Our Firm

The Law Offices of Hanlon & Rief is committed to the cause of social and criminal justice. Our attorneys and staff work closely with our clients to provide them the best possible defense and to protect their rights. Learn more about the talented members of our firm below.

  • Stuart Hanlon, Attorney


    Stuart Hanlon is a well known criminal defense lawyer who practices out of San Francisco, California. Stuart attended college at Columbia University in New York City from 1966 to 1970. At Columbia, he became involved with the radical politics of the 1960's, which left their mark on all aspects of his life, including his decision to practice criminal defense. Stuart graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1975.

    Stuart has represented many well known criminal defendants. These include his 25 year fight for justice for Elmer Geronimo Pratt; his representation of Symbionese Liberation Army members William and Emily Harris and Russell Little; his representation of Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee, whose story led to the movie True Believer.

    Stuart is well known for his representation of unpopular defendants and his commitment to the cause of social and criminal justice. In 1997, he was awarded the California Lawyer of the Year Award by California Lawyer Magazine. Also, in 1998, he received the National Lawyers Guild Award at their annual testimonial dinner in San Francisco, California.

    Stuart has done well over 150 trials and handled thousands of cases, from misdemeanors to murder trials , some highly publicized and many for persons who are unknown but simply need help. He is highly respected by his peers, prosecutors, Judges, and law enforcement.

  • Sara Rief, Attorney


    Sara Rief has devoted her entire legal career to the practice of criminal law. Sara graduated with honors from the University of Pacific in 1999. She received an academic scholarship to attend Golden Gate University Law School. During law school, Sara received several academic awards and was an appellate Advocacy Semi-Finalist. She also receive the Faculty Award from the University of San Francisco Summer Trial Advocacy Program.

    During her third year in law school, Sara participated in the Criminal Justice Clinic and interned at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. It was this experience that led to her decision to become a criminal defense practitioner. She graduated and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2003.

    Sara began working as a full-time associate at the Law Offices of Stuart Hanlon in 2004. In January 2009, she became a partner of the Law Offices of Hanlon & Rief. Prior to working for Stuart Hanlon, Sara worked as an associate attorney on Federal RICO cases.

    Sara plays a significant role in the legal research and writing at Hanlon & Rief. Sara has crafted several significant motions, including the granting of a stay of trial by the California Supreme Court on a writ involving change of venue in the Renato Hughes case.



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Law Offices of Hanlon & Rief
179 11th Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA

Tel 415-864-5600
Fax 415-865-0376