Stephen G. Larson
|Stephen G. Larson|
Former Federal Judge Stephen Larson, Partner, Arent Fox LLP
|Alma mater||Georgetown University,
University of Southern California Law School
|Children||4 sons, 3 daughters|
Stephen Gerard Larson (born 1964) is a former United States District Court judge and a partner in the Los Angeles office of Arent Fox LLP, where he is the practice leader of the Complex Litigation group. He consistently ranks among the top litigators in the U.S., and in 2012 was named one of the Leading Trial Lawyers in the country by Legal 500 US. As a judge and an attorney, he is known for high-profile cases, including his role since 2011 as lead defense counsel in what former California Attorney General (and current governor) Jerry Brown once touted as “the biggest corruption scandal in San Bernardino County, if not the state’s, history.” Under Larson’s lead, five of seven charges have been dropped so far. Larson also secured dismissals of money laundering and conspiracy charges for Angela Aguilar in U.S. v. Noriega, described as “one of the biggest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases ever.” 
Early life and education
Larson was born in Fontana, California. He received a B.S.F.S. degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Services in 1986, and a J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School in 1989. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1989.
Prosecutor and federal judge
After two years in private practice, Larson began working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for California’s Central District, and from 1991 to 2000, led 24 criminal trials, receiving the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance from Attorney General Janet Reno. As chief of the office’s organized crime section, Larson conducted joint training exercises and investigations with foreign law enforcement agencies in Russia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, the Ukraine, and South Korea. Larson’s work as a U.S. Attorney led him to the bench, first as a United States Magistrate Judge in September 2000. In December 2005, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to a U.S. District Court seat vacated by Robert J. Timlin. Larson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 16, 2006. Important cases he presided over included United States v. Nazario, involving a former Marine sergeant ultimately acquitted of manslaughter for his role in four fatal shootings during the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq; Mattel v. MGA Entertainment, the so-called “Bratz doll” case involving copyrights and trade secrets; and United States v. Duro, in which Larson blocked the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decade-long effort to close down a major migrant worker camp on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation in the Coachella Valley.
He resigned his position September 17, 2009, and then joined the firm of Girardi Keese.
Larson joined Arent Fox in Los Angeles as a partner in 2011, became the practice leader of the Complex Litigation group in 2013, and has earned a string of dismissals in high-profile white-collar and commercial litigation cases. His defense of San Bernardino County real estate developer Jeff Burum in People v. Biane has, to date, led to the dropping of five of seven conspiracy and bribery-related charges and a formal apology from the FBI regarding misstatements by agents following a search and seizure. Defending Angela Aguilar in U.S. v. Noriega, Larson’s push to suppress intercepted communications helped lead to the court’s finding of broad government misconduct and, ultimately, a dismissal of charges against his client. In 2012, Larson successfully defended Taco Bell against a lawsuit seeking $51 million in damages over alleged unwanted telephone marketing calls. He currently represents Fleischer Studios in a highly watched case involving Fleischer’s rights to the “Betty Boop” trademark. On October 25, 2012, Larson received the Jennifer Brooks Lawyer of the Year Award from the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association.
Larson is a founding member of and continues to serve on the executive board of the U.S. Department of State’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan. He is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is a frequent lecturer on law and international affairs. Larson is the Distinguished Jurist in Residence and a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of La Verne College of Law, and was appointed by founding Dean Erwin Chemerinsky to serve on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the newly chartered law school at the University of California at Irvine. Larson also is vice president and lead counsel for the Ontario Airport Alliance, which is supporting efforts to pull Ontario International Airport out from under the control of the Los Angeles World Airports.
- 2012 Arent Fox LLP: the Firm
- “Colonies defense attorney named one of top trial lawyers in country,” San Bernardino Sun, July 4, 2012[dead link]
- “Prosecutors allege biggest corruption scandal in San Bernardino County history,” San Bernardino Sun, February 10, 2010 “Judge dismisses most felony counts against Burum; all four Colonies defendants enter not guilty pleas,” San Bernardino Sun, August 19, 2011
- “Arent Fox’s Stephen Larson obtains vacation of conviction for Angela Maria Gomez Aguilar, indicted under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Business Wire, June 5, 2012
- State Bar of California Attorney Search
- 2012 Arent Fox LLP: Stephen Larson
- “Senate Confirms Judge Stephen G. Larson as District Judge for Central District of California,” United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit, March 20, 2006
- “U.S. District Judge Stephen G. Larson to join Girardi Keese,” Metropolitan News-Enterprise, September 28, 2009
- “Feds to return Burum property,” "Riverside Press-Enterprise", November 1, 2011
- "Arent Fox’s Stephen Larson Obtains Vacation of Conviction for Angela Maria Gomez Aguilar Indicted under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" Business Wire, June 5, 2012
- Tracy Thomas v. Taco Bell Corporation et al, Justia.com
- "Former Federal Judge Larson named lawyers of the year," inlandpolitics.com, September 21, 2012
- University of La Verne College of Law
- Arent Fox web page
- University of LaVerne College of law web site
- “Judge Stephen G. Larson (Ret),” FedArb Inc.
- The Road to Tashkent,” Riverside County Lawyer, Riverside Co. Bar Association; January 2004
- “Don’t Forget Afghanistan’s Justice System,” CBS News.com, February 17, 2010
- “This Court Will Not Close Duroville”: Balancing Tribal Sovereignty and Residents’ Rights in United States v. Duro"
- “Law Blog Expert Panel: Ex-Judges on Rakoff’s Citi Ruling,” The Wall Street Journal; December 2011