Bill Paparian has over 30 years experience in criminal defense. He is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program providing complete legal defense services through the trial level for indigent criminal defendants. Other memberships include Criminal Law Section of the Pasadena Bar Association; Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of California; Criminal Courts Bar Association; National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter.
In the first post 9/11 civil rights case involving FBI misconduct, Paparian successfully represented environmentalist and anti-war activist Josh Connole who had been wrongfully accused of acts of domestic terrorism. The U.S. government issued an apology and paid a large financial settlement.
on Bill Paparian
"As a young attorney, he helped gain a medical furlough for Gourgen Yanikian, an Armenian immigrant convicted in the 1973 assassination of two Turkish diplomats, and defended Harry M. Sassounian, a Pasadena man found guilty in the fatal 1982 shooting of a Turkish consul
As an Armenian-American, Paparian has also spoken out about the Armenian Genocide. In April 1996, he was the keynote speaker at a ceremony attended by Elizabeth Dole and 7,000 others, remembering the genocide; the ceremony was held at the Armenian Martyrs Monument in Montebello, California."
Paparian is the former Mayor of Pasadena. His service as the Mayor of Pasadena in support of the military and veterans was recognized by the Secretary of the Navy who awarded Paparian the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. The citation reads in part: "Mayor Paparian's leadership, professionalism, and selfless dedication throughout reflected great credit upon himself, the city of Pasadena, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
During Paparian’s 12 years of service as an elected public official from 1987 to 1999 he was well known for his crusade to bring a “Living Wage” ordinance to Pasadena, his active involvement on behalf of affirmative action and against bigotry and hate crimes, and his strong commitment to seeing diversity as a strength and asset.
Bill Paparian is a native Californian, and was educated in public schools. He received his B.A. degree from Cal State Northridge and following his Vietnam era military service in the Marine Corps attended Southwestern University School of Law on the G.I. Bill where he received his Juris Doctor Degree. He is married and the father of three sons.
Excerpts from an interview with Bill Paparian
What is your opinion regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?
It's highly important and I encourage it.
Are you willing to review documents prepared by clients?
Yes, in fact I encourage my clients to assemble all of the documents pertaining to their case and ask them to prepare a narrative summary of the facts of their case to assist me.
Are you willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?
It's never a good idea to attempt to stand alone when accused of a crime. And for that reason I am not willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves.
Why did you decide to be a lawyer?
While on active duty in the Marine Corps in the early 1970s. I was asked to assist an African-American fellow Marine who had been attacked by a cell of the KKK at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. I realized then how much I enjoyed making the "system" work for those that it doesn't usually work for. That's why I decided to become a lawyer.
What work experience and education helps you be a better lawyer?
My over 30 years of experience as a Criminal Defense Attorney, my 12 years of public services as an elected official, and my military services in the Marine Corps, have all tempered and seasoned me to be an effective advocate for my clients.
Why did you decide on your primary area of practice?
While I was in law school, criminal law and criminal procedure were the courses that I enjoyed the most.
What do you like best about your career?
Being able to help people who are confronted with an accusation of criminal wrongdoing.
Tell us about your law firm:
I am a solo practitioner which enables me to give personal attention to my clients.
What are your strengths and style?
I am very sensitive to my client's needs and concerns. I am able to interact on a professional basis with court staff judges and other attorneys in an effective manner for my clients.