David L. Nye

Founding Partner – Retired


David Nye, the founder of Nye, Stirling, Hale, Miller & Sweet, entered the practice of law in 1976. As a criminal prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, he quickly gained valuable experience in trial work. In 1977 he was made the supervising attorney of the Van Nuys Criminal Branch of the City Attorney’s Office, where he was responsible for supervising and training 23 trial attorneys, 5 hearing officers, and support staff. He also was responsible for maintaining liaisons with the judges, budget and policy development, and prosecution of complex trial matters.

In 1978, he transferred to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power where he represented the nation’s largest municipal utility in all phases of administrative and regulatory practice pertaining to power plant licensing, air quality and environmental matters, co-generation, natural gas purchases, and civil litigation related to these topics. He also presented matters before federal, state and local regulatory agencies; advised management on energy and fuel purchases, power plant licensing, energy rates, resource and load forecasting, and environmental issues; handled civil litigation; drafted and approved contracts and ordinances; and monitored the activities of outside counsel.

In 1985, he moved to Santa Barbara and joined the Santa Barbara County Counsel’s Office as a civil trial attorney and the advisor to the Santa Barbara County Civil Service Commission.

In 1987, he left the public sector and joined the law firm of Archbald & Spray. As a civil litigator for the firm, he represented various public entities, insurance defense clients, and a small but select group of plaintiffs in all phases of civil litigation. He also maintained an administrative law practice and sat as an administrative law judge for both the City and the County of Santa Barbara Civil Service Commissions.

In late 1989, he started the law firm of Carrington & Nye, which would eventually transition into Nye, Stirling, Hale, Miller & Sweet. The firm’s focus is civil litigation with an emphasis on what he refers to as “cases with causes.” He has tried more than seventy jury trials to a verdict in state and federal courts, has obtained some of the largest plaintiffs’ jury verdicts in the Santa Barbara Superior Court system, is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and enjoys an A-V rating from Martindale-Hubble, the highest rating given practicing attorneys in terms of both professional competence and ethics. He and one of his partners, Timothy C. Hale, were instrumental in exposing the clergy abuse scandal at St. Anthony’s Seminary and in obtaining over $28 million in compensation from the Franciscan Friars for the victims of these serial pedophiles. He, and in particular his partner Tim Hale, also became influential counsel of record in the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino and San Francisco clergy abuse matters, which were all litigated through coordinated proceedings known as the Clergy I, Clergy II and Clergy III matters.

In addition to the select plaintiff’s practice which the firm has developed, he and his firm continue to represent a number of their long-standing public entity clients in the Tri-County area, including the Regents of the University of California (UCSB), the City of Lompoc, and the City of Simi Valley. He is also an experienced pilot and has handled a number of aviation related matters for the firm.

David and his wife of more than 30 years, Elvia, reside in the foothills of Santa Barbara. After a long and prestigious career, David retired from the firm in 2023.