10 Questions | Chuck Dell’Ario, Attorney
Napa attorney advocates for the underdog. Jennifer Huffman, Napa News. Dec 11, 2018.
A. Charles "Chuck" Dell'Ario is an appellate specialist attorney certified by the State Bar of California.
As of next week, Alan Charles “Chuck” Dell’Ario will celebrate his 44th year of working as an attorney.
“I’m happy to say I still love the law,” he said.
“I love the fact that I get to help people that need my help. Mostly my cases involve little people against big people,” Dell’Ario said. “I get to be David in this whole series of David and Goliath stories.”
Dell’Ario moved to Napa in 2010.
I was an after-school paper carrier for the Detroit News but my first real job was as night cook at Carl’s Jr. in Brea, Calif. while I was still in high school. It was 1964 and they left me and another 16-year old alone from 7 to 10 p.m. to close the stand.
2. How did you get into the legal industry?
I studied economics in college. When I got home from the Vietnam War, I couldn’t decide between biz school and law school. Law school won out.
3. What’s a common misconception you get about being an attorney?
That attorneys are just in it for the money and that they’re willing to do unethical or illegal things. That’s not so. The attorneys I know are highly ethical.
4. How do you describe your work ethic?
When I was a young lawyer my mentor, Eugene Lawlor (a leading East Bay trial attorney), told me when you go to court strive to know that case better than anyone in the world.
That’s the level of preparation and work I aspire to when I take on a case.
5. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?
(In) our country the legal system and the separation of powers doctrine are based on the rule of law.
The rule of law is now under the most serious challenge we’ve ever known. The independence of the judiciary is threatened by partisan politics, and not just in Washington, but across our country.
6. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
Argue a case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
7. Do you have a favorite attorney from history?
I look back at people like John Adams. He epitomized what we’re supposed to be about. You take an unpopular cause because the rule of law in our judicial system depends on lawyers that are willing to do that. For me, that’s what being an attorney is all about.
8. If you could change one thing about the legal industry, what would it be?
Make the justice system truly color-blind. Right now, the system discriminates against minorities and people of color.
9. What’s on your to-do list?
Practice law for 50 years. (Just six to go!)
Shoot my age at golf. (I need to get a lot better and older.)
10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m a really good cook and do all the cooking in our house. It’s my main hobby. I won the Gilroy Garlic Festival Recipe and Cooking contest for my Turkey Filets in Ancho Chilies and Garlic.