Hello, I'm Ari Rief, a trial lawyer who's worked both sides of criminal cases handling the demands of prosecutors and public defenders. I've litigated in front of dozens of juries—from small town to big city—and currently  defend clients accused of offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to murder, providing a unique and qualified perspective when advising clients. To learn more about the advantages of working with my office, please see below.

Success at Trial

If someone in my own family faced criminal charges (and I wasn't his or her lawyer), then I'd at least make sure the lawyer we hired had done, like myself, at least few dozen jury trials—and won most of them, too. It doesn't matter if that lawyer is a Harvard Law graduate; without years of real-life, thinking-on-your-feet trial experience, it's too risky. That's like having a surgeon operate on you who lacks experience in surgery. Also, courtroom experience and a reputation for skill and success is what gives lawyers the credibility and leverage they need when negotiating with prosecutors and seeking minimal sentences from judges.

Former Prosecutor

As a former prosecutor (a deputy district attorney) in multiple California counties, I have first-hand experience of what it's like to be in the DA's shoes and to work with law enforcement. Evidence may seem strong on paper, but there are practical challenges and considerations when it comes to proving guilt in court. And there's a right way and wrong way to approach prosecutors when negotiating. That overall knowledge helps me when I evaluate cases and negotiate with DAs.

Explainer Videos

A criminal case is high-stakes. You're expected to make very important decisions after talking to your lawyer. Personally, when I talk to professionals (like my accountant or doctor), I often wish I had them recorded so I can re-listen to what they said. Based on that, I now offer something that no other lawyer that I know provides—explainer videos that go over points related to your case. That way, if you don't fully understand something, you can watch it as many times as you like, take notes, get back to me with follow-up questions, and ultimately feel as informed as possible.

(Note: This is not a link to a video, just a screenshot of one.)


You're supposed to get the best deal—one that drops the most jail possible—when you accept responsibility early in a case. But showing that you can win at trial is your main leverage in pretrial negotiations. So how are you supposed to simultaneously play both cards? The answer: The DROPJAIL Method, which is what I call a lawyer who skillfully hedges your bets in pretrial negotiations by presenting a credible threat of winning at trial while simultaneously showing a willingness to resolve your case early in the process ifand the key word here being "if" they were to offer a very reasonable or favorable deal. In other words, without saying that you admit anything, I can still show an openness to efficiently resolve the case, and that's the middle or common ground to find with prosecutors and judges that leads to the best resolutions short of a cases being fully dismissed or going to trial and being completely acquitted.

Thoughtful Caseload Management

With a private practice, the more cases a lawyer takes, the less time and attention that lawyer can devote to each individual client. To address this concern and ensure that proper care is reserved for each case, I limit the number of new clients I take at a time. By thoughtfully placing some necessary limits on my caseload, I can best serve the clients I do represent and provide top tier legal services.

A Vast Network of Support

Criminal law is vast and complex. A network of peers is an invaluable and necessary asset for any serious litigator. To that end, I co-chair the Criminal Law Section of my local bar association and am a member of top defense organizations, such as California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), an affiliate of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA), and the San Mateo County Private Defender Program. With a substantive network of hundreds of the best criminal lawyers across the state, I have critical support in complex cases. I also subscribe to the best legal research tools in the industry and attend various monthly trainings and conferences to stay up-to-date on any changes in the law and criminal justice system.

Video Chat

There's no need to go through the hassle of traveling to my office to meet in person. I regularly provide consultations for clients virtually on Zoom or other platforms, depending on a client's preference. And I was offered that service before COVID-19, too. 

Image by Bill Oxford


See examples of recent case results. 



... went well above and beyond.