Leo Manalo

Leonard (“Leo”) Manalo is a Los Angeles-based attorney who defends clients accused of California and federal crimes. His practice covers everything from asset forfeiture to DUI to drug crimes.

A graduate of Loyola Law School, Mr. Manalo also holds a degree in economics from San Francisco State University. With his ability to understand complicated financial evidence, he particularly enjoys helping clients get back assets seized by the government.

Mr. Manalo began his career with the San Diego County public defender’s office, where he helped investigate a wide variety of crimes. While there, he discovered that even innocent people aren't always treated fairly by the system.

As a case in point, he remembers a client accused of possessing a large quantity of marijuana for sale. The facts looked bad for the client. A small-town police chief had heard him negotiating to sell 10 pounds of marijuana, which was then discovered in the trunk of his car. A conviction could have earned the client a three-year prison sentence.

The judge did not want to let the client introduce evidence that the pot was for a legitimate medical marijuana collective. Thanks in large part to Mr. Mano's diligence, however, the medical marijuana defense was allowed. The client was acquitted of the charges.

“That case taught me the importance of telling a client's story in a way that's meaningful to prosecutors and judges,” Mr. Manlo says. “I help clients speak a language that can be understood by the system.”

Mr. Manlo was born in the Philippines and understands spoken Tagalog. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking and rock climbing with his younger brother. But he emphasizes that his clients always come first.

“Climbing several hundred feet up a rock face is nothing compared to facing the criminal justice system alone,” Mr. Manalo says. “I am there for my clients every step of the way – from our very first meeting until the final disposition of the case.”


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