WRITTEN BY LAURA WATTS PHOTOGRAPHED BY REMY HAYNES AND CATHRYN FARNSWORTH
The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling is a top-rated law firm committed to the exclusive practice of criminal law. After years of trial work in the public sector, Justin founded his own law firm in 2011. He brings high-end, aggressive criminal representation to those facing prosecution by state and federal authorities. Justin is an accomplished criminal trial lawyer who represents individuals and businesses facing the full range of felony and misdemeanor charges. Known for offering his clients exclusive white glove treatment while navigating them through the legal process, Justin’s expertise is highlighted by his more than 60 jury trials conducted in courts throughout California.
What’s most rewarding about your work?
“Criminal defense attorneys are in a unique position to change lives through the practice of law. Whether it’s advocating for rehabilitation and treatment for a drug addicted or mentally ill client or simply being a positive force for somebody who has never faced the criminal justice system … at the end of the day, we are in a helping profession—and there is a great deal of satisfaction in that.”
What is your area of specialty?
“I only practice criminal defense. Under the umbrella of that specialization, I represent people who have been accused of every conceivable crime, whether it’s DUI, domestic violence, drug offenses, business-related white-collar crime, or even murder.”
Who is your typical client?
“My clients really come from all walks of life—a college student who has been arrested for a first-time DUI; an individual who has been in and out of the system and is facing life in prison; working professionals who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances; high-profile clients from the entertainment and sports industry or business world. The only thing that is typical is that, at their core, most of my clients are good people who have made a mistake.”
What is the biggest benefit that your clients gain from working with you?
“My experience and local knowledge. The fact that I am in court every day and have tried more cases than most lawyers twice my age, I think, is pretty uncommon. But it’s a quality that undeniably gives my clients an advantage. I am proud to be a native Angeleno, and my clients benefit from that fact due to the relationships that I have formed in and out of the courtroom. When you combine these relationships with hard work and the skill-set necessary to be an effective and aggressive trial lawyer, my clients have the advantage over someone who is virtually unknown and lacks any real depth of criminal trial experience.”
What skills are most necessary to be successful in your field?
“Compassion. To remain a powerful advocate in court, you must have compassion and empathy for your client, understanding what has brought them to this point. Aside from that, a genuine love for what you do. This type of work often requires taking on the unpopular client or an unpopular case—perhaps a client who has been accused of an atrocious crime. At the end of the day, defense work is not for everyone, and to be effective at what you do at the highest level really requires you to have a passion for it. It doesn’t feel like work to me because I am doing what I love to do.”
Tell us about your new location.
“When I launched my practice in 2011, I opened my office in Century City. However I always envisioned being in the Valley—I am from here and live in Studio City. I’m raising my family just minutes from where I grew up, and my parents live down the road. For me, it’s full circle. While my cases still take me all over Los Angeles and the surrounding counties—and to even other parts of the state—we’re thrilled about our new office location in the heart of Encino’s business center on Ventura Boulevard. I still maintain a presence ‘over the hill’ with a smaller office in Beverly Hills; however, Encino is our new permanent home. I am hopeful it will be the nucleus of our law firm for a long time to come.”