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Louis Peter Pilato

Criminal defense Attorney at Rancho Mission Viejo, CA

3.3   7 reviews

also known as Lou Pilato, Louis Pilato

  • State Years
    California - CA 16 years
    New York - NY 50 years
  • Licensed for 16 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2007
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 50 years
    State NY
    Acquired 1973
    Due to Register within 30 Days of Birthday No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Louis

Learn Louis’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense

    36 years, 7,500 cases

  2. DUI and DWI

    36 years, 2,500 cases

  3. Litigation

    36 years, 500 cases

  4. Sex crime

    36 years

  5. Violent crime

    36 years

California and New York licensed attorney with over 30+ years of experience in either prosecuting  criminal offenses  or  engaging in criminal defense work, to include DUI offenses;  in  repesenting both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation matters;  in  supervising  and/or  managing  staff  and  support personnel;  and  in  developing  expertise as a litigation or trial specialist, having engaged in well over 400 jury trials.

Background includes over  ten years of public  service with regional  prosecutors office where attained status of chief trial attorney and ultimately engaged in well over 150 jury trials and countless non jury proceedings and hearings.  Later, managed general practice law firm where focus of attention was engaging in criminal defense matters and in that capacity was involved in another 50+ jury trials, etc.  More recently has engaged in criminal and DUI defense work and/or civil litigation matters in the Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties.

As a prosecutor,  achieved  a  95%  conviction rate,  and  the  duties included heading the homicide bureau, the career criminal  bureau, and the special investigations unit  (which was responsible for all major or high profile matters). Became the leading trial attorney for the office.   Cases included over thirty homicide trials, various organized crime situations, violent sexual offenses, bank robberies, home invasion matters, etc.

Cases as a private defense counsel included the same type of criminal offenses.  Has achieved a 75% rate of acquittal on behalf of the clients and also been recognized as one of the premier attorneys in the area, often receiving referrals from other law firms or attorneys when they could not negotiate a resolution for their clients and the cases were scheduled for trial.  

Licensed to practice law in both New York State and California.  When appropriate, is able to effectively negotiate settlements and/or to successfully argue positions  to  lay  people,  attorneys,  and  judges  and  juries  on  variety of matters to most certainly include criminal issues.


Mr. Pilato has made criminal law and civil litigation specialties by obtaining extensive experience on both sides of  the aisle.  Beginning his legal career as a criminal prosecutor, he quickly rose up the ranks so as to become the leading trial attorney in his office and to also learn the attitudes and procedures being utilized by law enforcement agencies and officers.  He then shifted gears and for over 25 years has been a polished criminal defense attorney and civil litigation advocate,  handling all types of matters in local, state and federal courts.  While Mr. Pilato is comfortable in the courtroom fighting for his clients before judges and juries, and has engaged in well over 400 jury trials, he knows  that the two pre-requisites for a favorable end result are establishing a  trusting relationship with his client and  then conducting a thorough and exhaustive investigation.   That  is why he takes whatever time is necessary to know both the client and the agencies or officers that have begun proceedings against the client.  His successes have resulted in  Mr. Pilato  being cited in Marquis Whos Who In American Law on multiple occasions. 


Pilato Law Offices
36 Lomada Street
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA, 92694
James McConvill & Associates Orange County
5000 Birch Street
Suite 3000, West Tower
Newport Beach, CA, 92660
James McConvill & Associates Tri Valley
6200 Stoneridge Mall Road
3rd Floor
Pleasanton, CA, 94588
James McConvill & Associates Silicone Valley
228 Hamilton Ave
3rd Floor
Palo Alto, CA, 94301
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3.3 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
5 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Lola | May 23, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Hands down the best
I am extremely happy with the results. When he walked into the courtroom it was evident he was well known. It took nearly a year to fight the case, but he was able to lower the felony to a misdemeanor with no jail time. You will not regret hiring this attorney. He has over 40 years as a criminal defense lawyer and was a former DA. He knows how the DA's think. He was expensive, but worth it! The firm let me make payments after paying a down-payment.
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Posted by Audrey | December 27, 2021
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Honest, knowledgeable.m
Mr. Plato was not our Defense Attorney. I consulted with him post conviction after firing our Attorney for lying throughout the ordeal of our lives, and for doing nothing at all in my son's case. Nothing. 3 years and we had to push to start trial and our *great* Attorney didn't even know the case and texted his way too young girlfriend all thru trial. Distracted much? I was traumatized by this man. He verbally abused, lied and had more than enough evidence to get a not guilty, and he presented nothing. There's so much more but I'm not here about him. I'm here out of gratitude for Mr. Pilato. Like I said, it was post conviction. My son was convicted by the lies of 1 witness and a detective for the arresting agency. Now he testified as an amazing social media expert. Dude didn't know what an activity log is. Real good expert right? His every word had a lie attached. The court appointed another attorney, who ignored us 11 months and still does. He only responds about court dates. So after conviction, there's a new trial or an appeal. Those are the 2 chances we have to get the truth out. Nobody will help us and the first Attorney took every dollar I had, and then some, so I couldn't hire anyone else. I would've found a way to hire Mr. Pilato. Unfortunately, he couldn't take on our case because he's got others and so obviously, didn't have the time it would take for our case. I can't tell you how much I appreciated his honesty on that. Our other attorney didn't have time for our case, so he pushed trial back for 3+ years and was angry to start trial. He should've told me he didn't have time for our case. He didn't look at evidence, didn't interview witnesses. No time. Here, I've got a non-retained Attorney telling me honestly that he didn't have the time needed. That's Honest. I consulted with Louis Pilato several times. I found him to be very patient with my many, many questions. He is very knowledgeable in criminal law. I got so much more information from him than the Ghost of an Attorney that I had paid $70,000 to...again, , to sit and text his GF sitting with me in the hallway. Mr. Pilato answered my questions outright which is something I've never experienced before. Every other attorney was incredibly vague in answering anything until after retained I suppose. Even when they advertise, "free consultation" , all answers are, well, I'd have to be retained to answer that. Their free consults are a waste of time. Thanks to Mr. Pilato I understand a little better and have more knowledge as to what we need to do. I wouldn't have to do all the work I am doing now. All we needed was an Attorney. This would have been done already, and my son would be home. I know this is long. Bottom line is I'd recommend and hire Mr. Pilato in a heartbeat. You can't go wrong with that kind of Attorney.
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Posted by Robert | November 12, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
My recommendation
Mr Lou worked on attempt to murder case for my family, At the beginning I was not very impressed when I met him but what a surprise!!he end up doing an excellent job My son got only a 3 years probation by my choice. He did not wanted me to take the plead but I needed to have my son by our side. Thanks Mr Lou
Posted by Isabel | May 13, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Awesome man!
I recently came across a situation where I had to hire my first lawyer. Lou was very helpful, super intelligent, and did the job better than it could've been done. He got the main charge dropped and was able to get my boyfriend released quickly. He's super honest and isn't afraid to tell you how the situation really looks. I'm glad I got to share business with him!
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Posted by Darlene | March 27, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
if you want to be in prison for the rest of your life hire Calabria Law Group and Louis Pilato. Si usted quiere estar en la carcel por el resto de su vida contrate a Calabria Law Office and Louis Pilato. La Sra. Rosa le dirá maravillas del bufete y dsps que pague no le contestarán mas. Si usted tuvo un problema con este bufete escriba a mi email [email protected]
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Posted by Tanisha | January 20, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Scum Bucket & Crooks
Louis Pilato & law firm he works for Calabria Law Group. To the money I put down & ran with it. My son is facing serious charges against him and has been since Sept 2021. I hired Louis Pilato for my son case. The courts were in the process of determining if my son was competent or incompetent. due to his disability. I had asked Louis about getting charges reduced or dropped & also the bail reduced. He said 2 cases were being looked at in my sons case. To see if he was competent or incompetent. No bail reduction motion was ever file nor charges dropped. He never went to visit my son while in Riverside County jail & it was so hard to get in contact with him. I have emails trying to reach him. One email he sent he thought it was going to the law firm he works for. It just so happened I was included in it. He was basic letting he= know he don't have time to talk to me because he is very busy. That was very upsetting to me because I was paying him. He only showed up to 3 of my sons court appearances & the 3rd one he relieved himself. He never put up a fight for my sons case. The public defender that was appointed to my son that day, told me I should report Louis Pilato to the State Bar because he had my son going straight to the state hospital. I am still fight this case for my son 1 yr 4 months later. If he was that good then my son would be out of this mess. DO NOT HIRE LOUIS PETER PILATO OR HIS LAW FIRM CALABRIA LAW GROUP.!!!!!
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Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
He could not help me, but kept billing me.
I wish he performed as aggressively for me as his bio claims. He should have never taken my case. He did not locate necessary divorce papers, I had to obtain them. Took him eight months to contact the Attys involved, even though he had the divorce papers in hand with their names. He had the wrong name & file # on correspondence. My Email requests for info and updates went unanswered for months. He should have admitted he can not help me and stopped billing me. I need a Family practice or Probate Atty and he failed to recommended either to resolve my issues. He never offered any options how to proceed until six months later he emailed me option to sue the Attys involved then asked for another $7,800.00! I terminated him, requested a refund of legal fees paid (wasted) and will file a complaint with the BAR if not refunded. Very poor performance. Anybody can write a letter then wait for months until the recipient responds with a lame excuse, what good is that? He never filed a Complaint or petitioned the Court on my behalf, nothing to resolve my issue once he was notified what needed to be submitted, of which was the reason I hired him to obtain QUDROS ordered in 2013. I am very disappointed and still needing a Family law Atty that I now can no longer afford. Distraught over this! Much more to say but will refrain. I expect a Refund. I wasted 6k and over an entire year for absolutely nothing. He never read the Calpers manual how to separate funds or obtain values, nothing; but said he has experience with QUDRO'S. Two years now with no survivor benefits from my deceased spouse. Waste of my time and money. I have requested a refund.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 8.5 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Pilato & Associates
  • 2007 - Present
  • Managing Partner
  • Fero, Pilato & Ingersoll
  • 1996 - 2005


  • Buffalo School of Law
  • Juris Doctorate
  • 1974
  • Universtity of Miami
  • Bachelor of Arts - Magna Cum Laude
  • 1967

Sample of Legal Cases

  • People v. Client
  • NG Verdicts after trial


  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 2007 - Present
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1974 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2019
  • Distinguished
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2018
  • Distinguished
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2017
  • Distinguished
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2016
  • BV Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2015
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who in American Law -Marquis
  • 2005
View all awards

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (1)
Endorse Louis
Litigation Attorney | Nov 14
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. I have had the opportunity to work with Lou on several matters. Not only is Lou extremely dignified and professional, he is also a highly experienced and skilled attorney who is very comfortable in the courtroom. He is tough when necessary and always seeks to obtain the best result for his clients."
General practice Attorney | Jun 01
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse Mr. Pilato as an exemplary attorney and a true professional. I had the opportunity to work with him on a range of difficult cases, both civil and criminal, and to learn from his expertise. I regard him as thoughtful, experienced, and ethical. In fact, very few other lawyers can deliver such quality results. Having worked with hundreds of other lawyers, Louis is surely one of the best. For all of these reasons and more, you want Louis Pilato with you in court, confident in your selection of such a worthy advocate."
Contracts and agreements

Avvo Contributions

This attorney hasn't created any legal answers in Q&A or legal guides recently on Avvo.

Rancho Mission Viejo Criminal defense Lawyer Louis Peter Pilato
Louis Peter Pilato
Criminal defense Attorney
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
Licensed for 50 years
Free Consultation