Brown Rudnick promotes Johnny Depp's lawyer to partner

Camille Vasquez regarded as key to landing $15m verdict in favour of Depp

Camille Vasquez Image courtesy of Brown Rudnick

Brown Rudnick has promoted litigation specialist Camille Vasquez to partner as a direct result of her role in winning a $15m jury verdict for actor Johnny Depp’s defamation claim against ex-wife Amber Heard. 

The firm said it ordinarily waits to promote lawyers to the partnership until the end of the fiscal year, but Vasquez’s performance in the trial merited the honour just a week after the verdict was delivered on 1 June. 

Vasquez joined the firm’s office in Irvine, California, as an associate in 2018 from Manatt Phelps & Phillips. She specialises in plaintiff-side defamation suits, with additional experience litigating contract disputes, business-related torts, and employment-related claims. 

Brown Rudnick chairman and CEO William Baldiga said: “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.”

The sports and entertainment litigation team defending Depp was led by partner Ben Chew and included partners Wayne Dennison and Rebecca MacDowell Lecaroz. Vasquez was one of six associates working on the case and played a key role in conducting Heard’s cross-examination. 

Heard, meanwhile, was represented by a team including Elaine Charlson Bredenhoft of Washington DC-based litigation firm Charleson Bredehoft Cohen Brown & Nadelhaft and civil litigation attorney Benjamin Rotterborn of Woods Rogers. 

The trial, which began on 11 April, centred on an op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post in 2018 about domestic violence which did not name Depp. The following year Depp sued Heard for $50m over alleged defamatory claims made in the op-ed. 

While the jury found in favour of Depp and awarded him $15m, it also found that Depp was liable for defamatory statements made by his former attorney Adam Waldman about Heard and awarded her $2m in damages.

In a statement from Brown Rudnick following the conclusion of the trial, the actor’s legal team said it was “honoured to represent Depp in this important litigation”. 

“We join with Mr. Depp’s many fans and supporters to celebrate that the jury has agreed with our arguments and followed the evidence to vindicate Mr. Depp,” the statement reads.

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