Royal F. Oakes

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Royal Oakes

Royal Forest Oakes, a Los Angeles-based partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP,[1] is a legal analyst and news contributor.


Oakes is a graduate of UCLA and UCLA Law School. His business litigation practice involves representation of defendants in class action and "unfair business practices" litigation, and high-profile life, health and disability claim litigation. He has been lead counsel in victorious cases in the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and regularly tries jury and bench cases in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and the Los Angeles Superior Court. He also maintains a substantial caseload of litigation matters in northern California. Oakes serves as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission on Economy and Efficiency, and has served as chair of the Commission's Task Force on Organization and Accountability.[2]

In the news[edit]

Broadcast media[edit]

For over twenty years, Royal Oakes has provided commentary on the country's most talked about legal cases to national and local broadcast media.[3][4] He has appeared nationally on the syndicated programs Inside Edition,[5] Extra and Access Hollywood.[6] In Los Angeles, he has been the Legal Analyst for NBC4 News,[7] KABC Radio[8][9][10] and KFWB All-News Radio. His one-minute spot, "It's The Law," aired nationally on Westwood One's "Metro Networks." He contributes to network radio news broadcasts, and network television broadcasts such as ABC's Good Morning America, 20/20, and NBC's Today Show. He has hosted an ABC News Now program on the law, "Guilt or Innocence." In the San Francisco Bay Area, he is KGO Radio's Legal Analyst.[11]

In 2017, Royal was honored by Los Angeles City Hall for his 30 years as a media analyst and commentator. L.A. City Councilman Curren Price said, "[Royal] is dedicated to giving back to the community and has provided hours of thoughtful and provoking legal commentary on his home station KABC."[12]

The Royal Oakes Show[edit]

Airing on CRN Digital Radio, The Royal Oakes Show is a one-hour talk show featuring Royal's unique analysis and thoughtful guest appearances, and listener call-ins. Airing every Saturday at 3PM PST, Royal discusses the week's major headlines, leaving listeners educated and up-to-date.[13]


Oakes has been a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Daily Journal's "Business Litigation" column, and has written on law, tort reform and politics. He has published features in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today.[14]

Key cases[edit]

Royal Oakes has reported for media outlets from the scene of major legal cases involving Bill Cosby, OJ Simpson, Rodney King, Robin Williams.[15] He has gone in-studio hundreds of times as part of national and local television and radio team coverage of blockbuster Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare, marriage equality and affirmative action, and the trials of Los Angeles Sheriff Leroy Baca,[3] Conrad Murray, the Boston Bomber, Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, Jerry Sandusky and Governor Blagojevich.

As General Counsel for the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California since the 1990s, Oakes has appeared in court on numerous occasions to urge judges to allow or continue televised coverage of court proceedings.[2] During the O.J. Simpson criminal trial held before the Honorable Lance Ito, Oakes appeared in an attempt to dissuade Judge Ito from making good on a threat to "pull the plug" on cameras as a result of the perceived "media circus" atmosphere. In the book Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice (1998), authors Marjorie Cohn and David Dow stated at page 82 that "Also pleading with Judge Ito to retain the camera in Simpson's trial was media attorney Royal Oakes, who argued, the camera 'is a perfectly accurate reflection of reality.[16]'"

Testimony on cameras in court[edit]

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on 10 January 1996 that Oakes testified before a task force on cameras in the courtroom, appointed by then-California Supreme Court Chief Justice Malcolm M. Lucas:

The public has a right to see its court system at work,' said Royal Oakes, a lawyer for the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California. 'Are we going to let this case [Simpson] dictate our public policy? We are never again going to see anything like this case.


  1. ^ "Royal F. Oakes". Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Oakes, Royal F." Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Feds May Try To Expand Probe into LA County Jail Misconduct". 13 December 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Royal Oakes Interview - The Larry Elder Show". Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  5. ^ "The Latest on Nicollette Sheridan's Trial". Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  6. ^ "What Happens Now To Dannielynn Smith?". Access Online. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  7. ^ "NewsConference: Legal Expert Royal Oakes on Same-Sex Marriage and SCOTUS". NBC Southern California. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Why Isn't Gloria Allred Donald Trump for the Alleged Sexual Assault". 17 January 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  9. ^ News, A. B. C. (7 January 2006). "Peterson Defense Comes Up Short, Legal Experts Say". ABC News. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Ronn Owens: June 16, 2016". 16 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  12. ^ Cardine, Sara. "La Cañada resident Royal Oakes honored by L.A. City Council for 30 years of commentary". Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  13. ^ "The Royal Oakes Show". 15 July 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Volunteer Oklahoma deputy pleads not guilty, heads to Bahamas". Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Robin Williams Family Torn Apart Over Fortune". Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  16. ^ Cohn, Marjorie; Dow, David (2002). Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-2023-3.