Stuart Hanlon, and his team, saved my life from California State Prison. I could have paid much more money to many other good lawyers, but Stuart Hanlon did so much for me that words cannot express.

If you are needing a criminal lawyer, please call me if you are unsure of Stuart Hanlon. Just google Michael Hoffman SF lawyer and you will see why I'm still proud to say, not only did Stuart Hanlon save my life from certain state prison death, in all of our dealings together, I always felt safe inside around Stuart, and he was always a classy gentleman, even when the process was driving me crazy. I know that Stuart Hanlon will hold you the whole time you are trapped in the system, and he will nourish your sense of hope and I promise you he will truly support you as best he can under your particular circumstances.

-M. Hoffman

I have been charged with very serious felony offenses [fraud] having used very poor judgment and made some poor choices, which I truly regret. It has been a very long process - nearly five years now- and it is still not over. It has been a frightening time affecting all aspects of life. I talked to several Attorneys prior to hiring Hanlon and Rief. I feel very fortunate having chosen them to represent me. For the most part Sara Rief has been the attorney representing me and has been skillful, professional and always responsive. Also, she is friendly, compassionate and understanding. I believe that the best outcome possible will be realized out of this very difficult situation. I highly recommend Hanlon and Rief to anyone needing first-rate criminal defense attorneys.


In November 2010, our lives were turned upside down when my husband was falsely accused of the tragic death of our 3 month old son. He was charged with several felonies and faced 25 years to life if convicted. Stu Hanlon's name came up several times from several independent sources as I sought out criminal defense attorneys to represent my husband. After interviewing half a dozen of the Bay Area's highest caliber and high profile attorneys, I finally interviewed Stu. Within the first 10 minutes of meeting him, I knew Stu was the best person to represent us. Don't let his ill-fitting suit, crooked tie, funny lisp and unassuming demeanor fool you. Stu's passion, knowledge and experience in criminal law are unparalleled. At the arraignment, because of his expertise, he was able to get our bail reduced from $2,000,000 to $750,000. Unfortunately, our case lingered in the criminal system for over two years. During that time, Stu always made himself available to us, day or night, weekday or weekend. He truly dedicated himself to us by not taking on any new major cases after we retained him and we always felt he had our best interests at heart. We saw firsthand, though various meetings and countless court hearings that he had the respect of his peers, judges, public defenders, prosecutors and law enforcement. Mounting a criminal defense is like preparing for war and Stu was our insightful, tenacious and strategic General. Stu deliberately and methodically thought out every scenario to make our defense bulletproof. As a result, Stu was able to get the prosecution to drop our case BEFORE the pretrial. To get a felony charge dropped before a pretrial is an almost unheard of a feat, accomplished only by the most dedicated and savvy of criminal attorneys. I would be remiss if I did not mention Stu's team. We primarily interfaced with Stu, but his partner Sara Rief supported us with other aspects of our case. She knew the fine details of our case and would go to our hearings on the rare occasion that Stu was not able to be there. Dolores and Karina, Stu's administrative staff, were incredibly responsive, professional and tactful. They seamlessly complimented the service we got from Stu. The entire Hanlon Rief team worked like a very well run army battling for us and we cannot recommend them highly enough. Should you ever need the counsel of a criminal defense attorney, you could not be in better hands with Stu Hanlon.

-Jennie Aspelin, wife of Kristian Aspelin

I've been using the services of Hanlon & Rief since 2012. Sara Rief handled my original case with expertise and a thorough attention to detail. She kept me well informed throughout the entire process and was always responsive to my questions and concerns no matter the context.

Despite the stressful nature of legal problems, Sara is a stabilizing presence. She is highly knowledgeable in her field and there was never a question of trust in her dedication and strategic abilities. Never once did I feel that I wasn't being represented to the best of her abilities nor did I ever feel marginalized despite the obvious heavy workload pouring into their busy offices. Given the overwhelming nature of certain legal situations I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a core legal team that you can trust is working skillfully on your behalf. I highly recommend Sara Rief and her firm.


Stuart Hanlon and his team are the best attorneys I have ever found. Stuart's hard work, determination, patience, relationships and reputation achieved the best outcome possible for me and my family. He has totally changed my life for the better. Words are not enough to express my gratitude to Stuart and his team of professionals. Thank you again Stuart for all your help and especially for being such a great friend!

If you are looking for the absolute best criminal defense, hire Stuart Hanlon. It may be one of the most important decisions you ever make.

-D. Davis

In 1998 I met Stuart when I was 18yrs old he dedicated 5 years to my case I knew from the moment I met him he would save my life the system felt I deserved 50 yrs to life Mr. Hanlon never gave up on me together we fought and I was home in 6 years. In 2005 I was released and he is still there whenever I need fatherly advice I am a successful business man who owns his own home and will forever be grateful and you will be to if you decide to hire Stuart to defend you. Mr. Hanlon proves to be the best always being there for his clients day and night, dedicated to receiving the best decision for his clients which is the only decision he will fight for.

Professional, experienced, dedicated, thorough, open minded, honest and direct everything needed to win your Case.

-G. Davis

I have coordinated litigation and business attorneys for my company for over 30 years. As a result, I've been able to observe how hundreds of attorneys deal with their clients and conduct themselves. Sara Rief is one of the best attorneys I have had the pleasure to work with. She is professional, attentive to client needs, looks for affective ways to save clients' resources and yet accomplishes her clients' goals in an efficient and timely manner, as well as keeping her clients fully informed. Looking for an attorney? ...Start with the best, start with Sara.

-D. McManus (C.E.O.)

As a poet, I'm constantly listening to how people use language -- it must be clear and direct, but also have a depth of meaning. You'll hear a language of connection when Stuart talks, very unlike the legal jargon you get from most lawyers. The simple poetry of his speech is built on a deep understanding of law in human terms, and his ability to communicate directly with everyone from clients to judge and jury, from other lawyers to the police, is truly an art. As far as I'm concerned, Stuart Hanlon is the best. Period.

-Bob Holman, poet and filmmaker