ChIPs to Honor ‘Jury Whisperer’ Juanita Brooks

On November 10, 2023, ChIPs will honor Juanita R. Brooks as the 2023 inductee in the ChIPs Hall of Fame.

ChIPs established the Hall of Fame in 2013 to honor today’s leaders and inspire the next generation. Hall of Fame honorees are individuals who have made significant contributions to the law, technology and policy and who have shown a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of women. 

Juanita R. Brooks is a nationally recognized trial and appellate attorney who focuses on complex intellectual property, products liability, and mass tort litigation. She is an innovative, formidable litigator with a demonstrated, near-perfect winning record in complex, high-stakes lawsuits that few trial attorneys can match. 

A master storyteller, Juanita paints pictures with words to explain the complex technologies at the center of her matters to judges and juries in a way that is both understandable and compelling and will be remembered throughout the trial. Law360 named her an “Icon of IP” for her “skill at trying complicated patent cases without getting bogged down in the technical weeds” and said that she is a “jury whisperer.” She has also been heralded by The American Lawyer as “a titan of the patent bar” upon receiving its “Litigator of the Year” honors.  

Her skill at connecting with courtroom audiences has made her a go-to litigator when the stakes are high for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 10 corporations. Juanita’s successes in patent litigation have protected billions of dollars in sales for clients and have helped define the ever-evolving landscape of IP law. Clients come to her from a cross-section of cutting-edge industries, including software, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. 

Having handled more than 150 trials during her career, Juanita is highly skilled at cases that rest, in large part, on expert analysis, testing, and testimony. Utilizing Fish & Richardson’s science- and technology-intensive expertise, she crafts novel, outside-the-box legal strategies. Her ability to present and challenge expert testimony in court has been a decisive factor in courtroom victories. In one case, the trial judge noted that the opposing expert’s “credibility was eviscerated on cross-examination” by Juanita. 

Throughout her 44-year career, Juanita’s numerous trials have resulted in notable wins. In 2018, the Federal Circuit unanimously affirmed a decision for client Gilead Sciences in which she successfully wiped out a $200 million damages award by convincing the court that opposing party Merck was guilty of unclean hands. In defense of client Microsoft, Juanita scored a huge jury win in 2017, in which the plaintiff originally demanded $63 million in damages. The jury returned a noninfringement verdict on every claim, awarding nothing to the plaintiff. Also in 2017, Juanita represented GlaxoSmithKline in a patent infringement lawsuit involving GSK’s highly-successful drug Coreg®. By utilizing a novel patent infringement theory, she convinced a jury that the defendant had willfully infringed and GSK was awarded $235 million in damages. In 2016, she led a team that successfully defended one of the largest mass tort/wrongful death cases in the United States, which included 12,000 cases (some of them class actions representing hundreds of individual plaintiffs). 

As a Latina, Juanita has shattered ethnic and gender barriers to become one of the U.S.’s top IP litigators, having received numerous honors for her courtroom successes and her devotion to the practice of law. She has been named Hatch-Waxman Litigator of the Year by LMG Life Sciences, received The American Lawyer’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, and been honored with Corporate Counsel’s National Women in Law Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017, Juanita was inducted into the California Bar Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, becoming the first Latina honoree and only the third inductee from San Diego to receive this honor. 

While she tries cases nationally, she is also active in her local community and played a significant role in drafting the original and the subsequent amendments to local patent rules for the Southern District of California.

As an elected member of the firm’s management committee, Juanita has championed policies that have changed the culture and diversity of Fish and become blueprints for similar policies at other firms. 

After graduating from Yale Law School, Juanita returned to San Diego and worked for Federal Defenders, Inc. She eventually opened her own practice, the first Latina to become a criminal defense solo practitioner in the community. She went on to be a partner in a preeminent international law firm before joining Fish in 2000.