• 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 25 trials in state and federal courts and before U.S. and international arbitration tribunals. Recently, Bruce was a member of the successful trial team for the defendant in a breach of fiduciary duty class action, tried in Los Angeles County Superior Court, that was named one of the top twenty defense verdicts for 2016. His trials also include patent and trade secret matters.

Significant cases that Bruce has handled in the trial courts and through appeal include Globetrotter Software, Inc. v. Elan Computer Group, Inc., 362 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (state-law torts asserted in patent case preempted and barred by the First Amendment), Hollywood Screentest of America v. NBC Universal, 151 Cal. App. 4th 631 (2007) (summary judgment for defendant in idea theft case based on independent creation), Dove Audio v. Rosenfeld Meyer & Sussman, 47 Cal. App. 4th 777 (1996) (anti-SLAPP ruling in favor of defendant law firm on defamation claims), Focus Media, Inc. v. National Broadcasting Co., 378 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2004) (successful representation of television stations in involuntary bankruptcy of advertising agency).

Bruce is recognized in the 2019 edition of Best Lawyers for his expertise in Commercial Litigation, First Amendment Law, and Media Law. His publications include "Preliminary Injunctions Enforcing Contractual Nondisparagement Clauses," Communications Lawyer (Fall 2017), “Libel Claims Against Lawyers for Statements Made to the Press,” Communications Lawyer (Fall 1998), “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, Bruce clerked for United States District Court Judge Edward Rafeedie in the Central District of California.

Bruce is a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Coro Foundation for Southern California and a member of the Board of Directors of Bet Tzedek Legal Services.

Prior to law school, Bruce ran two successful congressional campaigns and worked in the United States House of Representatives and in the State of Connecticut Legislature. As a lawyer, he has represented elected officials in redistricting litigation and has handled constitutional challenges to state statutes and ballot measures. He was counsel for the California State Senate in a three-judge district court proceeding Cano v. Davis, 211 F. Supp. 2d 1208 (C.D. Cal. 2002).

Bruce serves on the two firm committees that oversee firm retirement plan assets. He is an early-stage investor in three Southern California startups—, HelloTech, and TennantBase.

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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