McGeorge School of Law alumnus delivers relief to survivors of natural disasters

Two people wearing protective gear high-five each other

Leona Mote (left) high-fives Trevor Quirk as a team of volunteers helps sift through the rubble of her home near Ojai that burnt to the ground in the Thomas Fire. Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times.

Personal injury attorney Trevor Quirk battled fires and set up a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people, animals, and the environment

In 2017, a wildfire raged for 38 days in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, destroying 281,893 acres of land and 1,063 structures. The fire — later named the Thomas Fire — was the largest California wildfire in recorded history at the time.

Alumnus Trevor Quirk, ’03, and his wife, Aletheia, have lived in Ojai, California since 2006. Their family ranch is located five miles away from where the Thomas Fire started.

On Dec. 4, 2017, the field next to Quirks' home was quickly engulfed in flames. Quirk asked his wife to evacuate with their three young children, while he headed directly toward the flames to defend their land using firefighting skills he learned in college.

“I started doing what I needed to do to protect my house from burning down. I wasn't going to leave, and that's why it was fortuitous that I had that firefighting experience,” Quirk said.

Quirk cut fire lines while riding a tractor alongside his 93-year-old neighbor in an effort to save his family ranch and the homes of his neighbors.

After the fire was extinguished, roadblocks were set up to prevent people from going into the area affected by the fire, and residents had no access to electricity, internet, gas, or water for several days.

“We needed to get supplies to people who were left up there. I used social media to harness the energy and momentum of people wanting to help,” Quirk said.

A man talking on the phone sits next to natural diaster relief supplies

Trevor Quirk coordinates relief efforts a few days after the Thomas Fire devastated Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in Dec. 2017.

He organized a pancake breakfast for community members who stayed behind to fight the fire. Quirk loaded up his truck with leftovers from the breakfast and delivered them to the community. He also mobilized volunteers, coordinated deliveries of supplies and equipment, helped community members sift through the rubble for cherished belongings, and developed a disaster relief model.

The pancake breakfast inspired Quirk and fellow Ojai resident Justin Homze to found a nonprofit organization called Upper Ojai Relief, which helps survivors of natural disasters to recover and rebuild. Upper Ojai Relief has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for survivors, in addition to donations of food, supplies, and equipment.

“We had set this up and then the whole thing just snowballed. There were supplies literally coming in from around the world,” Quirk said. “The UPS truck would show up, and they’d be like, ‘Are you, Trevor? This entire truck is for you.’”

Quirk has been featured in multiple documentaries for his humanitarian efforts, including Burning Ojai: Our Fire Story on HBO and Thomas Fire Stories - Trevor Quirk and Upper Ojai Relief by CAPS Media.

In 2018, Quirk became the youngest recipient of the Ojai Valley Rotary’s Living Treasures award for his heroic efforts during the fire. He was also chosen to be the town’s Grand Marshall during the Independence Day Parade in 2018.

Quirk’s compassion for others and love for his community has persisted. In the years since the Thomas Fire, Quirk has continued to put himself on the front lines and champion relief efforts for survivors of natural disasters, including the Montecito Mudslides in 2018, the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire in 2018 and 2019, and the mudslides in Southern California in January 2023.

Two men pose for a photo in front of a courthouse

Trevor Quirk (right) won a $8.4 million verdict for his client, Richard Endreszl, (left) in June 2022.

In addition to his work fighting fires and helping families and animals affected by natural disasters, Quirk operates a successful practice with a full caseload as a skilled personal injury attorney. He started his legal career in Las Vegas, Nevada working with famed McGeorge School of Law alumnus Robert Eglet, ’88, and he went on to found Quirk Law Firm, LLP in 2006. The firm now maintains two offices, which are located in Ventura, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I absolutely love doing trials and helping people who truly need it. I found the perfect career. I got really lucky,” Quirk said.

Quirk has a track record of earning favorable rulings and multi-million-dollar settlements for his clients, including:

  • A $26 million verdict for a wrongful death case involving a pedestrian killed by an intoxicated driver in Ventura
  • A $10 million verdict for a wrongful death case involving a man killed in a hit and run in Butte
  • A $8.4 million verdict for a man injured during a car crash in Long Beach

Additionally, he was recognized as the Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association in both 2017 and 2019. He was also nominated for the award in 2015 and 2016.

Quirk is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Ventura County Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and Nevada Trial Lawyers Association.

Quirk grew up in Sacramento. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis in 1999 and a JD from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 2003.

During his time in law school, he served as the president of the Student Bar Association, founded the Environmental Law Society, and played on the Rugby Football Club. He created an after-school tutoring program for underprivileged children at the Police Athletic League.

“I absolutely love McGeorge. I had such a good time there,” Quirk said.

Give to Upper Ojai Relief.

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