Brooke Oliver

Brooke Oliver


Supreme Court of the United States

U.S. Courts of Appeals: Ninth Circuit, Federal Circuit

U.S. District Courts: Northern, Central, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

State Bar of California (all state courts in California)

AV logo


Brooke, now practicing with Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, was the founding attorney of 50 Balmy Law P.C. for nearly 25 years. Brooke is creative, passionate, rigorous, and scholarly, People who are the best at what they do turn to Brooke when they need a lawyer. A strategic thinker, Brooke is perhaps best at helping accomplished clients to protect and structure their artistic and activist legacies.

She served as the legal architect of Burning Man’s transition to nonprofit status, helped the Jerry Garcia Estate LLC establish a program to publish, distribute, and tour Jerry’s visual art, and helped the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation create a lasting infrastructure to carry on Cesar’s legacy. She helped Math Hall of Fame educator and author Marilyn Burns sell her company to a publicly traded entity, and handles her intellectual property interests.

An A-V rated attorney since 1998, Brooke’s expertise is respected at the highest levels of the art world internationally and on the streets. She served as co-chair of a national Visual Arts & the Law Conference for twelve years, is sought as one the nation’s experts on the Visual Artists’ Rights Act, and has lectured on art law in the U.S., Mexico, and Rome. Brooke has been called “a folk hero of copyright law” for her role in landmark court decisions that protect visual artists. Brooke was selected as a top rated lawyer in Intellectual Property Law for 2015 by American

Her knowledge of tax exempt organizations is sought by people who want to follow the rules yet be innovative. She counsels on the entire life cycle of tax-exempt organizations, and defends clients in Attorney General or IRS challenges to exempt status.

Before law school, she learned about the strength of people united while serving for ten years as a labor organizer, and about the power of business and money while working seven years for an angel investor.  During law school she was editor-in-chief at the law review.

For over forty-five years, Brooke has been a civil, economic, and social justice activist. She speaks conversational Spanish, mostly pocho. San Francisco and the California State Senate have honored her “outstanding leadership and engagement in the LGBT community.” She is a past Treasurer of BALIF (the LGBT bar association) and a past President of SPARC mural arts in Los Angeles. In college, she was a bodyguard for Cesar Chavez when he was in Davis, and was a translator at the farmworker service center at DQ University.

Brooke and her wife of 25 years, Elba Rivera, founded and co-lead the Que Viva! theme camp at Burning Man. Its Migration is Beautiful theme brings artists, change-makers, and social justice advocates from communities traditionally underrepresented to Burning Man, and shares the immigrant experience on the playa. Brooke is proud to be the only lawyer in the nation who is both a Saint of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (St. Brooke of the Patent Leather Legal Briefs) and an honorary patch holder of Dykes on Bikes. Many artists call her the “Sheriff of Balmy Alley.” She is tough, works hard, laughs often, and collects art.  She was a founder of Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.

Published Works & Presentations:

  • Interactive, Participatory Digital Art Works Started by the Artist and “COMPLETED” by Users (Art 2.0, Video Game Art, Holograms, Digital Installations) – Legal Issues and Possible Solutions (with Harley K. DuBois), International Bar Association/MAXXI Museum, Rome 2012


Teddy Witherington Award for Outstanding Service to the LGBT Movement

Cesar E. Chávez Legacy Award

Certificate of Recognition, California State Senate, for commitment to celebrating diversity, beauty, and promoting global equality for all

Certificate of Honor, City and County of San Francisco, for outstanding leadership and community engagement with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community

Sainted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (St. Brooke of the Patent Leather Legal Briefs)

Cambridge Who’s Who

Northern California Super Lawyers Selection – 2015, 2016


American Bar Association

Bar Association of San Francisco

San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association

Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom

Calle 24 Latino Cultural District Council

International Trademark Association

Lower 24th Street Merchants Association

Latino Community Advisory Board

San Francisco Pride