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Raffi Manuelian

also known as R.J. Manuelian

About Me

R.J. Manuelian is a criminal defense attorney, an author, a speaker, legal expert, consultant and legal commentator for all major media outlets including FOX News, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and has covered high-profile cases such as: Linsday Lohan, John Edwards, Conrad Murray, Casey Anthony, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Amanda Knox, Jerry Sandusky, George Zimmerman, Drew Peterson, Colorado mass murder suspect John Holmes and recently the military trial of Fort Hood Shooting suspect Nidal Malik Hasan and the Arizona murder trial of Jodi Arias.


In 2002, he opened his law office in downtown Los Angeles and has been practicing criminal defense exclusively since. He has handled hundreds of criminal cases, ranging from cases involving DUI and motor vehicle crimes to murder.


R.J. Manuelian was voted by his peers as a Rising Star between 2007 to 2011 by Southern California Super Lawyers and nominated this year as a 2013 Superlawyer.


R.J. is licensed is also licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Washington D.C. but has also practiced criminal defense in Utah and New York.


He has researched and authored a study concerning jury bias and the socio-economic dynamics between a juror and defendant and called upon as a legal expert by the media to provide legal analysis of constitutional rights in cases concerning gun control, insanity defenses, search and seizure laws, the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and more.


R.J.'s accurate legal predictions and simplified explanations of laws, legal strategies and procedures has made him to be one of the most sought out legal experts and attorneys in the United States.


Between 2008 until present, R.J. has helped his clients win over $10 million dollars in Federal Civil Rights verdicts and maintains an undefeated trial record trying over 12 cases up to verdict with acquittals on all.


When RJ isn’t in trial, he is negotiating favorable legal outcomes for his clients. In 2012 he was able to get numerous serious and violent felonies dismissed, including a 1st degree murder (death penalty) case. He also assisted in obtaining a $7 million dollar judgment for his client, a school bus driver, who was falsely and maliciously accused assaulting 2 Los Angeles Sherriff’s amongst other fabricated charges.


 In 2012, he assisted in 3 back-to-back wins in Federal District Court for civil rights violations with the firm of Jonas and Driscoll.


RJ received a swift Not Guilty verdict in Whittier Courthouse in July, 2012 where 2 Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department accused his client of assaulting 2 them while riding his bicycle in his neighborhood. RJ showed the jury that the Officer’s profiled him as a gang-member, beat hiafterburner his client asserted his rights, lied in their reports and  testified falsely in order to cover up their excessive use of force and injuries caused to his client. RJ is now assisting his client in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Sherriff’s Department.


Since 2002, RJ has never lost a case where excessive force by law enforcement was used or in Resisting Arrest, Delaying or Obstructing a Police Officer or Assault on a Peace Officer. He remains to be a national expert in this area of criminal defense and is a frequent speaker at conferences on this subject.


2012 ended successfully when he got a New York City Taxi Cab driver only 4 months of jail on a voluntary manslaughter charge in Queens County, New York. His client was accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol in Queens County, New York and faced over 15 years with other related charges filed. RJ was able negotiate a deal with his client serving a maximum of 4 months in jail. 


In Los Angeles, RJ was able to get his client a deal in which his client served 85 days of county jail on a vehicular manslaughter charge. His client was accused of having a Blood Alcohol Level over 0.13 when her passenger was killed in a DUI related car accident –his client faced10 years in prison.


2013 started off with several dismissals of serious cases including an assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury case out of the Bellflower courthouse. His client, a barber and owner, was accused of assaulting one of his customers. Prior to trial he solidifed a deal where his client's case would be ultimately dissmissed. RJ was also able to get the case a dismissal for two clients (represented at the same time) accused of embezzling over $100,000 from Medicare. They were both facing each a combined total of over 30 years in prison.


RJ was represented a client who as a father of a 14-month-old baby girl “arrested…after leaving the child inside a locked car with the windows rolled up in 115 degree heat” – NBC News Los Angeles bureau reported. His client was charged with Felony Child Endangerment, facing 6 years in the state prison and a potential strike. Media attention and the nature of the charges brought a challenge to the case, however, RJ obtained a dismissal for his client in February of this year.


R.J. provides expert legal consultation regarding trial strategies and jury selection to attorneys and law firms across America and is one of the most sought out criminal defense attorney's in Southern California. His business philosophy is simple:


I want my client's to trust me 100% before hiring me. That is what's most important to me. Once that trust is built, everything else flows smoothly from there.


Potential clients should realize that not everyone's case is winnable. If the facts and evidence in your case is against you, then you may have to be open to discussing alternate ways of meeting your goals. If the facts and evidence against you is not strong and if history repeats itself, I will win your case!


I am brutally honest with all my clients and will always give you all your best legal option but trust has to be established first.



Languages Spoken: Armenian, Spanish

Photos and Videos

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Practice Areas


  1. Criminal Defense: 100%
    13 years, 5 thousand cases



Fixed (Always), Retainer (Always)

Payment Types:

Cash, Check, Credit Card

Attorney Endorsements

5 total 

  • Nathaniel Greenberg Kelly

    I consider RJ Manuelian to be a mentor. We have worked together on several matters, and each and every time he has impressed me with his knowledge and strategy. I endorse this lawyer.


    Nathaniel Kelly Business Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

  • Alexi Ozols

    I think the best way to describe RJ Manuelian is he is one of the passionate lawyers I have ever met. This guy will literally fight for you until death, he does absolutely everything he can for his clients and is a great litigator as well. I would recommend this lawyer to anyone!


    Alexi Ozols Criminal Defense Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact Info

Manuelian Law Firm

633 West 5th Street, #2622
Los Angeles, CA, 90071


DCActive 200705/24/2015

Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo Contributions
Legal Answers
Award NameGrantorDate Granted
Super LawyerSuper Lawyers Magazine2015
Super LawyerSuper Lawyers Magazine2014
The National Trial LawyersTop 100 Trial Lawyer2014
Super LawyerSuper Lawyers Magazine2013
Rising StarSuper Lawyers Magazine2011
Rising StarSuper Lawyers Magazine2010
Rising Star MagazineSuper Lawyers2009
Work Experience
TitleCompany NameDuration
Trial AttorneyManuelian Law Firm2002 - Present
Association NamePosition NameDuration
NAACPMember2009 - Present
National Association for Equal Justice In AmericaMember2009 - Present
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersOfficer2003 - Present
Armenian Bar AssociationMember2002 - Present
State Bar of CaliforniaOfficer2001 - Present
Association of Trial Lawyers of AmericaOfficer2000 - Present
Legal Cases
Case NameOutcome
People v. Gerardo Cazarez and Manuel Moreno - Assault With a Deadly Weapon on a Peace OfficerNot Guilty On All Counts For Both Clients - $4.5 Million Federal Civil Rights Verdict
People v. Deon Dirks - Assault on a Peace Officer, Resisting ArrestCase Dismissed After Criminal Trial- $7 Million Federal Civil Rights Verdict
People v. Eric Hoxey and Shatwan Smith - Possession of a Controlled Substance For SaleCase Dismissed Before Jury Verdict - $650,000 Settlement
See all Legal Cases 
Publication NameTitleDate
Long Island University ThesisRacial Influences Between Juror and Defendant1998
School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
Massachusetts School of Law at AndoverGeneral EducationJD - Juris Doctor2000
Long Island University, C.W. Post CampusCriminal StudiesMaster of Science1998
St. John's UniversityCriminal StudiesBS - Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Science1993
Speaking Engagements
Conference NameTitleDate
NAEJA Community ConferenceVictims of Racial Profiling2012
NAEJA - Legal Process From Arrest to TrialUnderstanding the Criminal Justice System2011
Knowing Your RightsRights of Citizens Against Police Use of Excessive Force2009
Community RelationsLos Angeles Sherriff's Department Relationship With the Community in Compton2009