I grew up in New York City in the borough of Queens. I am the oldest of three children and I have a sister four years my junior and a brother eight years my junior. My father was a New York City Police officer and my mother was a homemaker who also worked part-time as a waitress. I attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn which was run by the Christian Brothers. It was a great place to be educated. While at Loughlin I was a member of the swimming and waterpolo teams and participated in scholastic debate and public speaking. During my high school years I worked on weekends as a busboy in a supper club on Long Island.
I was fortunate to obtain a congressional nomination and an appointment to attend the United States Naval Academy which had been a long time aspiration. Four days after graduating from high school on June 22, 1968 I entered the Academy on June 26th to commence plebe summer. I graduated from USNA on June 7, 1972 and was commissioned an Ensign (O-1) in the U.S. Navy. I served two years as a surface officer on board USS Pyro (AE-24) participating in three Western Pacific deployments including service in support of combat operations in Vietnam. I entered BUD/S (Basic Underwated Demolition/SEAL Training in the fall of 1974. In March of 1975 I was assigned to the USS Monticello (LSD-35) and made a fourth West Pac deployment in 1976. In February 1977 I was assigned to Recruit Training Command San Diego as the assistant military training officer. In 1978, as a Lieutenant (O-3) I resigned my active commission in order to enter law school. I was subsequenlty given a commission in the United States Naval Reserve. During my subsequent reserve career I had the opportunity to serve as the reserve commanding officer of two Naval Reserve Force ships including USS Pluck (MSO-464) and USS Hepburn (FF-1055). I retired from the Naval Reserve having attained the rank of Captain (O-6) in 1996.
I attended Brooklyn Law School in New York for one year during which I was elected by my classmates as president of one of the two first year class sections. I decided to seek a transfer to the University of San Diego School of Law (USD) following a visit to San Diego during spring break. I received approval of my transfer request and returned to temporary active duty during the summer of 1979 serving as a compnay officer at the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. In August of 1979 I resumed my legal studies as a student at USD. In November of 1979 I had the good fortune to meet the woman who would ultimately become my wife and the mother of our four children. While in law school I worked as a clerk in several law firms and as an intern in the Bronx, NY District Attorney's Office, in the process acquiring a broad mix of legal experience and training.
Following graduation from law school I began a clerking position at the firm of Rhoades and Hollywood and while there was offered an associate postition which I accepted. During the time I worked in the firm as an associate and shareholder it underwent several name changes first becoming Rhoades, Hollywood & Neil, later Hollywood & Neil when John Rhoades went on the federal bench. The name then became Neil, Dymott, Perkins, Brown & Frank following the departure of Harrison Hollywood who subsequently was appointed to the Superior Court bench. The firm name changed again becoming Neil, Dymott, Brown, Frank & Harrison and following the appointment of Dave Brown to the Superior Court became Neil, Dymott, Frank, Harrison & McFall. While an associate at Rhoades & Hollywood I served on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Barristers Club and was elected President in 1985. I also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel ultimately serving as President in 2003 of the largest in -state defense bar organization in the country.
In 2007 I chose to explore new opportunties and joined the firm of Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson and Haluck as a partner in the firm's San Diego office. In 2008 I joined the national firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitiz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP as a partner in the San Diego office assuming the duties of Regional Managing Partner in October of 2008.
During my legal career I have tried in excess of 100 cases to jury verdict in state and federal courts. I am an Advocate rank member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of Americal. I currently serve as the Pacific Regional Director of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) representing California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.