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Robert Stephen Toale

About me

I grew up in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Upon graduation from high school, I left New Jersey and found my way to New Orleans, where I attended Tulane University and graduated with a degree in political science.


Although I have known that I wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer almost all of my life, after graduating from Tulane I decided to take some time off, so I began selling insurance for the Equitable Life and saving money for law school. After three years of working. I started law school at Loyola University but continued to work for Equitable during law school and for a year and a half after law school.


I am proud to say that I have never worked for a law firm or the district attorney's office. All of my clients have been individual people and owners of small businesses. Many of my first law clients were friends, insurance clients or referrals.


I also began accepting appointments to criminal cases in Jefferson Parish to help build my practice. Within a short period of time my reputation grew, and although I did not seek the job, I was offered a part-time salaried position with the IDB (indigent defender board) as a public defender in juvenile court. During my tenure as an IDB lawyer in juvenile court, I tried hundreds of cases, gaining invaluable trial and courtroom experience.


While working in juvenile court, I continued accepting appointments to criminal cases in Jefferson Parish and handled my first two murder cases, including a death penalty case. Along with another lawyer, I represented Tyronne Lindsey.


Tyrone had been previously sentenced to death by two juries: I represented him before the third jury. Unfortunately, he was again sentenced to death and at one time had the distinction of being the oldest resident on Louisiana's death row.


Fortunately, due to the United States Supreme Court Atkins decision, his sentence was commuted to life. Out of approximately 20 death penalty clients I have represented, he is the only one who was sentenced to death. The rest of the cases were dismissed, reduced, or pled out to a lesser sentence.


Soon after leaving juvenile court, I was one of the first attorneys hired by the Jefferson Parish IDB, after the system was overhauled and began hiring attorneys as independent contractors. At any given time I handled, on the average, approximately 125 clients in five sections of court. I tried a number of jury trials in these five divisions, sometimes as many as two jury trials a week. During these trials, I gained invaluable trial experience.


Less than a year after being hired by IDB, I was invited to form a new team of lawyers that would handle only the most serious felonies, defined as crimes carrying a life or death sentence. I, along with one other attorney, immediately jumped at the opportunity and accepted the offer. It turned out to be an incredible opportunity - far greater than I had ever imagined.


I learned a great deal about forensics and DNA. (This was the late 80s and DNA evidence was brand new.) Unlike many public defenders in Louisiana at the time, I had access to money for private investigators and expert witnesses, and became proficient in using experts to build a defense and cross-examine expert witnesses.


During my time with the Jefferson Parish IDB, I represented clients in a number of high profile cases, such as: Vernon Williams, Patricia Van Winkle, Thomas Abadie and Joel Durhan. Representing these high-profile clients, I learned how to deal with the media, sometimes appearing on local television and radio three or four times per week. In addition to the local media, I was interviewed and quoted by CBS News, the ABA Journal, Newsweek, Lawyer's Weekly, and the National Law Journal.


Throughout my career, I have had a difficult time telling people that I cannot help them. As a result, I have handled almost any kind of case imaginable: divorce. custody, civil litigation, bankruptcy, wills, successions, collections, contracts, property disputes and personal injury.


Today, most of the people I represent are accused of crimes for the first time and are referred by other lawyers and clients. However, I have a fair number of repeat clients and now I am representing the children of former clients.


In my nearly 30 years of practice, I have tried over 100 jury trials with many not guilty verdicts.  I have represented approximately 5,000 clients over the course of my career.


I hope this has given you a clearer understanding of the depth of my experience in representing clients in criminal cases in all courts. If you have been arrested or you think you may be arrested, please call (504) 368-8440 or e-mail me for a consultation to discuss your case.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Criminal Defense: 100%



Retainer (sometimes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

12 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Jason Matthew Johnson

    I endorse this lawyer. I met Robert at the Trial Lawyer's College. He is passionate about defending the rights of his clients and will stop at nothing to see that justice is done.


    Jason Johnson Personal injury Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Michael S. Waddington

    I endorse Robert. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community.


    Michael Waddington Military law Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Law Office of Robert S. Toale

505 Weyer Street
Gretna, LA, 70053


GAActive Member in Good Standing 200808/05/2016
LAEligible to practice law198308/05/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
presidents appreciation awardLouisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers2013
Certification as Lead Trial Counsel in Death Penalty CasesLouisiana Public Defender Board2012
Blackstone's Order 10:1Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers2011
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
OwnerLaw Office of Robert S. Toale1983 - Present
AttorneyJefferson Parish Indigent Defender Board1988 - 1993
AttorneyIndigent Defender Board for Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court1986 - 1988
Insurance SalesmanEquitable Life Insurance Society1976 - 1983
Association namePosition nameDuration
Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense LawyersPresident2014 - Present
Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense LawyersPresident-Elect2012 - Present
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana LawsLegal Committee Member2012 - Present
Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense LawyersBoard Of Directors1983 - Present
Jefferson Bar AssociationN/A1983 - Present
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersN/A1983 - Present
New Orleans Bar AssociationN/AN/A
Alliance for Good GovernmentOfficer and ParlimentarianN/A
Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense LawyersTreasurerN/A
Louisiana Association for JusticeN/AN/A
Federal Bar Association (New Orleans chapter)N/AN/A
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
State of Louisiana v. Branden JosephNot guilty
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers CollegeN/AN/A2012
National Criminal Defense CollegeN/AN/A2009
National Institute for Trial AdvocacyN/AN/A1989
National Institute for Trial AdvocacyN/AN/A1985
Loyola University New OrleansN/AJ.D.1982
Tulane UniversityN/AB.A.1977
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Procrastinator's ProgamsMasters of Jury Selection2012
Wednesdays at the Bar"Voir Dire in Criminal Cases"2011
NOBA's Procrastinator's Programs (with Samantha Griffin and Jennifer Bechet)"Criminal Law for the Civil Law Lawyer"2011