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Charles Bird '73, Top Appellate Attorney and Great Friend to King Hall, Dies at 73

News Posted on June 24, 2021

Charles A. Bird ’73, a leading appellate attorney and dedicated alumnus who established UC Davis Law’s Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair, has died at age 73. He passed away June 21 after a long illness.

Focused on appeals and writs in all California and federal appellate courts, Bird retired as a partner with Dentons in San Diego in 2018. He spent 45 years with Denton and its predecessor firms.

“Charlie was the heart and soul of Luce Forward – our San Diego-based legacy firm that in 2012 combined its practices with McKenna Long & Aldridge,” noted an “In Memoriam” tribute posted on the Dentons site this week.

Bird argued civil cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth circuits and California’s Supreme Court and six intermediate appellate districts, the Dentons post noted, adding that more than 60 of his cases were decided in officially published opinions.

A one-time president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Bird received the Witkin Award for Excellence in the Practice of Law in 2016.

Bird was a double Aggie, earning his B.A. from UC Davis in 1969 (the same year his wife, Charlotte, earned hers) before graduating Order of the Coif from UC Davis Law in 1973.

Bird clerked for the Hon. Robert Boochever, an Alaska Supreme Court justice and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judge who would become Bird’s longtime friend. (Boochever died in 2011).

In honor of Boochever, and Charles Bird’s parents, Elizabeth J. and Donald G. Bird, Charles and Charlotte Bird in 1996 established the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality. The chair’s purpose is to preserve and expand understanding of the virtues necessary to a great republic, including the freedom of conscience embodied in the liberties of political, religious, informational and artistic expression of the First Amendment.

Professor and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, who died this past May, was the chair’s inaugural holder before his retirement in 2006. He was succeeded by Professors Alan Brownstein, Angela Harris and Ashutosh Bhagwat., the current Boochever and Bird Chair.

Bird is survived by his wife, Charlotte. Plans for a memorial service have not been announced.