Gil Berkeley: A Career With Purpose

This month, we spotlight Gil Berkeley. Our readers are likely to know Gil as one of this county’s eminent business attorneys, whose practice focuses on counseling privately-held companies on real estate and general business matters and serving as local real estate counsel for national and publicly-held companies.  Gil rejoined Morgan Miller Blair in 2009 after serving as General Counsel to SPI Holdings, a privately held real estate investment and development company.  Prior to working for SPI, he was at Morgan Miller Blair as a principal from 1997 – 2006, and was Managing Shareholder from 2003 – 2005.  Gil now acts in an “Of Counsel” capacity.  He has been recognized as a Northern California “SuperLawyer” in the Law & Politics magazine surveys consecutively from 2004 – 2010.

Gil and red poppies, Anatolya countryside

Those who know Gil a bit more, know that he is married to Ann and together they have 2 daughters. Gil is also an active Board member and past President of the Diablo Regional Arts Association, a member of Stanford Professionals in Real Estate (SPIRE) and an avid fan of contemporary ballet and dance. However, what we found especially interesting was that Gil has always had a dedication to pro bono.

Notably, over the past ten years, Gil has been a Board member of and provided pro bono legal work to the Contra Costa Solano Food Bank on an as needed basis.  18 years ago, Gil founded Food From the Bar, the annual CCCBA food drive that has raised over $ $820,000 and 53 tons of food for the Food Bank. Like many others at MMB, Gil has made a profound difference in the lives of the less fortunate by donating his time and money to the lessening of hunger in the Bay Area With his support, guidance and direction, the Contra Costa County Food bank has gone a long way to fulfill its mission to help reduce food waste, feed hungry people, and raise public awareness of issues related to food and hunger.

18 years ago, Gil founded Food From the Bar, the annual CCCBA food drive that has raised over $ $820,000 and 53 tons of food for the Food Bank.

Another fascinating aspect of Gil’s career is still being manifested: Gil, like some other attorneys we have spotlighted, has plans not so much to “retire”, but instead looks forward to continuing a transition from practicing law in the traditional sense to donating more of his legal talents to worthy causes and nonprofit programs–and doing more and more pro bono legal work during the years to come.

A great example of how this is already occurring happened when he told his sister of his plans.  His sister, Connie, recently returned to the Bay Area and had become a board member of Girls Inc. (a nonprofit organization that offers academic enrichment activities, skill-building programs and counseling services to girls and their families in Alameda County). When Gil’s sister heard Gil’s plan, she caught on quickly and enlisted his commitment to provide pro bono legal representation to Girls Inc. in its effort to acquire a new facility for its headquarters and operating programs.  Gil was not at all surprised.  In fact, he explained it in his always modest way, stating, “I am quite sure I can trace where both my sister’s and my own inclination towards pro-bono and volunteer work originated: our grandfather and father. They were always involved in the community and growing up we learned that giving back to the community was both a responsibility and a privilege.

Gil Berkeley with Masai children in Kenya

Gil is another great example of how lawyers can not only, “do well by doing good” but also how we all have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in the lives of those less fortunate.  Please join us in thanking him for his years of service and for setting an example of a Career with Purpose.

About our Pro Bono Spotlights:

For those readers who have not yet made their own pro-bono commitment for 2011, there are many ways in which attorneys can assist indigent parties, assist the court in processing its cases and increase access to justice.  For further information on how you can become involved, please contact Craig Nevin at

Filed Under: Pro Bono


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