One of California’s youngest judges credits his career success to McGeorge’s trial advocacy program
Victor Pippins Jr., JD '07, was ready to try his first case as a lawyer the instant he entered the courtroom. Now he's ready to preside over his first case as one of California's youngest judges.
In December, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Pippins to the San Diego County Superior Court. His selection came as no surprise to the San Diego legal community that has watched the 42 year-old criminal defense attorney's rise to prominence. He credits much of that success to his experience at McGeorge.
"My first trial as a lawyer was in federal court, as I started my career at the Federal Defenders of San Diego," Pippins recalls. "My opponent was a seasoned federal prosecutor so I was pretty nervous as I prepared, but that trial was far easier than what I had seen during competition prep at McGeorge. Plus, I won the trial."
Pippins next stop was at Higgs Fletcher & Mack, a large law firm known for its civil work that also had a small criminal practice headed up by the former elected District Attorney of San Diego County. Pippins branched into white-collar crime while staying true to his first passion as a founding board member of the San Diego Indigent Criminal Defense Grant Fund. During his seven-year stint at Higgs, he was twice recognized as a "Rising Star" in his field.
In 2018, Pippins launched the Law Office of Victor Pippins. His criminal defense practice ranged from theft, DUI, and drug offenses to representation of businesses and individuals charged with tax fraud, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, and misappropriation of public funds.
Along the way, Pippins' skills and courtroom decorum attracted the attention of media outlets seeking his expertise and ability to explain complex legal issues. The University of San Diego School of Law also recognized his legal prowess and ability to connect with others. He now teaches Criminal Procedure there as an adjunct professor.
"My students frequently ask me what they can do in law school to prepare for practice," Pippins says. "My top answer is always to participate in a trial advocacy program. I probably owe my entire career to the program at McGeorge."