Barry Tarlow is a nationally prominent Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.
Education and experience
In 1964, Barry Tarlow graduated first in his class from Boston University Law School where he was senior editor of the law review. In 1965, he served as a prosecutor for the Justice Department as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California, Criminal Division. During this period, he prosecuted cases ranging from kidnaping and bank robbery to complex white-collar crimes. Since 1966, he has defended individuals and corporations in cases ranging from tax and environmental violations to RICO, money laundering and homicide, in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the country. His law firm maintains an extensive federal and state appellate practice. He has represented defendants in numerous significant criminal appeals which have had widespread implications for attorneys engaged in the practice of criminal law. His firm has represented clients in complicated white-collar matters involving ITT, National Health Laboratories, Smith Klein Beecham, General Dynamics, Waste Management, Hyundai, Airgas, Inc., Avant , and GTE. Recently, a substantial portion of Mr. Tarlow's practice has consisted of the defense of lawyers, health care providers, and other professionals under investigation by federal and state prosecutors. He has often represented celebrities accused of crimes and was named as one of eight of L.A.'s Celebrity Defenders in an article entitled “The Stars' Bar,” published in an issue of California Law Business.
Mr. Tarlow has been an outspoken critic of overzealous prosecutorial tactics that have led to abuses of individual rights and liberties. He first coined the now widely accepted theme that: "The War on Crime Had Become a War on the Defense Bar." Since that time, he has written, spoken, and also litigated cases defining this attack on the right to counsel. A front page profile in The National Law Journal observed: "If the phrase weren't Barry Tarlow's by dint of originality, he's earned title to it." Adversaries and defense lawyers describe Mr. Tarlow as a "fighter scholar," the "ultimate advocate," and "the tiger," and his approach to trials as "innovative," "confrontational," and "obsessive." A 1998 article in Los Angeles Magazine concluded his "reputation as a contentious advocate in the courtroom is unmatched."
Barry Tarlow has been selected as an expert witness by clients ranging from the State Bar of California to plaintiff or defense counsel in complex litigation matters including the Howard Weitzman-John DeLorean fee disputes. He has been retained as a RICO or forfeiture litigation consultant to the trial lawyers in numerous high-profile criminal cases including the Princeton Newport prosecution. Mr. Tarlow is often consulted by the country's major newspapers including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times for commentary about his own cases and developing legal affairs issues. He is regularly interviewed on these subjects by all the network news programs as well as 60 Minutes, Nightline, Crossfire, Larry King Live, Court TV, and CNN.
Mr. Tarlow was lead counsel in the Chance/Powell case, in which two innocent men, framed by rogue police detectives, were freed after serving 18 years in prison for the murder of a Los Angeles Sheriff, and received “The Pro Bono Award” for this case when The National Law Journal announced its “Great Moments in the Law Awards” for 1992. In 1989, he was awarded a commendation from the State Bar of California Board of Governors, “In recognition of outstanding contributions to the delivery of pro bono legal services.”
Barry Tarlow has lectured at law schools and seminars throughout the country. The topics have included: “Defense of Federal Conspiracy Cases,” “White Collar Criminal Prosecutions,” “Defense of RICO Prosecutions,” “Representation of Witnesses and Attorneys Before Grand Juries,” “Defense of Federal Forfeiture Cases,” “Cross-Examination,” “Closing Argument,” “The Aggressive Defense of a Criminal Case,” and “Federal Rules of Evidence Developments.” Mr. Tarlow has participated in educational programs sponsored by organizations such as: Continuing Education of the Bar, Practicing Law Institute, National College of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Bar Association, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, American Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Law Institute.
For the past 15 years, Barry Tarlow has served as editor of the National Directory of Criminal Lawyers. He is a prolific author who has written over 325 books and articles dealing with criminal practice and procedure issues including “RICO Revisited,” 17 Ga. L. Rev. 291; “RICO: The New Darling of the Prosecutor's Nursery,” 49 Fordham L. Rev. 165; “Defense of a Federal Conspiracy Prosecution,” 4 National Journal of Criminal Defense 183; “Criminal Defendants and Abuse of Jeopardy Tax Procedures,” 22 UCLA L. Rev. 1191; “Admissibility of Polygraph Evidence: An Aid in Determining Credibility in a Perjury-Plagued System,” 26 Hastings L.J. 917. He is an author of California Criminal Defense Practice, Vols. 1-6 (Matthew Bender, 1980), as well as each of the annual supplements, and is a member of the National Editorial Board of Forecite, the criminal jury instruction publication. He was the Criminal Law Editor of the RICO Litigation Reporter and a Contributing Editor of The Champion, the publication of The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and since 1982 has authored “The RICO Report.”
He has been extremely active in various local and national bar organizations. In 1978, Mr. Tarlow served as President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice — the 3,000 member state criminal defense lawyers' bar association — and from 1981 through 1991, he was Chairman of the RICO Committee. Mr. Tarlow was the Vice-Chairperson of the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, and Chairperson of the Criminal Law Subcommittee of the Prosecution and Defense of RICO Cases Committee. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 1979 through 1990, and from 1978 through 1990, he was Co-Chairman of the RICO Prosecutions Committee. From 1992-1995, Mr. Tarlow co-chaired the NACDL Committee to Free the Innocent Imprisoned. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California from 1997-2005. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Criminal Law Advisory Commission of the State Bar that reviews all Criminal Law Specialist applications for certification and recertification.
Recognition and awards
Tarlow was profiled in The National Law Journal as one of “Ten of the Best Winning Trial Lawyers” in America. In 1992, he was selected for the Robert Heeney Memorial Award for lifetime achievement by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 1993, Mr. Tarlow received a “Special Award” from the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Bar Association recognizing: “His Prominence as a Brilliant Advocate and as a Zealous Defender of Constitutional Rights.” In 1994, he was profiled in The New York Times Magazine as one of six attorneys in “L.A.'s Exclusive Club of Celebrity Lawyers,” and in 1998, he was selected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
A recent article described how “a specialty of Mr. Tarlow’s is heading off indictments before big names hit headlines.” He is recognized as one of the country's leading authorities in the defense of RICO prosecutions. Barry Tarlow, who practices criminal law exclusively, was certified as a specialist in criminal law by the California Board of Legal Specialization in 1975, and has been recertified in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2005. In 1992, he received the “Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year” Award from the Century City Bar Association. Mr. Tarlow has been selected as one of the finest criminal lawyers in the country by publications ranging from The National Law Journal’s “Directory of the Legal Profession,” Martindale-Hubbell’s “Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers,” each of the 13 bi-annual editions from 1983-2008, of Naifeh and Smith's “The Best Lawyers in America,” to Town and Country Magazine. In 1991, The National Law Journal selected Mr. Tarlow among the “Who's Who in Defense Among the Nation's Top White-Collar Experts.” In 1989, he was profiled in The Los Angeles Times as one of the eight best criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles, and was named in a survey by the California Lawyer among “California's Most Respected Lawyers.” He was described as “one of the country's leading criminal-defense lawyers” in a Washington Legal Times article entitled “The Lawyer Who Hates Snitches.” In a 1998 “List of the Most Powerful Lawyers in Town,” published by Los Angeles Magazine, Mr. Tarlow was named the top “gunslinger” among the 40,000 lawyers in Los Angeles County. In 2004-2008 he was selected each year as one of California’s “Super Lawyers” based on ballots sent to 65,000 lawyers.