J.D., University of Southern California
School of Law
B.S., Georgetown University
Stephen G. Larson is a partner at Arent Fox in Los Angeles, specializing in litigation involving complex business disputes, antitrust actions, civil rights, intellectual property rights, and criminal and regulatory defense. In addition, he provides alternative dispute resolution services, including mediation and arbitration.
Prior to joining Arent Fox, Judge Larson was a federal jurist, serving as both a U.S. Magistrate Judge and a U.S. District Judge in the Central District of California. Following his appointment as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in 2000, Judge Larson was nominated by President Bush, with the support of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to be a U.S. District Judge in December, 2005; he was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in March, 2006, after the American Bar Association awarded him a “Well Qualified” rating, its highest.
As a federal judge, Judge Larson has presided over some of most complex and ground-breaking civil and criminal litigation in the last decade, including Mattel v. MGA Entertainment, et al., CV 04-9049-SGL, the highly-publicized, billion-dollar copyright and racketeering action by toymaker Mattel against MGA Entertainment, manufacturer of “Bratz” dolls. In United States v. Nazario, ED CR 07-127-SGL, Judge Larson oversaw the trial of a former Marine sergeant charged with and ultimately acquitted of manslaughter for his role in four fatal shootings during the Battle of Falujah in Iraq, the first time a civilian court was called upon to hear a trial about a service member in combat pursuant to the Military Extraterritoriality Act of 2000 (MEJA), and in United States v. Harvey Duro, et al., ED CV 07-1309-SGL, he blocked the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decade long effort to close down and expel a major migrant worker camp on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation in the Coachella Valley, home to thousands of migrant farm workers, and turned operation of the settlement, known as Duroville, over to a court-appointed receiver. He also negotiated, approved, and supervised the consent decree entered into between the County of San Bernardino in John Doe v. County of San Bernardino, ED CV 02-962-SGL, which resulted in systemic reform of educational and therapeutic services for disabled youths within the county juvenile hall system.
Judge Larson was appointed on seven different occasions by Chief Ninth Circuit Judges Mary Murphy Schroeder and Alex Kozinski to sit by designation on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, participating in 37 decisions (including 11 published opinions, of which he authored five).
Judge Larson’s judicial service was preceded by his work as a federal prosecutor. In 1991, Attorney General Richard Thornburgh appointed Judge Larson to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, where he was assigned to the criminal division in Los Angeles and served until his appointment to the federal bench in 2000. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Judge Larson served as chief of the organized crime section, and Attorney General Janet Reno awarded him the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Specializing in Russian organized crime, he conducted joint investigations with foreign law enforcement agencies that sent him to Russia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, the Ukraine, and South Korea. Judge Larson tried 24 criminal trials in the Central District of California, and his appellate work before the Ninth Circuit included prosecuting or defending 49 appeals, which included 11 oral arguments.
Prior to his career in government service, Judge Larson was employed as a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP from 1989 to 1991, during which time he was a co-author of The Guide to Acquisition and Management of a U.S. Business, Eurostudy Publishing Co. Ltd. (1991).
Judge Larson is the Distinguished Jurist in Residence and a member of the Board of Visitors at the University of La Verne College of Law, where he has taught classes on federal courts, conflicts of law, civil rights, international law, criminal procedure, and professional responsibility since 2002. Judge Larson was appointed by founding Dean Erwin Chemerinsky to serve on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the newly chartered law school at the University of California at Irvine.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Judge Larson in December, 2007, as a founding member of the Executive Board of the Department of State’s bi-partisan Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, an appointment extended by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Judge Larson is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is a frequent lecturer on law and international affairs.
Judge Larson is active in various civic and legal associations, including the Judge Paul R. Michel Intellectual Property American Inn of Court (member of Advisory Board, President-elect, and Master), the Leo A. Deegan American Inn of Court (past president and judicial master), and local Federal Bar Association chapters, including past president and past board member of the Inland Empire chapter, and present board member of the Los Angeles Chapter. The Inland Empire chapter awarded Judge Larson their Erwin Chemerinsky Defender of the Constitution Award in 2009. Judge Larson is also a member of the Board of Directors of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and the Disability Rights Legal Center.
Judge Larson graduated from the University of Southern California Law School in 1989, where he was a member of the Southern California Law Review, and from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1986.