Stephen G. Larson
Stephen G. Larson was a United States District Judge and a former Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Mr. Larson has 27 years of trial and appellate experience, with over 30 jury trials and more than 20 appellate oral arguments, including recent appearances before the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a federal judge, Mr. Larson adjudicated over a thousand cases, serving first as a U.S. Magistrate Judge and then as a U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. As a District Judge, Mr. Larson was designated seven times to serve as a Judge for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was also a member of the Ninth Circuit’s Jury Instruction Committee responsible for drafting and publishing model jury instructions.
Since leaving the federal bench to resume private practice six years ago, Mr. Larson has quickly emerged as one of California’s go-to litigators, successfully representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Before opening his own litigation law firm with Robert C. O’Brien, Mr. Larson chaired the litigation department of a national law firm. Larson presently represents government entities, businesses, and individuals in matters involving complex business disputes and tort claims; domestic and international compliance and sanctions issues; antitrust actions; intellectual property rights; water, environmental, and real property claims; and criminal and regulatory defense. In addition, Larson has been engaged by both public and private institutions to oversee internal audits, conduct internal investigations, and arbitrate, mediate, and settle disputes.
As a judge, Larson presided over a number of high-profile cases, including United States v. Nazario, a landmark Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act case involving U.S. Marines accused of manslaughter during the Battle of Fallujah; United States v. Duro, in which he blocked the US Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decade long effort to close down and expel a major migrant worker camp on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation; John Doe v. County of San Bernardino, which resulted in systematic reform of educational and therapeutic services for disabled youths within the county juvenile hall system; and Siegel v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., which determined the ownership of the copyrights to the iconic comic strip Superman.
Along with Mr. O’Brien, Judge Larson was a founding member of the US Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, and as a prosecutor worked with domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies conducting joint training exercises and investigations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and South Korea. As a federal judge he was involved in judicial and legal reform efforts in Uzbekistan, Croatia, and Rwanda. Mr. Larson, a graduate of Georgetown University (BSFS) and the University of Southern California Law School (JD), has taught law school classes in constitutional law, civil rights law, and federal courts, and has conducted law enforcement training at the FBI National Academy at Quantico and overseas on money laundering, asset forfeiture, and U.S. banking regulations.
The Los Angeles Business Journal named Mr. Larson as one of the 500 most influential people in Los Angeles in its inaugural “The Los Angeles 500” publication in 2016.
Robert C. O'Brien
Robert C. O’Brien’s practice focuses on complex litigation and domestic and international arbitration. He has expertise in entertainment, intellectual property, oil and gas, and contract and business tort matters.
Mr. O’Brien has tried numerous cases to verdict in state and federal courts in both jury and bench trials as well as in domestic and international arbitral proceedings.
In addition, he has been appointed chair and wing arbitrator in more than a dozen domestic and international arbitrations. Mr. O’Brien has been a federal court-appointed discovery master in several of the largest recent cases in the Central District of California, including MGA v. Mattel (“Barbie v. Bratz”), United States v. Standard & Poors and In re Allergan Securities Litigation. He was named one of the top 100 lawyers in California by the Daily Journal. In 2016, The Los Angeles Business Journal named him as one of the 500 most influential people in Los Angeles.
Prior to establishing Larson O’Brien LLP with Stephen G. Larson, Mr. O’Brien was the California managing partner of a national AMLAW firm. He grew the California offices from 10 lawyers to more than 110 in seven years.
Mr. O’Brien served as the U.S. Alternate Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which met in New York from 2005 through 2006. In July 2008, Mr. O’Brien was appointed by the President to serve a three-year term on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which advises the U.S. Government on the Convention on the Cultural Property Implementation Act. He was the founding Co-Chairman of the Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2011, serving under Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of State Clinton.
Mr. O’Brien was a Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve. He served as a senior legal officer at the UN Security Council (UNCC) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1996 to 1998, where he handled government claims against Iraq arising out of the first Gulf War.
Mr. O’Brien’s articles on international law, the right of publicity and civil procedure have been published in leading law reviews and journals. His essays and editorials on foreign policy and national security regularly appear in national publications. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show. His book, While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis was published by Encounter in 2016.
Mr. O’Brien served on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. He was a member of the International Republican Institute (IRI) delegations that observed the presidential election in the Republic of Georgia in October 2013 and the parliamentary election in Ukraine in October 2014. Mr. O’Brien served as a Pacific Council on International Policy observer of the 9/11 Military Commission proceedings in Guantanamo Bay.
He has been a senior advisor to Governor Mitt Romney and Governor Scott Walker in their presidential campaigns.
Mr. O’Brien graduated, cum laude, from UCLA, and received his JD degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).
Andrew J. Bedigian
Andrew J. Bedigian is a litigator who specializes in complex litigation, including breach of contract, environmental compliance, intellectual property, healthcare, toxic tort, products liability, and water rights matters.
Prior to joining Larson O’Brien LLP, Mr. Bedigian worked as a law clerk for Hyperloop | One. There, he gained unique insight into the legal issues that start-up companies face every day, such as labor and employment disputes, federal and state regulatory compliance, and executive compensation issues.
Mr. Bedigian obtained his law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2015, and his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis in 2012. While attending law school, Mr. Bedigian was a Managing Editor on the UCLA Law Review, Writing Advisor in the Lawyering Skills program, and judicial extern to the Honorable Stephen V. Wilson of the Federal District Court, Central District of California.
Jerry A. Behnke
Jerry A. Behnke is a trial lawyer and former federal and state prosecutor. He handles complex litigation and white collar criminal matters. Mr. Behnke also has more than 18 years of experience investigating and prosecuting white collar criminal cases as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) and as a Deputy District Attorney.
Mr. Behnke previously served as an AUSA in the Southern District of California where he was a member of the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Section as well as a Discovery Coordinator. He also served as an AUSA in the Central District of California, where he was a Deputy Chief in the Riverside branch office. Before his work as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Behnke served as a Deputy District Attorney for Riverside County from 1996 to 2001.
Mr. Behnke has conducted numerous trials in both federal and state court and has handled more than two dozen appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has investigated and prosecuted all types of crimes, including public corruption, mortgage fraud, financial institution fraud, mail and wire fraud, health care fraud, procurement fraud, tax violations, contraband cigarette trafficking, crimes against children, drug trafficking, immigration violations, firearms offenses, and violent crimes.
Mr. Behnke graduated, cum laude, from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where he was a member of the law review and moot court honors board. Mr. Behnke was also a member of the Order of the Coif and the St. Thomas More Honor Society. Mr. Behnke received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.
Steven E. Bledsoe
Steve E. Bledsoe is a trial lawyer specializing in high stakes complex litigation. Mr. Bledsoe has successfully defended corporate clients in dozens of matters including breach of contract, consumer class action, fraud, health care, intellectual property, securities, trusts and estates, real estate and insurance coverage litigation.
Mr. Bledsoe has tried cases before juries, judges and arbitrators and has represented clients in a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, consumer wholesale, defense, electronics, energy, entertainment, health care, food and beverage, satellite television, and software.
Mr. Bledsoe has also led numerous corporate internal investigations, including an internal investigation concerning one of the largest alleged Medicare frauds in U.S. history and, most recently, an internal investigation involving tens of millions of dollars in missing investor funds.
Mr. Bledsoe’s recent trial work includes obtaining a complete defense verdict after a three week bench trial in a multi-million dollar breach of contract and fraud case. Mr. Bledsoe also served as a co-lead trial counsel in an international arbitration with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
Mr. Bledsoe graduated, magna cum laude, from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, where he was a member of the law review. Following law school, Mr. Bledsoe spent 16 years at Kirkland & Ellis where he was an equity partner.
Ariana E. Fuller
Ariana E. Fuller is a litigator specializing in complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense. Prior to joining Larson O’Brien LLP, Ms. Fuller served as a law clerk for the Hon. Jesus G. Bernal of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Ms. Fuller obtained her law degree from UCLA School of Law in 2014 and her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from the University of Southern California in 2011.
While in law school, Ms. Fuller served as the Articles Editor for the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs and was a judicial extern to the Hon. Stephen R. Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kelly R. Graf
Kelly R. Graf is a litigator who has consistently achieved successful litigation results for clients in a wide variety of complex matters, including white collar criminal defense and investigations, breach of contract claims, securities fraud, corporate governance disputes, and trade secret and unfair completion claims.
Ms. Graf is licensed to practice law in California and New York and has experience representing clients in the finance, insurance, telecommunications, sports and entertainment, and environmental industries. Ms. Graf obtained her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a comment editor for the University of Chicago Legal Forum. While in law school, she worked for the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, representing a victim of police abuse and his family in their successful suit against the City of Chicago. Ms. Graf graduated with honors from New York University with a concentration in art history.
Erica R. Graves
Erica R. Graves is a litigator specializing in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, and white collar criminal defense. She has litigated numerous trademark, copyright, and patent matters, in addition to contract and business tort actions, wrongful death cases, shareholder disputes, and other high-stakes commercial matters.
Ms. Graves graduated, cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2014, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. While attending law school, Ms. Graves was Managing Editor of Pepperdine Law Review and was a judicial extern to Justice Eileen Moore of the California Court of Appeal. Ms. Graves has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, with majors in immunology and microbiology.
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Graves worked at various wineries in California’s Napa Valley, including Kongsgaard Wine, where she led the sales and distribution teams, and produced some of California’s most celebrated wines.
R.C. Harlan is a litigator with extensive experience in complex commercial litigation, arbitration, and mediation. He has also been involved in internal investigations as well as white-collar criminal defense.
Mr. Harlan has represented clients in several industries, including manufacturing, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health care. He has handled securities class actions, antitrust and unfair competition matters, wage and hour class actions, patent and trademark litigation, contract disputes, government investigations, trade secret misappropriation, wrongful death actions, and shareholder disputes. Mr. Harlan has also worked on numerous appellate matters before both state and federal courts of appeal.
In 2014, Mr. Harlan was recognized as a Rising Star in Southern California by Super Lawyers. Mr. Harlan is a former clerk for the Honorable Boyce F. Martin, Jr. on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a cum laude graduate of Boston University School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College.
Steven A. Haskins
Steven A. Haskins specializes in complex commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on appeals, writs, and other high-impact law-and-motion situations, including dispositive pre-trial and trial motions.
During his career, Mr. Haskins has prepared briefs for cases heard by the United States and the California Supreme Courts, and sought and opposed writs and appeals in numerous cases before federal and state courts of appeal. He has also participated in complex litigation in trial courts across California and the nation, representing clients in industry and manufacturing, health care, media and entertainment, and non-profit corporations. Mr. Haskins can lend unique perspective to the preparation of cases for the likelihood of future appeal, as well as the problems of preserving the record and identifying appealable issues. He has worked on antitrust, constitutional law, white-collar defense, labor and employment, contract disputes, consumer tort class actions, and probate matters.
Mr. Haskins received his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College in 2000, and graduated magna cum laude from the J. Reuben Clark Law School (Brigham Young University) in 2005. He is a member of the Order of the Coif. During law school, he served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Paul Cassell of the United States District Court, District of Utah, and the Honorable Jill Parrish of the Utah Supreme Court.
Hugh Hewitt is a nationally-renowned lawyer, law professor, and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday afternoon.
A highly-respected legal and political commentator, Mr. Hewitt has been a frequent guest on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News Network, and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of more than a dozen books, including two New York Times best-sellers. He served as a panelist for two of the 2015 GOP presidential candidate debates and will participate in additional debates in 2016. He has received three Emmys for his work as co-host of the ground-breaking Life & Times program, a nightly news and public affairs program that aired from 1992 until 2007.
In private practice, Mr. Hewitt has spent many years representing and counseling landowners, home builders, and commercial interests in a variety of land-use and environmental contexts. Mr. Hewitt’s decades of legal and political experience uniquely situate him to provide legal and crisis-management advice to the firm’s clients.
Mr. Hewitt also served for nearly six years in the Reagan Administration, including as Assistant Counsel in the White House and Special Assistant to two Attorneys General. Mr. Hewitt has served as a member of the California Arts Council, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Orange County Children and Families Commission.
Mr. Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, and has taught Constitutional Law at Chapman University Law School since the school’s founding in 1995.
Matthew S. Manacek
Matthew S. Manacek is a litigator who specializes in complex civil litigation and internal investigations.
Mr. Manacek graduated from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law in 2016. He received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from DePaul University. While attending law school, Mr. Manacek served as a senior editor of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal.
Melissa A. Meister
Melissa A. Meister is a trial and appellate lawyer with over 12 years of experience in both complex civil litigation and criminal prosecutions.
Ms. Meister previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Arizona and the Southern District of California, during which time she successfully tried multiple cases to verdict and briefed and argued dozens of appeals before the Ninth Circuit. Before serving as an AUSA, Ms. Meister was a Trial Attorney in the False Claims Act Section at the United States Department of Justice, where she investigated and litigated civil False Claims Act cases. Ms. Meister has also worked on high-stakes civil and criminal litigation, including performing internal investigations and audits, working on complex fraud and securities matters, dealing extensively with government contracts, authoring a United States Supreme Court amicus brief, and briefing and arguing a death penalty appeal before the Fourth Circuit.
Ms. Meister graduated summa cum laude and Order of the Coif from The University of Arizona College of Law in 2003. During law school, Ms. Meister was an editor for the Arizona Law Review, won the College of Law’s moot court competition, and had her law review note, “Murdering Innocence: The Constitutionality of Capital Rape Statutes” published. That note was subsequently cited by the United States Supreme Court in Kennedy v. Louisiana. After law school, Ms. Meister clerked for the Hon. William C. Canby on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Additionally, Ms. Meister spent two years as an adjunct professor of legal writing and argument at her alma mater, The University of Arizona College of Law.
Ms. Meister received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. She is admitted to practice in California, Arizona, and the District of Columbia.
Uri Niv is a litigator specializing in complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense.
Mr. Niv graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2015. He also received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from UCLA. While attending law school, Mr. Niv was the President of the Moot Court Honors Board, winner of the Jones Day 1L Moot Court Competition, and a finalist at the Roscoe Pound Moot Court Championship. Mr. Niv also served as a judicial extern to the Honorable John A. Kronstadt of the federal district court, Central District of California.
Prior to attending UCLA, Mr. Niv was a Sergeant Major in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) where he served as a Tank Commander in combat deployment.
Jonathan E. Phillips
Jon E. Phillips is a litigator with broad experience in complex litigation and arbitration, as well as white collar criminal defense.
He has handled numerous high-stakes matters representing clients in a variety of industries, including health care, entertainment, construction, investment banking, automotive, and the wine industry. Mr. Phillips has handled consumer and securities class actions, minority shareholder actions, labor and employment matters, patent and trademark litigation, trust and probate disputes, OSHA investigations, eminent domain, Medicare fraud and abuse, and medical staff law.
Mr. Phillips received his undergraduate and a master’s degree from UCLA, and graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2004. During law school, He served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court, Central District of California.
Paul A. Rigali
Paul A. Rigali is a trial lawyer who represents clients in an array of complex litigation matters including fraud, unfair competition, breach of contract claims, consumer and securities class actions, corporate governance and partnership disputes, false claims act claims, and white collar criminal defense matters.
Mr. Rigali also handles environmental enforcement matters and advises clients on matters involving CERCLA, RCRA, and the Clean Water Act. Mr. Rigali has represented individuals and companies in the sports and entertainment, real estate, software, healthcare, and automotive industries, as well as municipal agencies and non-profits. Mr. Rigali has represented clients in federal and state courts, arbitration, and the Delaware Court of Chancery.
Mr. Rigali received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and his law degree from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law. During law school, Paul served as an extern to the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the Gould School of Law United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Sommer obtained his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Mr. Sommer has handled approximately 100 trials in California and federal court and hundreds of administrative proceedings before federal, California, and local agencies. He was previously an equity partner in the Environmental and Land Use group at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Mr. Sommer is also a principal in his own firm in Northern California. He is Of Counsel to Larson O’Brien LLP.
Lauren S. Wulfe
Lauren S. Wulfe is a litigator with broad experience in complex civil litigation and settlement. She has litigated numerous contract and business tort, product liability, and high-stakes commercial matters.
Prior to joining Larson O’Brien LLP, Ms. Wulfe was an associate at a boutique firm specializing in mediation and settlement of complex litigation and a litigation associate at an international AmLaw 100 firm. Ms. Wulfe graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2012, where she received the Dean’s Certificate for Outstanding Service to the Law Center. She obtained her undergraduate degree from New York University in 2008.
Ms. Wulfe is active in public service leadership and serves as a board member of The Children’s Partnership, a national nonprofit children’s advocacy organization.
Emilie J. Zuccolotto
Emilie J. Zuccolotto obtained her law degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2013. Since then, Ms. Zuccolotto has worked on dozens of litigation matters, many of them in complex and high-stakes circumstances.
Ms. Zuccolotto’s legal creativity and hard work make her an invaluable resource on those matters. Her previous experience includes cases involving labor and employment, construction law, breaches of contract and other corporate disputes, the False Claims Act, medical malpractice, product liability, ADA compliance, and consumer tort and employment class actions.
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Zuccolotto obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. She also served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Ernest M. Robles of the Bankruptcy Court of the Central District of California.