Professor Justin Brooks is the director of California Innocence
Project, the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, and California
Western's LLM in Trial Advocacy specializing in Federal Criminal Law.
Prior to coming to California, Professor Brooks practiced as a criminal
defense attorney in Washington DC, Michigan, and Illinois. Over the
course of his career he has served as counsel on several high-profile
criminal cases and has been successful in exonerating wrongfully
convicted clients. He has been recognized several times by the Los
Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California. In
2010, California Lawyer magazine awarded him the prestigious "Lawyer of
the Year" award.
Professor Brooks began his teaching career as a Fellow at Georgetown
Law Center in 1990. He continued to teach at Georgetown after his
fellowship ended and served as Associate Director of Georgetown’s
Corrections Clinic. In 1993, he began teaching at Thomas M. Cooley Law
School where he taught criminal law, criminal procedure, death penalty
law, and law and literature. He directed the moot court program, coached
the law school’s first national championship moot court team, and
supervised a death penalty clinical program.
In 1999, Professor Brooks moved to California and founded the California
Innocence Project at California Western School of Law with Emeritus Professor Jan
Stiglitz. The project is an in-house law school clinic that
investigates and litigates cases of factual innocence while training law
students to be ethical, justice-driven advocates. The project has been
successful in exonerating many wrongfully convicted clients and has been
recognized with several awards, as well as local, national, and
international media attention.
Professor Brooks has been involved in training lawyers throughout his
career. As Director of the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, he
has run an annual trial skills academy for new lawyers for more than a
decade. As director of the LLM in Trial Advocacy, he oversees a
program dedicated to training lawyers for practice in federal court.
He has also been very involved in training Latin American lawyers. Brooks founded the only trial skills academy in the country conducted in
Spanish and he travels throughout Latin America training attorneys, judges,
and law enforcement agents on trial skills and criminal forensics.
Professor Brooks has published extensively in the areas of criminal
law, clinical education, and habeas litigation. He is the author of the
only legal casebook devoted to the topic of wrongful convictions.