Brett graduated from Colorado College and Stanford Law School. He was the Legal Counsel for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco from 1980 until he retired in 2009. He has been an Associate of the Academy’s Department of Herpetology since 1973. In 1972, he co-founded the Institute for Herpetological Research and continues to serve as its Associate Director.
Brett has also been a member of the AZA since 1973 and has served on its Radiated Tortoise Propagation Group since 1989. In 1990, he and the late John Behler helped organize the AZA’s Chelonian Taxon Advisory Group. Brett also served as the Advisory Group’s first Chairperson, from 1990 until 1996. At John’s request, he became involved with the Behler Chelonian Center at its inception.