black suit with the SWLAW Commencement Class of 2022 Logo at the top and text "Brian J. Panish ‘84 Commencement Keynote Speaker" to the left of picture and SWLAW seal in the background

May 25, 2022

Meet our 2022 Commencement Keynote Speaker

Brian J. Panish '84 will deliver the keynote address at Southwestern's 107th Commencement Ceremony on May 29th at the Rose Bowl.

Meet Brian J. Panish '84

Recognized among the country’s leading trial attorneys, Brian J. Panish has obtained some of the most significant jury verdicts in United States history on behalf of plaintiffs. His courtroom victories include a $4.9 billion verdict in the landmark products liability case Anderson v. General Motors, over 100 verdicts and settlements in excess of $10 million, and six verdicts in excess of $50 million in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Panish consistently serves in a leadership role in some of the largest personal injury cases in California and the country, including as Plaintiffs’ Lead Trial Counsel in the Porter Ranch/Aliso Canyon Gas Blowout Litigation, recently resolved for $1,800,000,000, as well as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel in both the Thomas Fire and Woolsey Fire litigations in Southern California. Most recently, Panish represents the husband and son of Halyna Hutchins, a cinematographer who was fatally shot on the movie set of 'Rust' in October 2021.

Panish is a three-time recipient of the prestigious California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award (2022, 2019, 2013) and was named among the 2022 Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar by Law360. Additional accolades and honors include being named among the 2021 LA 500 as well as named among the Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Attorneys by the Los Angeles Business Journal, recognizing the most influential leaders and impactful executives in Los Angeles, the 2021 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year – Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, and a 2020 Plaintiffs Lawyer Trailblazer by National Law Journal.

He is currently serving as President of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, an invitation-only group composed of 100 of the best plaintiffs' lawyers in the nation. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and served as the 2011 President of the Los Angeles Chapter of ABOTA. Panish received his law degree, with honors, from Southwestern Law School in 1984, as well as an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2011, when he also delivered the commencement speech at graduation. In 2017, Southwestern established the Panish Civil Justice Program with the goal of providing top litigation training to students, creating a crossroads for the bench and bar, and strengthening the foundations of the American civil justice system. He received his B.S. from California State University, Fresno, where he was named The Fresno State Scholar-Athlete in 1980. In 2010, he was an alumnus at the school’s Centennial Celebration in 2010.

View his full bio on our commencement site here. 

Watch Brian J. Panish '84 deliver his keynote address at our 2022 Commencement at the Rose Bowl on Sunday, May 29th.