An open letter from our founder, Mani Dabiri, on the origin of the firm:
“In 2009, I was a prosecutor in Orange County when I became a defendant in my own criminal case. I was falsely accused of a violent crime, and I was charged with two felony counts even though I was the one who called the police three times that night over my accuser’s behavior. It was surreal. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be arrested that night, but then I was. Even then, I didn’t think that I’d be charged with a crime, but then I was. Even so, I didn’t believe the case would actually go to trial, but then it did, and from those ashes emerged my firm.
So, I learned what it’s like to be a defendant. I lost my job and all my savings. I almost lost my house. I had to borrow money from friends and family. I learned what it’s like to have to explain yourself to them and others, and the shame of not knowing whether they believe you or not—because after all, they did charge you, didn’t they—and how are people supposed to know what to believe, anyway. I learned what it’s like to feel this shame pollute your daily interactions—or at least your perception of them—and how all of that affects you as a person. I learned what it’s like to have potential jurors look at you the way you figure people look at criminals. I learned what it’s like to watch someone lie right before your eyes in order to bury you and save face. And I learned viscerally why the accused must be entitled to a speedy trial. Because life as you knew it was not the same, and for me, it was the same nightmare every day.
The reality is my case was not unique, and these things happen more than we want to believe.
The experience left me indelibly with the view that it’s every bit as vital to defend the accused as it is to prosecute crime.
And so my firm was born.”
Before founding the firm, Mani Dabiri was an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles and Orange County, where he conducted investigations into and prosecutions of a wide range of federal crimes. These include white-collar offenses such as mail, bank, and wire fraud; identity theft; and money laundering as well as bank robberies; drug offenses; gun charges; and immigration matters. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Dabiri personally handled these cases at each stage of the criminal-justice process from initial investigation, grand-jury proceedings, and pretrial litigation to trial, sentencing, and appeal.
Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Dabiri was an associate at one of the largest, powerhouse litigation firms in the world, O’Melveny & Myers, where he worked on complex civil and business disputes in the areas of securities litigation, class-action defense, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and intellectual property, among others. As a young associate at the firm, he first-chaired a criminal jury trial as well as a civil court trial, and in defending the civil case, he cross-examined the other side so effectively the court awarded his clients judgment as a matter of law without their even presenting a defense.
Before joining the firm, Mr. Dabiri clerked for a legendary federal judge, Manuel Real of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He attended law school at the University of Southern California, where he graduated near the top of his class and served as a senior editor of the Southern California Law Review. While in law school, he also served for two years as a legal writing instructor, interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, and received the highest grade in his trial advocacy class. Finally, he received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating with honors.