Robert S. Brewer, Jr.

Mr. Brewer’s practice focuses on a variety of civil litigation and white collar defense areas including government investigations, fraud, business and commercial torts, health care, environmental and intellectual property disputes.


Mr. Brewer received a B.A. from St. Lawrence University in 1968 and his J.D. from University of San Diego School of Law in 1975. 

Employment Background

Prior to returning to Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in September 2021, President Donald Trump nominated Mr. Brewer to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California on June 25, 2018, upon the recommendation of Senators Harris and Feinstein.  The full Senate unanimously confirmed his appointment on January 2, 2019.  He was sworn-in on January 16, 2019 and served until February 28, 2021.  Mr. Brewer previously served as Of Counsel for SCMV from November 2015 to September 2018. 

Mr. Brewer was a respected prosecutor in Los Angeles from 1975‑1982, serving as a Deputy District Attorney and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney – including as Assistant Chief of the Criminal Division – prosecuting cases involving espionage, bank robberies, smuggling, narcotics, murder for hire and civil rights violations. 

Upon moving back to San Diego in 1982, Mr. Brewer entered private law practice specializing in a variety of civil litigation and white collar defense areas.  He co-founded the San Diego law firm of Chapin & Brewer in 1987 and served as the managing partner of the San Diego office of McKenna & Cuneo from 1991-2008.

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Brewer was a partner in the San Diego office of the international law firm Jones Day and was Partner in charge of the San Diego office, 2012-2013. He was a candidate for San Diego County District Attorney in 2014. As both a defense attorney and State and Federal prosecutor, Mr. Brewer handled State and Federal environmental cases including, among others, the Clean Water Act (CWA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Before entering the field of law, Mr. Brewer was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam for 15 months as an Advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Division, in combat in both Cambodia and South Vietnam, and an Operations Officer with MACSOG.  For his combat service in Vietnam he was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Air Medals (one for valor), the Joint Service Commendation Medal and various Vietnamese medals for valor.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • American Bar Association
  • San Diego Bar Association
  • Enright Inn of Court (Master and Past President)
  • Federal Defenders (Former Board Member)
  • Advisory Board, United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit (2011-present)

Community Affiliations

  • Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (Trustee)
  • StarPal (Board Member)
  • Downtown Rotary Club
  • San Diego Humane Society (Former Board Member)
  • Canine Companions for Independence (Donor and Former “Puppy Raiser”)
  • American Red Cross (Volunteer)
  • San Diego American Cancer Society (Partnership Council Member)
  • Patriot’s Initiative (Advisory Board)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Veteran’s Day, Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial, Keynote Speaker (2015)
  • Adjunct Professor, USD School of Law (co-taught Advanced Civil Litigation) (2014)
  • Numerous speeches on Criminal Law issues as Candidate for San Diego County District Attorney (2014)
  • Veteran’s Day, Poway Veterans Memorial, Keynote Speaker (2013)
  • Cal Western School of Law, Law Review Dinner, Keynote Speaker (2012)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Recipient, Distinguished Graduate Award, USD School of Law (2016)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (1998-present)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers (1998-present)
  • Named San Diego’s Criminal Defense White-Collar Lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers (2011)
  • Recipient of the Daniel T. Broderick Award (for Civility and Ethics), San Diego Bar Association (2009)
  • Named by Chambers USA as one of the leading white-collar crime/government investigations lawyer in California (2008)
  • Named by San Diego Super Lawyers magazine as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in San Diego (2008)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (1999)
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