Gregory R. Ellis received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College in 1972, and in 1985 received a JD degree from UCLA School of Law. While at UCLA, where he was on Law Review, he discovered a passion for the sort of issue and policy discourse that often accompanied the analysis of case law in the classroom. Practitioners advised him he could best pursue that interest after law school by focusing on appellate law.
He believed he should first experience trial practice, however, so after graduation he worked as a litigator at the Century City firm Memel, Jacobs, Pierno, Gersh & Ellsworth, where he participated in a wide variety of cases ranging from health care litigation to business torts to lawsuits raising environmental issues concerning real property. He also wrote the occasional appellate brief as well. At the start of his second year, he was given the honor of heading the firm’s Bank of America project, where he handled some 200 small defense cases for the bank, in essence functioning as a sole practitioner within the larger firm.
During that year he tried four cases, arbitrated many more, and negotiated some 40 settlement agreements. In 1987, Mr. Ellis decided to pursue his appellate law aspirations and joined Horvitz & Levy in Encino (at the time, Horvitz, Levy & Amerian). There, working first as an associate and then later on a “contract” basis, he handled a wide assortment of appellate and writ matters. Several years later he also began representing indigent criminal defendants in court-appointed appeals as a member of the various criminal appellate projects throughout California.
In 1994, Mr. Ellis received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he had been participating in a graduate degree program. That same year he relocated his family to the Bay Area, where he became a name partner in the boutique San Francisco appellate law firm Wolff & Ellis (later Wolff, Ellis & Clausen). There, he added family law appeals to his practice, an area which, along with criminal appellate law, remains a focus of his current firm.
Ten years later, in 2004, Mr. Ellis returned to Los Angeles where he became head of the appellate practice at Geragos & Geragos, APC. While at that firm he continued handling criminal, family law, and civil appeals (the latter ranging from personal injury to civil rights to invasion of privacy cases). He also drafted significant trial court motions and writ petitions in two of the firm’s high-publicity cases which were pending at the time – People v. Scott Peterson, and People v. Michael Jackson.
In 2006, Mr. Ellis became a partner in the appellate firm Esner, Chang & Ellis, reuniting with two colleagues from his Horvitz & Levy years. He continued representing appellants and respondents in civil and family law appeals and writs, and appellants on criminal appeals.
In January 2010, Mr. Ellis formed his present firm, the Law Offices of Gregory R. Ellis. He continues to represent appellants and respondents in appellate and writ matters in all substantive areas. He also consults with trial counsel concerning strategic and tactical trial issues, and drafts substantive motions and pleadings in various pre-judgment and post-judgment trial court proceedings.