Time flies when you are having fun: Brian T. Murtha announces his retirement

Time flies when you are having fun: Brian T. Murtha announces his retirement

Brian T. Murtha announces his retirement, effective 12/31/2021. After 36 years of active practice, preceded by eight fruitful years of paralegal work in the County, I am drawn to a new career, as can be seen by the second of the accompanying photos.

Photo: Mr. Murtha, then and now.

Yes, I became a grandpa seven months ago, and my wife, Ellen Fitzgerald Murtha, and I happened to be in a position to serve the lovely and hard-working parents of Cyrus, by covering his care full time four days per week, 7:15 AM to around 5:00 PM. (On the fifth day of the week we bounce around our childless house, missing the tyke.)

I was fortunate to have excellent models for the law, as a paralegal for Ludlow, Thompson, Fitzwater and Bolles for almost six years; each man unique and impactful in our legal community. (I am a third generation attorney, in an extended family containing now 9 lawyers, and worked in my uncle’s law office for a summer while in high school.) I filled the next two years working first at labor law for Valerie McGuire, and then general practice at Wells & Wells in Soquel, (having attended Monterey College of Law with Kate Wells.) During those years I had occasion to interact with all of the judges, many of the court clerks, and the rest of the legal community – all of which supported my goal of working through law school and becoming an attorney.

When I passed the Bar and was sworn in by my fond acquaintance from Resurrection Church, then Judge Rich McAdams, half the legal community thought I’d been an attorney for years! Rich granted Ellen and me the favor of his band playing at our wedding reception ten years later. Gail Borkowski was a particular friend of my young daughter, Brianna, who found herself sitting on the counter as I filed papers with Gail. I stayed in the Wells & Wells building for five years as I built my practice. I then moved to Branciforte Plaza for the next 31 years!

My record of citizen and legal community service over my career has been previously noted – I can summarize it by saying that when Ian McPhail advised we new Monterey College of Law graduates that we must build a practice hard and fast so that when that’s done we can devote some of our time to community enhancing activities, I forgot the building part and went straight to community service. I continue today, serving as a commissioner on the Santa Cruz City Schools Personnel Commission, the California Rural Legal Assistance board, serving as a volunteer guardian ad litem for the Dependency Court, as chair of the People’s Democratic Club, and as one of Jimmy Panetta’s appointed representatives to the State Democratic Party.

My proudest accomplishment as an attorney was serving on the Santa Cruz County Bar Association Board, during which I authored over 20 articles on attorneys in our community who serve the community.