Education

  • Yale University (J.D., 1984)
  • Occidental College (M.A., Urban Studies, 1984)
  • Coro Foundation Fellow (1977-1978)
  • Trinity College (B.A., 1977), with honors, Phi Beta Kappa

Bruce Wessel joined Irell in 1986 after his federal court clerkship.  He has extensive litigation experience including more than twenty trials and arbitrations on subjects such as intellectual property, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, trade secrets, and business valuations.  Appellate matters Bruce has handled include Globetrotter Software, Inc. v. Elan Computer Group, Inc., 362 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (patent law preemption of state-law torts), Hollywood Screentest of America v. NBC Universal, 151 Cal. App. 4th 631 (2007) (summary judgment for defendant in idea theft case), Dove Audio v. Rosenfeld Meyer & Sussman, 47 Cal. App. 4th 777 (1996) (anti-SLAPP ruling for defendant on defamation claim), Focus Media, Inc. v. National Broadcasting Co., 378 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2004) (representing creditors in involuntary bankruptcy of ad agency).

Bruce is recognized in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers for his expertise in Commercial Litigation, First Amendment Law, and Media Law.  His publications include “Libel Claims Made Against Lawyers for Statements Made to the Press,” Communications Lawyer 21 (Fall 1998) (cited by several state appellate courts), “Senate Gridlock Causes En Banc Uncertainty,” The Recorder (July 12, 2013) (co-author), and "What You Need to Know About the Defend Trade Secrets Act," The Recorder (April 27, 2016) (co-author).  Before joining Irell, he clerked for the Honorable Edward Rafeedie, United States District Court Judge for the Central District of California.

Bruce is a member of the Board of Directors of the Coro Foundation for Southern California and the Board of Directors of Bet Tzedek Legal Services.  For over twenty years, he served on the Board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America ("CCFA").  He is an early-stage investor in two Southern California startups – Tuition.io (helping borrowers manage and reduce their student loan debt) and HelloTech (providing on-demand in-home tech support). 

Prior to law school, Bruce ran two successful congressional campaigns and worked in Congress and in the State of Connecticut Legislature.  During his legal career, he has represented elected officials and legislative bodies in redistricting litigation and has handled constitutional challenges to statutes and ballot measures.

Bruce is a member of the firm's Executive Committee.  He also serves on the two firm committees that oversee firm retirement plan assets.

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Bar & Court Admissions

  • 1984, California
  • Central, Northern, Southern and Eastern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Federal Circuit