The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation case is a monster piece of litigation that has hogged headlines and intrigued millions as it has been live-streamed into their screens, but who is the star attorney taking the action on behalf of the eccentric movie star Johnny Depp?
Camille Vasquez is not necessarily the heavyweight litigator that many might expect someone like Johnny Depp to take in a multi-million dollar legal action like his and she is but one of nine on his defense team in the trial. However it is her work that has principally focused attention due to her outstanding ability in the courtroom.
An associate with Piper Rudnick where her bio page indicates she is “. . adept at formulating offensive and defensive litigation strategies for private clients” she has certainly garnered a lot of admiration for her work on the Depp-Heard case, particularly in her excoriating cross examination of Amber Heard.
What do we know about Camille Vasquez?
Vasquez was born in San Francisco in 1984 to Cuban and Colombian parents, Leonel and Maria Vasquez. She has a sister who is a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area.
She graduated in 2006 from the University of Southern California with a major in communication and political science and earned her law degree in 2010 from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. She worked in LA for Manatt, Phelps and Phillips before joining Brown Rudnick in 2018.
Depp Trial Headlines & #CamilleVasquez
Although the Johnny Depp trial has placed Vasquez in the headlines with its basis being an op-ed piece Heard wrote in The Washington Post, in which she discussed being a victim of domestic abuse without naming Depp.
The defense argued that Depp’s reputation was already substantially tarnished by his drug and alcohol use.
Her objections and sharp cross examination have revealed an attorney who has not only garnered the obvious fandom from her client, Johnny Depp, but also a substantial social media following from those who follow hashtags like #camillevasquez – which has no less than 944 views on the TikTok platform alone, while other fan sites under her name also surge.
In part, this may be due to her somewhat meek and vulnerable appearance as a young Latino woman who has shown her core or steel and razor mind when the in-court occasion demanded it.
Her cross examination of Heard has at times been as tumultuous as the Depp-Heard marriage. When questioning Heard about her earlier statement that she would donate the $7 million received as part of her divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles Vasquez said:
“Sitting here today, you have not donated the $7 million — donated, not pledged, donated — the $7 million divorce settlement to charity,” Vasquez said during the trial.
It may also be in part due to her Latino origins.
For Vasquez the Johnny Depp trial has not only placed her in the headlines for her abilities in Court, but also been a major factor in raising the image of Latino lawyers, who number only about 2 per cent of the US legal population.
It is hard to separate Camille Vasquez’s newfound fame from the burgeoning, online culture that surrounded the show trial with various memes and online clips that have largely been anti-Heard in tone and content.
A recent report by NBC News spoke of six content creators whose content previously wasn’t related to Depp or Heard, who have ‘created’ content about the trial and reached audiences of millions via both YouTube and TikTok.
Camille Vasquez & The Celebrity Attorney Cult
The celebrity attorney is certainly nothing new and when cases like the Depp vs. Heard case come along they are designed – intentionally or otherwise – attract vast attention, positive or otherwise.
In a 2003 article in the New York Law School Law Review, Celebrity Lawyers and the Cult of Personality, law professor Richard K Sherwin wrote about the link between attorneys and the consumption of trials for entertainment. There is no need to look beyond the OJ Simpson trial to understand that phenomenon. “The lawyer as celebrity has become a willing participant in the mutually assured seduction that goes on between TV journalists and producers and the lawyer pundits, anchors, and screen personalities who help make entertainment king,” he wrote.
The ‘cult’ of Camille Vasquez proves that point.