Brian D. Shannon

Brian D. Shannon
Westlake Office
Education: California State University, Long Beach – University of California, Hastings College of Law
Member: California State Bar
Joined BM&M in 2017

Growing up in Northern California with two older siblings, Brian Shannon learned early on about life's inequities.

"I don't think I had a new pair of jeans until I was in high school," says Brian, with a laugh. "The fact that I was the youngest of siblings ingrained a sense of equality in me where I was always looking for things to be fair."

That sense of fairness stayed with him throughout his younger years growing up in Cupertino. "My dad was an engineer with Hewlett-Packard, and he taught us all the ropes of working hard, enduring challenges, and making the best of any situation."

After graduation from California State University of Long Beach with a degree in political science, Brian decided to pursue a career in law. He first applied to UC Hastings College of the Law San Francisco, but was put on a waiting list. Undeterred by the delay, he was accepted by the University of Colorado School of Law (Colorado Law), where he spent his first year of law-school.

"Boulder Colorado was a great place to be," recalls Brian. "Great campus atmosphere and people, but I still had my mind set on Hastings."

After a year at Boulder, he returned to San Francisco and attended UC Hastings as a second-year student. He excelled at Hastings, and graduated first in his class, and was the Associate Notes Editor of the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review. Although he was first in his class, as a transfer student, he was awarded magna cum laude.

"Hastings was a great school and it was there that I developed a passion for justice and an appreciation for a forum where everyone is treated equal according to merit. These are the principles that have guided my career and have served me well for more than two decades."

His first job as an attorney was with Farmers Insurance as in-house council, where he quickly developed a keen sense of personal injury law. In his first year, he took part in eight jury trials, and had 20 jury trials under his belt before moving on to work for several other major insurance companies. He became an expert at subrogation, civil, and environmental law.

After more than a decade of practicing civil law and processing both first party and third party claims, he was introduced to Workers' Compensation Law.

"I immediately fell in love with the complexity and the environment of Workers' Comp," says Brian. "I had an extensive background in personal injury cases, so moving to Workers' Comp defense was just a matter of learning the system."

Brian joined the practice of Michael McDonald (McDonald Law Corporation) in Concord California and knew he had made a good decision.

"Workers' Comp defense was a whole new world in some respects. I found it more collegial than personal injury and it was less stressful. All the things that I'd learned over the years came into play and I found that parties on both sides of the aisle were invigorating to me. It was a good move."

Another good move came in 2017, when Michael McDonald elected to merge his law practice with Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight.

"Michael and I both met Ed Benthale while working on an industrial pollution case in Orange County and we found that we all shared the same affinity for Workers Comp Defense. The merger was a win-win for all involved."

The merger with the McDonald Law Corporation also ushered in a new era for Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight. That was the move to a paperless filing system that streamlines the claims process and puts case information at an attorney's fingertips.

"We got started early with the move to paperless at McDonald Law, and when the partners at Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight saw what it could do, they definitely wanted to make the move. It's remarkably efficient, saving time and man hours for both our firm and our clients."

Away from the office, Brian enjoys cycling and being close to his friends and family. In his younger years, Brian was a competitive cyclist riding numerous "century" rides (100 miles), and he still enjoys the challenges of a good ride.

"The thing that cycling brings to me is the importance of endurance. You must endure the challenge of a long ride to win, and I think the same is true for the challenges in the law. You have to adapt to changes and make the right decisions along the way to reach the finish line."