A former lead prosecutor with the Tulare and Madera County District Attorney’s Office who now runs his own private law practice, Milpitas High School Class of 1981 alumnus Edmund (Ed) Gil fondly remembers a close-knit circle of childhood friends that motivated one another to reach their fullest potential.
“The person I am today has a lot to do with my values that I got from my parents, but also from my friends. We were all involved in sports and music, while taking advanced classes since we all were trying to goto college,” said Gil, 58, who attended Martin Murphy grade school, Rancho Junior High, Samuel Ayer High School for three years, and then was part of the first graduating class of the new Milpitas High School.
“I still keep in touch with my friends, especially those from Murphy,” said the UC Berkeley graduate (a Political Science major) who went on to earn his law degree from the University of Arizona. “I just found that all of us were a product of our environment back then. It was just a lot of fun growing up in Milpitas.”
These days, Gil resides in Fresno where his law office focuses on criminal defense, family law, and representing children and parents in Juvenile Child Dependency Court. He recently returned to Milpitas for the Class of 1981 High School Reunion, which includes MHS state champion football coach Kelly King.
“Everybody does it differently. There’s just so many ways to accomplish things in life. But, for me, it was to never be satisfied at any level,” Gil explained. “Every level you are at, always seek excellence. That’s the only way to do it for me. I have a strong work ethic. I wasn’t always the smartest in the room, but I always am the most prepared person in the courtroom.”
After passing the California Bar Exam to earn his law license, Gil clerked at the courts in San Jose before being hired by the Tulare County DA in 1994. He worked as a prosecutor for 20 years, handling high profile cases including those involving death penalty, murder and gang violence.
“I went in with a class of prosecutors who were all very hungry, and I ended up being one of the top prosecutors in the DA’s office,” Gil shared. “I didn’t lose very many cases.”
Looking back at his high school years, Gil credited one teacher in particular for having a strong influence on him: English teacher Ms. Taggert who challenged him with a stringent grading system.
“She made the biggest impression on me. She made it very clear that the next steps in our life were going to be much harder than her class,” Gil recalled. “She taught us literary terms and got us to think analytically.”