They say you should never meet your heroes. But every now and then, a legend in the field meets a talented young professional and a new magic is born.

Jamon Hicks is a civil plaintiff and criminal defense attorney who joined forces with Carl Douglas ­– trained by Johnnie Cochran and known for his representation of O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and Jamie Fox – in founding Douglas / Hicks Law in 2014. The pair have gone on to represent victims of police brutality, sexual discrimination and wrongful termination, winning millions for individuals whose rights have been trampled.

Hicks, who has a reputation for being smooth yet fierce in the courtroom, graduated from UC Berkeley with an honors double major in English and African American studies. After obtaining his J.D. from Loyola Law School, he started with Carl Douglas at his independent firm and then worked a few years at Cochran Law Firm before partnering up with Douglas to form their current firm.

And the legendary magic lives on: “One of the biggest compliments I ever received from defense counsel was that I was a Johnnie Cochran disciple,” says Hicks.

Lawdragon: Can you describe for our readers the mix of work you do within your practice?

Jamon Hicks: I do a mix of plaintiff civil cases and criminal defense matters. On the plaintiff side, I practice civil rights, wrongful death, catastrophic personal jury, and employment law. On the criminal defense side I handle all serious felony matters including murders, attempted murder and assault with deadly weapon. I believe I practice impact litigation – cases the not only impact the individual client but the community as a whole.

LD: How did you first become interested in developing this type of practice?

JH: I was blessed to meet the iconic civil rights attorney Carl Douglas when I was a second-year student at Loyola Law School. At the time I was interested in being a federal public defender. After speaking to him, I knew that I could make a greater impact if I practiced criminal and civil law. While it is extremely challenging work, he has trained me in the same manner as Johnnie Cochran trained him. Never in my wildest imagination did 23-year-old me believe I would one day be partnered with Mr. Douglas and form Douglas / Hicks Law.

LD: What are some aspects about this work that you find professionally satisfying? What keeps you excited about it?

JH: In my practice, no day is the same. Every day presents new and different challenges. But every day I wake up knowing I have the ability to change someone's life. Through our work we are lucky to turn our client's darker yesterdays into brighter tomorrows. That mantra keeps me excited about our legal practice.

LD: Out of all the work you’ve done in your career, what would you say is the most interesting matter you’ve handled?

JH: A few years ago I handled a murder case where I 100 percent believe my client was not the shooter. The case had been tried twice before I took the case. The first trial ended in a hung jury. The second trial ended in a guilty verdict. That verdict was overturned on appeal. I tried the third trial. Again, a hung jury. On the fourth try, the jury got it right – not guilty on both counts. The case seemed like an episode of “Law & Order” with varying experts: DNA, fingerprints, gang and cell tower analysis.

LD: I see you recently received the National Bar Association's Power 50 Award. Congratulations!

JH: Thank you, it means a lot. This is the inaugural award which recognizes distinguished members whose professional legacy emulates the overall mission of the National Bar Association. The coveted Power 50 Award is presented to a member of the legal profession for their exemplary careers and selfless commitment to the legal community, and who is accomplished in all areas of the legal profession.

LD: You handle a lot of cases representing victims of police brutality. You have a long history of this work, but there seems to be more of them lately, at least in the news.  

JH: Since the George Floyd murder, I have seen more and more attorneys handling excessive force cases. The problem however, is that many of these attorneys are handling these cases because they are seeking fame and fortune. These are not the kinds of cases you do for fame and fortune. You must handle these cases because you are sincerely a believer in civil rights and equality. Treating these cases like traditional personal injury cases will have a detrimental impact on case precedent. This will result in establishing bad case law that will affect civil rights cases for generations to come.

Since the George Floyd murder, I have seen more and more attorneys handling excessive force cases. The problem however, is that many of these attorneys are handling these cases because they are seeking fame and fortune. These are not the kinds of cases you do for fame and fortune.

LD: Can you describe a recent matter that you’ve handled?

JH: I just finished a month-long trial in Northern California where a 25-year military veteran was accused of three counts of identity theft. In actuality, he was the victim of identity theft and whoever hacked him was using his personal identifying information to hack other victims. Although the trial lasted a month, the jury returned three not guilty verdicts on all three counts in less than an hour.

LD: That must have been gratifying for your client, and for yourself. 

JH: The impact on the client was enormous. Had we lost this case, he would have likely been discharged from the military. Even more terrifying is that he was facing up to three years in state prison per count.

This verdict was also extremely special because my mother, son and sister were all in the courtroom when the verdict was reached. I will never forget that feeling when I turned around and saw them gleaming with pride as the final not guilty verdict was read.

LD: What were some of the big challenges of this case?

JH: Technology is not my strong suit so learning about ports, IPs and remote connectivity was a real challenge. I was also in a jurisdiction where I have never practiced so I was outside of my comfort zone.

LD: How did you first decide to become a lawyer?

JH: I always knew that I wanted to be a trial attorney. My mom was a court clerk so I literally grew up in the courtroom. Once I got to college I continued following my dream, even joining UC Berkeley's pre law society.

The 1992 L.A. Riots also had a great impact on me. I always knew that I wanted to protect my community from abusive policing.

LD: What was your earliest law job? And what did you learn from that experience?

JH: At the age of 15, I worked as a file clerk for a solo practitioner. There I learned about the business side of running a small practice in addition to client management. I also learned about the civil discovery process and enjoyed reading the various pleadings.

LD: Is there a specific reason why you chose Loyola for law school?

JH: From the moment I stepped on to the campus of Loyola Law School, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. I loved the campus, professors and diverse student body. I also loved the nationally ranked Byrne Trial Advocacy team and made it my goal to make the team. Not only did I make the team but I also coached for years. Currently, I am an adjunct professor teaching trial advocacy.

LD: Did you connect with any particular professors there?

JH: The two most important professors who contributed to my personal and professional growth were Professor Gary Williams (Evidence) and Susan Poehls (Trial Advocacy).

LD: What advice do you have now for current law school students?

JH: Chase your passion, not just the money. Most law students are sacrificing their mental and spiritual health seeking the highest pay day. I encourage my law students to always think about the future and not just the present.

LD: Tell me more about having the iconic Carl Douglas as your mentor and now partner.

JH: Carl has taught me more about life than law. He has guided me as a young Black attorney through the darkness of the litigation process. He has helped me keep my eye on the ultimate prize which is making sure I am a voice for the voiceless. He continuously reminds me that I am an attorney and counselor at law. Most importantly he reminds me to keep family first because there will always be another case.

LD: How has your firm developed since its founding in 2014?

This verdict was also extremely special because my mother, son and sister were all in the courtroom when the verdict was reached. I will never forget that feeling when I turned around and saw them gleaming with pride as the final not guilty verdict was read.

JH: The biggest change for me came approximately four years ago when I added employment law to our firm. I also notice a big change in the larger industry with the impact of social media on marketing for law firms. While I have an appreciation for social media marketing, I still place a higher premium on referrals and co-counseling partnerships.

LD: What are some of the challenges you face in running your own firm?

JH: The biggest challenge that I face is balancing the business side with the practice side. I am reminded that I am running a business and cannot lose sight of that. I also have to deal with managing the personalities of the DH team. This can prove to be challenging even for a boutique firm like ours.

That said, in addition to our numerous accolades and achievements, I’m proud to say that we are a law family in addition to being a law firm.

LD: Can you share some strategic plans for the firm in the coming months or years?

JH: My hope is that our firm will continue to expand our reach throughout all of California and even establish a footprint in neighboring jurisdictions like Nevada.

LD: Can you share a lawyer you have come up against in a negotiation or case that you admire, and why?

JH: I admire George Mallory and Rickie Ivie. I consider both of these legal titans mentors, even though they are part of the civil defense bar. I admire them because they both built their practices from the ground up but always remained visible in the Black community.

LD: What do you do for fun when you’re outside the office?

JH: I enjoy spending time with my family. Coaching my son's basketball games. Watching sports. Traveling and learning about other cultures – when my schedule allows. And teaching future trial warriors is my second passion.

LD: Beyond your trial advocacy work, you seem very involved in your community.

JH: Yes, it’s important to me. I am on various bar association boards including the National Bar Association, California Association of Black Lawyers, John M. Langston Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, California Association of California, and California Employment Association. I was recently appointed to the Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Committee by County Supervisor of the 2nd District Holly Mitchell.

LD: Do you have a favorite book or movie about the justice system?

JH: Book, “Native Son.” Movie, “A Time to Kill.”

LD: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be doing now?

JH: Teaching.