Melvin M. Belli, Sr. - CURRICULUM VITAE
Famed international trial attorney Melvin M.
Belli heads the law firm of Melvin M. Belli Sr., which operates
law offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stockton, San Diego,
Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, Santa Ana, Sacramento, California, an
in the nations capital-Washington, D.C.
Born July 29 1907, in Sonora, California of a
pioneer family, Belli's forebearers were early California
bankers and educators. His grandfather, Henry Mouron, was an
educator and a headmaster of some of California's first schools.
Anna Mouron, his grandmother, was California's first woman
druggist. His father Caeser Belli, was a well known banker in
the State's Mother Lode region, and friend to Bank of America's
founder A. P. Gianini.
After graduating from the University of
California Boalt School of Law, in 1933, Belli assumed the role
of an indigent by working for the Federal Government. Traveling
by boxcar he wrote a report on the Depression's effects on the
vagrant population of the United States. His report was used as
the basis for transient relief programs throughout the nation.
Belli, admitted to the California Bar in 1933,
began his career as the counsel for the Catholic priest of San
Quentin Prison. Belli took up the challenging task of defending
men already condemned to die. Since that first case, Belli
continues to make an impact in both criminal and civil cases.
Melvin M. Belli's cases have, over the years,
drawn media attention. Some of his famous clients include: Jack
Ruby, on trial in 1964 in Dallas, for the murder of Lee Harvey
Oswald; and the "Angel of Death,'' the Nevada nurse accused of
murdering patients. Hollywood stars have also called upon
Belli's talents. Stars included notables like Mae West, Errol
Flynn, Tony Curtis, and Lenny Bruce. Belli has also represented
Martha Mitchell, Lana Turner, and The Rolling Stones. Other of
Belli's clients involved in some of the spectacular and tragic
cases that have hit the headlines over the years: The Korean
Jetliner disaster; The MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas; The
collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Walkway; The Bendectin birth
defect cases; and the Bhopal/Union Carbide isocyanate gas
However, Belli is better known for defending the
"rights of the individual." His work in representing victims of
personal injury and in raising personal injury awards to a new
level has earned him the title "The King Of Torts," bestowed on
him by LIFE Magazine in 1954.
"The Father Of Demonstrative Evidence," as he is
also called, has changed the courtroom with his innovations.
Among them include: The concept of the "Adequate Award;" The
development of the opening statement; The use of "Day in the
Life" films to graphically show the life of a victim; Aerial
photography; and the use of economist techniques.
Belli is a founder and former president of the
Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) founder and dean
of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, on the Board of
Directors of the Barristers Club, Provost of the Belli Society,
and the author of sixtytwo (62) books on civil and criminal
trial procedures including the famed five volume "MODERN
The name of Melvin M. Belli is on the permanent
list of this country's fabled lawyers. At the age of 78 when
most men are content with reflecting upon past accomplishments,
Melvin M. Belli continues to press toward the challenges of the
1980's. He is currently involved in cases concerning such modem
dilemmas such as computer piracy and cable television rights.
Though the times and trials have changed, Melvin Belli still
makes history and sets precedents in the courts.
MELVIN M. BELLI
Famed international lawyer Melvin M. Belli heads
the law firm of Melvin M. Belli Sr., which operates law offices
in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Stockton, San Diego,
Sacramento, Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. Belli is widely known
as a pioneer and a pacesetter among attorneys. His inventiveness
in the courtroom has made him one of the most imitated and
influential lawyers in the world. However, above all, Melvin
Belli has been blessed with a hunger for excellence and a mind
for innovation. These qualities have allowed him to rise to the
top of his profession, and have allowed him to bring the law
profession to a new level.