Living in La Jolla is dream come true for attorney Robert Tyson


Bob Tyson is a trial lawyer with the Bird Rock law firm Tyson & Mendes. The firm has 17 attorneys, with offices in Los Angeles and Riverside. Tyson recently won a landmark case before the California Supreme Court in Howell v. Hamilton Meats. He founded Lawyers for Tots and is active in The Century Club of San Diego, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Barristers Club, the Villanova University Alumni Association, The Risk Management Society (RIMS), and the San Diego Defense Lawyers.

Tyson is a former member of the parish council and finance council of All Hallows Catholic Church, and has served on several committees at La Jolla Country Club.

What brought you to La Jolla?

The TV show, “L.A. Law.” I visited Los Angeles while in law school at Villanova in the late 1980s. During this trip, I also drove down to San Diego. When I arrived in La Jolla and the weather was 70º in January, I knew I wanted this to be my home and I was never going back to New York City.

What makes this area special to you?

La Jolla is an oasis in the eighth largest city in America. Running a small business and owning our building in Bird Rock, combined with living in the same community where I work, is truly a blessing. It is great to live in a place where most people have chosen to live and have worked very hard to afford to live here, as opposed to a place you “have to live.” There is no better place to live in America.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

Being from the world’s largest landfill, Staten Island, New York, it is difficult to imagine changing anything here. Having lived and worked here for more than 20 years, there have been some outstanding improvements to La Jolla during that time.

I would instead snap my fingers and have people become more involved in this community and support the work being done by our local leaders like Joe LaCava, Joe Parker, Glenn Rasmussen, Andy Nelson (La Jolla Community Foundation) and others. If we want a better community in the next 20 years that our children and grandchildren can also be proud of, we have to start today and plan for the future.

Who or what inspires you?

People who dream big and work hard to achieve their goals inspire me!

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

My first choice would be my deceased grandfather. He was a longshoreman in New York who grew up in Hell’s Kitchen. Once he got over the shock of his grandson living in La Jolla, he would be the life of the party!

The next two I would invite would be my mom and dad, who are still with me. My dad would compete to be the life of the party and my mom would just brag to all of her friends about what a great dinner party her son threw!

I would also invite my lovely wife of 13 years, Jenny. She could have a well-deserved break from three screaming kids.

Next would be my priest friend from Villanova, Fr. Stack, because he would show up whether invited or not. Lastly, Madonna, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, and Tiger Woods (but he could not sit next to my wife!).

What are your five favorite movies of all time?

“Saving Private Ryan,” “A Few Good Men,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Saturday Night Fever,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” – not a movie, but generally the most uncomfortable half hour of TV I ever watch.

What is your most-marked characteristic?

Although I always want to have fun and try to get along with everyone, as a trial attorney, it ultimately comes down to winning and losing. I’m gonna win.

What do you do for fun?

Go to La Jolla Country Club! Without a doubt, La Jolla Country Club is the Jewel of “The Jewel.” Being a member for the last eight years is literally a dream come true.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Arguing before the California Supreme Court and winning a case that will save California businesses and consumers billions of dollars annually was probably the most notable. However, I would say my greatest accomplishment is becoming a trial attorney.

It is a privilege to take the time of 12 ordinary citizens (who would often rather be just about anywhere else other than a jury box), who are committed to upholding the values of our great country and legal system.

I never take for granted how lucky I am to have become the one thing I wanted to be since I was a child: a trial attorney. And, of course, marrying my wife, Jenny, who is as pretty as any of the girls on L.A. Law!

What is your philosophy of life?

“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a life-time, yo!” —The great modern poet, Eminem.