Defining Donald Schweitzer: From Street Cop to Top Family Law Attorney


There’s a reason why Schweitzer Law Partners is flourishing. From street cop to district attorney investigator to family law litigator, Pasadena family law attorney Don Schweitzer has never compromised or lost the passion to care. In fact, each career experience has heightened his ability to really value the human side of a family law case, while still maintaining each client’s legal best interest as a tough litigator.

“I followed my passion, goals and dreams as they were evolving through the years,” says Schweitzer, founder and partner of one of the most respected family law firms in greater Los Angeles. “I have a love for helping and protecting people and that’s been the real common theme in all of my professions,” he explains.

Schweitzer’s upward career path never followed the standard track. It didn’t start in study halls but on the streets, as a cop.

“When I started as a police officer, I never dreamed that I’d leave to become a lawyer,” he remembers. “But it wasn’t until I was in a court of law, as I became an investigator with the Deputy District Attorney’s office, that I had this burning desire to do what they were doing.”

During Schweitzer’s 10-year career as a police officer he was named “Rookie of the Year” at the Santa Ana Police Department, and within six years worked his way through the ranks to become a Detective in the Criminal Street Gang Unit.

Schweitzer enrolled in Southwestern University School of Law and spurred by his street-savvy and understanding of human nature gravitated towards Criminal Law.

After law school, Schweitzer was assigned to the Family Support Unit at the D.A.’s office in Orange County.

“I went kicking and screaming into that unit,” says Schweitzer, “but by the time I finished my one-year assignment, I loved it. I knew that I had a real interest in family law.”

While at the District Attorney office, he successfully tried over 70 cases with a 95 percent conviction rate. Schweitzer handled almost every type of case imaginable, including enforcement of child support cases, DUIs, felony narcotics, homicides, assaults with a deadly weapon, and sexual assaults.

Today at his firm, Schweitzer wears many hats but when it comes to going to court he says, “The skills and everything that I’ve developed through my careers have a fascinating way of fitting together. In court I’m able to draw upon all that experience and be not only compassionate for my client, but also very protective over his/her legal rights. It’s this natural instinct that takes over.”

The Schweitzer Law Partners, now in its 10th year, represents the collection of Don’s experiences. The firm is progressive and constantly evolving to adapt to the ever-changing family law situations and even technological advances that help expedite cases. At the same time, the firm is proactive with how it manages each client’s case, while maintaining compassion and sensitivity to each.

Practicing family law, Schweitzer and his team encounter people who are going through “probably the worst experiences of their lives,” he says.

“These people are fragile when they come to us, and they’re looking for somebody who’s going to carry them through,” Schweitzer says. “Being the person who can help requires somebody who’s compassionate. It’s no different to me than when I was a police officer or deputy D.A. I have people’s lives in my hands and I have an ethical duty to take care of them.”

The firm’s staff and attorneys understand the demands of family law litigation, especially as it pertains to divorce, domestic violence, and estate planning. Additionally, Don is adamant about carving out time each month for “Lunch and Learns,” where he and his legal staff sit and educate, motivate and inspire one another.

And his dedication to the firm isn’t where Don’s passion stops. As a resident of Pasadena, Don is very active in the community. Currently, he is the president of the Pasadena Bar Association. He also spearheaded a speech and debate team at Maranatha High School, co-founded an annual high speech scholarship competition sponsored by the PBA, and he and the firm are helping to raise funds for Foothill Unity Center’s Mobile Dental Clinic that serves needy elementary school-aged children.

All the real-world experiences Schweitzer has, from being a police officer to becoming a lawyer, line up perfectly to give Schweitzer a well-rounded view of the world, and it continues to motivate him to never be stagnant, but constantly evolve and search for the next stepping stone to become a better family lawyer. What remains the same is Don’s love for helping and protecting people—it’s part of his DNA, and the backbone to his successful family law firm.

For more about the Schweitzer Law Partners, call (626) 683-8113.