After gaining a cult following for helping steer Johnny Depp’s defamation case to victory, attorney Camille Vasquez garnered another distinction on Tuesday: a partnership at her law firm.
Formerly an associate at the firm Brown Rudnick, Vasquez has experienced a meteoric rise to her legal career over the course of Depp’s litigation with ex-wife Amber Heard. Late last summer, the legal publication Best Lawyers listed her as among the “Ones to Watch” for 2022. Then, millions of people around the world did watch her combative grilling of Heard in two rounds of cross-examination.
Vasquez then brought it home in closing arguments, urging the jury to view her client as the abuse victim and Heard as the abuser.
“You have been entrusted with a serious task,” Vasquez told the jury late last month. “What’s at stake in this trial is a man’s good name—even more than that, what’s at stake in this trial is a man’s life.
“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” she continued at the time. “And there is a victim of domestic abuse in this courtroom, but it is not Ms. Heard.”
Such messaging during summations ultimately steered a Virginia jury to accept all three of Depp’s defamation claims and award him what ultimately amounted to $10.35 million. Jurors separately found in favor of Heard on one count, assigning $2 million in damages.
Though technically delivering a mixed verdict, jurors overwhelmingly found in Depp’s favor and gave him a financial windfall.
Brown Rudnick’s CEO William Baldiga noted in his statement that the firm departed from its usual practices to give Vasquez a promotion ahead of schedule.
“We are delighted to welcome Camille to the partnership,” Baldiga said. “Historically, we have reserved this announcement for the end of our fiscal year. But Camille’s performance during the Johnny Depp trial proved to the world that she was ready to take this next step now. We are incredibly proud of her and look forward to what she will accomplish as our newest partner.”
Vasquez said she was “delighted” that she received the firm’s “full vote of confidence.”
“I’m proud of the uniquely talented team I’ve had the privilege to lead, which exemplified teamwork and collaboration, and I look forward to continuing to represent Brown Rudnick’s culture of excellence,” she said.
Her biography on the firm’s website reveals little about her legal career before the Depp case, other than her having graduated from Southwestern Law School in 2010 and received her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Southern California in 2006.
On her LinkedIn page, Vasquez listed her first gig as an attorney with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, a Los Angeles-based firm that reported more than $316 million in revenue in 2017. Court records, however, show her working with that firm since as early as early as 2014.
Brown Rudnick is listed among the American Lawyer’s top 200 firms in the United States.
Before Depp v. Heard, Vasquez’s clients had a decidedly lower profile. Records from the Central District of California, the federal jurisdiction that includes Vasquez’s office, lists her as an attorney in eight prior cases, largely contract, employer, labor or insurance disputes. None of those involved Hollywood megastars, and save for a subsidiary of AT&T, most of the parties were not well known. That cross-section of cases does not include other state and federal courts.
Then, with a high-profile celebrity litigation, came Vasquez’s social media coronation. Depp supporters branded her “Queen Camille Vasquez” online. The news of her promotion sparked another Twitter trend: “Congratulations Camille.”
(Photo by STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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