Attorney Ariel Rief

The Rief Difference

Former Prosecutor

As a former prosecutor myself (I was a deputy district attorney in multiple California counties), I have first-hand knowledge of what it's like to be in the DA's shoes, to prepare cases with law enforcement and to negotiate with defense counsel. Understanding the behind-the-scene challenges prosecutors face I believe provides me now, as a defense attorney, with an advantage when negotiating with DAs and preparing clients' cases for trial.

Jury Trial Success

Clients who have hired an attorney with a reputation for going to trial, and ideally winning a lot, gain an edge in negotiations with prosecutors and judges based upon their attorney's credibility. With me, I've done dozens of jury trials—and won the vast majority of them, too. Remember, it is risky to hire an attorney who lacks years of real-life jury trial experience and success. That's similar to going into a surgery with a doctor who lacks surgery experience.

Explainer Videos

Personally, when I talk to professionals (like an accountant or doctor), I often wish I had the conversation recorded so I can re-listen to what said to understand better. Based on that, I now offer something very unique—the option to record me or have me record an explainer video that goes 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.)

The DROPJAIL Method

In discussions with prosecutors and judges, I have a 3-part strategy that I call the "Dropjail Method" because it routinely leads to negotiating the most criminal charges and jail time being dropped. First, I confidently show that if the case went to trial, at least one potential issue exists that could lead to a jury (or even just one juror, which is all we need) to believe there's reasonable doubt about something important. Remember, no matter how much evidence they have, every prosecution case has its holes. Second, I succinctly present "mitigation" information about my client—in other words, facts about your life and case that show how you're a good person. Third and finally, without admitting a client's guilt, I push for the most minimal charges and punishment realistically possible if my client were to accept responsibility early in the case, which is always an important consideration for prosecutors and judges. The key to the Dropjail Method is to skillfully balance all three objectives at the same time. When delivered with professionalism, it repeatedly produces top negotiation results.

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 offered that service before COVID-19, too.