A tribute to my mentor, friend, and crimlaw LEGEND: Tom Nolan

My former boss, Tom Nolan of Nolan, Barton and Olmos (www.nbo.law) is celebrating his 50th year as a criminal defense attorney. Below is a congratulatory email sent from his firm.
On a personal note, I’d like to say that Tom is an amazing person to work for and learn from. Believe it or not, I was hired by Tom after responding to an ad on craigslist for a “temporary” attorney position to assist with a federal trade secret retrial. My post-bar clerkship at the public defender was ending during the economic crisis in 2009-2010. No public defender offices were hiring. He knew being a public defender was my dream, and fostered that dream throughout my time working for him. That job turned from temporary to permanent, until I left for the pd’s office. He lifted me up, and later hired me back, when my world crashed down and I realized I wasn’t cut to be a trial lawyer. He always supported me, even when I was a lunatic. He taught me crazy is alright.

What is remarkable about Tom, besides his cross-examination skills which believe me he uses outside of the courtroom–I think he crossed examined my then boyfriend, now husband, about when he was going to propose, which worked–is his brilliance in legal strategy. For example, he had an intentional, smart, strategy on that trade secret case that ultimately led to a dismissal by the federal government. Around 5pm, my now dear friend hero attorneys, would sit in his office, over drinks and snacks, brainstorming, laughing, and telling war stories. It is no wonder a Supreme Court justice called him a lion.

To this day, a decade after I worked for him, I call Tom for advice. I call him to share war stories. He has so many, and I could listen to them all day. Mostly, I call him a dear friend. Here is Tom.

Tom Nolan “Lion of the Bar” Celebrating 50 Years of Tenacity in the Courtroom 
 A person wearing glasses and a suit

Description automatically generated with medium confidence  2021 marks fifty years since Tom Nolan took up his calling and became one of California’s leading criminal defense attorneys. 
 Tom was admitted to practice law in January 1971. Ever since, he has been drawn to the most complex and difficult criminal cases. In the course of his storied career, he has represented clients in state and federal courts throughout California and the United States on charges of economic espionage, homicide, sex crimes, and numerous white-collar crimes. 
No matter the case, Tom has always endeavored to understand the circumstances of each client’s life with empathy. Investing himself in his clients’ stories, he has fought for each and every individual, defending their rights and working to ensure that race, class, and other socio-political issues do not lead justice astray. 
 For fifty years, Tom has been a forceful and consistent voice for those who have needed it most. In 2012, Tom’s career accomplishments were recognized from the bench of the California Supreme Court when Justice Carol Corrigan referred to him as a “lion of the defense bar.” Today, Tom is Senior Partner at Nolan Barton & Olmos LLP, the firm he founded alongside attorneys Andrew Parnes, Charles Constantinides, and, later, Mike Armstrong. In 1977, the firm found its permanent home in Palo Alto at 600 University Avenue and quickly established itself as the professional home base for dedicated advocates representing the accused – both in the local community and throughout the country. As Senior Partner, Tom is proud to have his long-time friends and colleagues Dan Barton and Daniel Olmos taking up his legacy at the helm of Nolan Barton & Olmos LLP. 
Tom has been certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, as a criminal law specialist for more than thirty years. He was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal and, for more than 25 years, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America. In 2010, he was designated by Best Lawyers as “Lawyer of the Year” in the San Francisco Bay Area for criminal defense. Tom is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He served as President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. In addition to his work in the courtroom, Tom has contributed to the development of several generations of criminal defense attorneys. For 25 years, Tom taught at Stanford University’s School of Law as a lecturer and consulting professor and has mentored dozens of young and aspiring lawyers to practice criminal defense with passion and integrity.
  Congratulations, Tom, for 50 years of serving the community as a fighter for justice!  
NBO Office Updates The law firm Tom founded 50 years ago is flourishing, thanks in large part to his leadership and mentorship. Nolan Barton & Olmos LLP is a nationally-recognized firm with seven lawyers and an incredibly talented staff, all of whom are wholly dedicated to representing the rights of the accused in California and across the country. In 2020, during the COVID-19 global health pandemic, the firm grew, adding accomplished attorneys and law clerks who will carry on Tom’s legacy in the coming years and decades. Dan Barton and Daniel Olmos and everyone else at Nolan Barton & Olmos LLP strive to emulate Tom’s passion, dedication, and commitment to defending the Constitution and every single one of the firm’s clients.

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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