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Craig Countryman

Craig Countryman

It is with great sadness that Fish says goodbye to our partner, colleague, and beloved friend Craig Countryman. Craig passed away on Sunday, August 25, 2019, after a long and heroic battle with cancer. Craig is survived by his family, including his loving husband, John Velasco, and proud parents, Rita and Earl Countryman.

With a keen legal mind and compassionate heart, Craig was a highly skilled and deeply well-regarded attorney. Only 38 years old, Craig had already established himself as a leading attorney, loved and respected by his family, co-workers, clients, and peers. Craig loved the law and had the ability to analyze legal arguments in a unique and often revolutionary way that served his clients well. He was a prolific writer and commenter on legal issues, and he found great joy providing pro bono legal services.

Craig began his career at Fish 15 years ago as a summer associate and was elected to the principalship at the age of 32, one of the youngest attorneys to receive the honor. He was Co-Chair of our firm’s Appellate Practice and was based in our Southern California office. Craig excelled at taking over cases after trial, selecting the best legal issues for appeal, and framing them in a persuasive manner.

A leading advocate in our firm for pro bono law services, Craig was the chair of the Fish’s San Diego pro bono efforts. For nine years, Craig served on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (SDVLP), which provides civil legal services to those who cannot afford them. He devoted his time to helping oversee the organization, handling many pro bono cases for SDVLP, and recruiting others to do the same, both at Fish and in the local legal community. In addition to his pro bono work with SDVLP, Craig volunteered with the ACLU, focusing on immigration rights matters. He was a member of the Pro Bono Panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and had obtained successful settlements in multiple civil rights cases where the Court appointed him as counsel.

Craig was an active member of the bar, contributing to the advancement of patent and appellate law. Craig enjoyed writing about patent and appellate law and litigation, authoring nearly 40 articles published in various journals and newspapers. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge through presentations and speaking engagements, of which he did several each year. Craig also enjoyed passing on this knowledge to the next generation of legal minds, serving as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego for the past three years.

Craig received numerous local, regional, and national awards and distinctions for his professional successes and extensive community service, yet he remained humble and focused on the needs of his clients.

Craig was a light that burned bright in the lives of so many. We will miss his intellect, patience, laughter, kindness, wit, and dedicated service to others. His impact on those he worked with and served will endure for years and always be remembered by those fortunate enough to have known him.