Richard Tarlow – Vietnam Veteran, Lawyer, and Author

by | Sep 24, 2018 | Cover Story

The Marines are an elite fighting force, always the first to be called to battle. In basic training (or as others might know it, boot camp) a young marine learns how to survive in a hostile combat environment. “Semper Fidelis”, is more than the Marine Corps motto, it is the embodiment of commitment to one another on the battlefield and to the Corps for life. Vietnam veteran, renowned corporate and criminal attorney, and now author Richard Tarlow has lived these values his entire life. During his time in the South China Sea, Richard and his crew underwent a rigorous 1,500 operations per day. He experienced things civilians can only imagine from downed aircraft to caring for the sick, wounded, and deceased. From his years of experience, quick thinking, and leadership qualities he was decorated for valor in combat. “It was a life changing experience for me, teaching me about life and why we are here.”
When he returned to the States he had a few months left on his tour, during which he played on the Marine Corps Baseball team. The team was made up of former professionals. “We played all the top college teams and some of the Pro teams, including California Angels during their Spring Training.” He was at the top of his game and thought he might want to go back to playing baseball professionally, but figured “25 is too old to be starting a professional career,” as a catcher. Richard went back to finish up his degree at Cal State Northridge and ultimately moved on to McGeorge Law school, University of the Pacific. He would eventually go back home because like most students the pressures of school can be very daunting. “McGeorge was a bar mill, what I mean by that is they strive to have the highest Bar pass rate in the country and they did, higher than UC Berkley, higher than UCLA.” After a little time, Richard mustered up the courage and finished law school getting his degree from Southwestern, Tom Bradley Law School. At the latter part of law school, Richard began working for a small firm named Rosen, Rosen and Leavitt as a certified law clerk, there he was everybody’s assistant, meaning he would do any and everything. Soon after, he was on his first case where he was going against a partner in one of the bigger law firms in the Los Angeles area at the time. “Going in I just made up my mind, I am going to out work this guy and he’s not going to know what hit him.” Richard won this case resulting in one of the 50 biggest verdicts in the County of Los Angeles that year. Richard went on to take the Bar exam. “I told myself, ‘one time’ meaning I was taking the BAR only one time and pass and that’s exactly what I did.”
For the next four years, Richard worked for the small law firm honing his craft as a great lawyer, doing most of their litigation, preparation for trials, depositions, appeals and so forth. At the end of the four years he wanted to branch out on his own. “I told them (Rosen, Rosen and Leavitt) I would like to go out on my own and they said, ‘with our blessing’.” Ralph Rosen, the firm’s founder, “who was like a father to me” took Richard aside one day and marched over to United California Bank (now Wells Fargo) to speak with the bank manager. Ralph told his friend, “Richard, who works for us, wants to go out on his own and he is going to need some furniture and seed money and he would like to borrow $25,000.” Richard went on to his first office in Century City where he catapulted his career as a great lawyer landing him cases like that of Jesse James Hollywood and working with Fortune 500 businesses. It was there, in a court case, he met his wife of 39 years.
Richard Tarlow has since retired and has kept mementos from his years as a Marine and practicing attorney that he keeps in his office. He and his wife, a practicing Nurse Practitioner at USC Medical Center, are enjoying the quiet life right here in the Santa Clarita Valley and spend time with their adult children and now grandchild. Recently, Richard authored his first novel that is based on a true story, Murder And The Marine, which tells the story of a veteran Marine, an attorney, and his struggle to help a long-time friend’s son who is facing the death penalty.

photo by Renee Bowen Photography