Joseph Tully: Transforming the Legal Industry with a Strong Sense of Justice

Top 10 Most Influential People in Legal Services, 2023

Tully & Weiss is a California-based criminal defense law firm. It has a nationwide reputation for quality representation and an astronomically high win rate, one that would make most prosecutors both envious and shudder with fear. Joseph Tully and his attorneys often compete – and win – against established, blue chip law firms filled with Ivy League alums for prominent, national “headline” cases. Though, it wasn’t always like that.

Joseph Tully began his legal career as an entry-level deputy public defender in Fresno County, California’s rural agriculture epicenter, a long way from the Bay Area where he grew up and attended law school. After just a short time at the Fresno County Public Defender’s office, he became known for winning tough-to-win cases in jury trial, and for employing creativity coupled with a stevedore’s work ethic and was quickly promoted. But Tully longed to return to his roots in the East Bay. He made the bold move and used his last paycheck from Fresno to cover a new computer and the first month’s rent for office space to open his own practice back in his Bay Area hometown. There, he established his legal practice, Tully & Weiss, and was particularly vocal about the many ills of the criminal justice system.

A dirty little secret within the criminal justice system that Tully has bravely been forthright about throughout his career is that the prosecution team is composed of a monolithic political triumvirate composed of law enforcement, prosecutors, and all too often, judges. Facing the full might and resources of the state, the average person accused of criminal charges is standing in the path of a lumbering juggernaut intent on crushing those who are unlucky enough to be in its path. Sometimes the motivation is for political gain, and sometimes charges are filed, and cases are pursued because … that’s just how power works.

Tully explains, “Everyone has heard, ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But even more fundamental than that is a quote from Frank Herbert, author of Dune, ‘All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.’”

What this combination means is that, unlike the cliché on TV and in movies of the bad guy getting off on a “technicality,” in the modern-day criminal justice system, an accused is far more likely to be wrongly convicted based on a “technicality,” or have their motion or appeal denied based on a “technicality,” and will face a system that is indifferent to the injustice of their plight.

Tully’s vision in building his firm was to even the odds that defendants face. The goal was to build a law firm of incredibly talented and passionate litigators, put them together with the latest tools and technology to level the field of battle and allow their expertise to prevail. In short, the goal was to ‘build a machine to beat the machine.’ Twenty years in, Tully & Weiss Attorneys at Law has concentrated on criminal law and has worked as a well-oiled unit to defend the lives and freedom of clients accused of serious crimes and has built an extraordinary record of success.

“People are at the heart of the firm, and people drive our legal machine. The State’s prosecution steamroller is driven by politics and power,” Tully explains. “Tully & Weiss uses systems, training, agility, and technology to enhance the teamwork and focus the passion and talent of our attorneys. By leveling the odds, the accused face, actual fairness becomes more obtainable as opposed to just a hallow slogan. ‘Fair’ is all we are pursuing. It is what the Constitution demands.”

How It Started

Joseph Tully describes having always had a strong sense of justice, but criminal defense was the farthest thing from his mind when starting law school. After receiving his undergrad degree in Political Science and a minor in philosophy from UC Davis, Tully ended up in telecommunications working for MCI, a maverick company that was also at the forefront of the then-nascent Internet. He spent his summers in law school interning for telecom companies and telecom related law firms. “It would have been great timing. I was fresh out of law school. I was at the forefront of technology, and I was poised to go into a corporate law world that would have been lucrative,” Tully says. However, that was not meant to be and, when personal circumstances moved Tully from the tech-centric Bay Area to Fresno’s central valley, telecom’s loss became criminal justice’s gain. There being no tech legal jobs in Fresno in 1999 when Tully passed the bar, fate plunged him into the proverbial river of fire at the Fresno County Public Defender’s office.

Tully became enamored with fighting for justice on behalf of the underdog. This battle for justice suited him. Where the typical track for most starting deputy public defenders across the state of California takes them two to three and even up to five years to get to the felony trial team, thanks to his passion, drive for justice, and unrelenting will to work as long as it takes, Tully was promoted to the felony trial team within mere months and was winning felony cases against seasoned veterans in the district attorney’s office.

“In the public defender’s office in Fresno, I quickly realized that having my dreams of a well-paying corporate job dashed was only the beginning. Public defenders, like most of our clients, start with their backs against the wall. The State has the budget, manpower, and political currency to convict whomever it targets of whatever it wants. It is a machine that crushes and grinds the truth to systematically produce convictions, not justice. The Fresno public defender’s office then, as now, was woefully understaffed. I saw people facing charges they shouldn’t be facing, and people pleading to crimes they did not commit. I fell in love with my clients and their grace and fortitude in facing dire circumstances. In doing so, I fell in love with my trade of criminal defense. What I learned while being a public defender opened my eyes and my life and career goals changed forever. I am incredibly grateful that fate guided me to this noble profession.”

When Tully started his own criminal defense practice in the Bay Area in May 2001, he only had enough savings to fund his operation for one month. He got his first client, a friend of a friend who got a DUI. Next came referrals from other attorneys who were impressed with what they saw, which in turn led to connections to well-known rap stars. Soon, the practice was sustaining itself and Tully was joined by another Fresno County Public Defender alum, Jack Weiss, a fierce and notorious fighter in his own right, the pair formed “Tully & Weiss Attorneys at Law.”

Tully had no experience with law firms, let alone in building one. His father was a firefighter and welder, and his mother was a secretary for his hometown school district. “I had to build both my practice and the firm from the ground up. The firm was not modeled after any law firm or anything from any textbook.” Tully’s model was simple; he took on a lot of cases, at a very cheap rate, worked very hard, and got very good results for his clients. He won jury trials with success rates unheard of by most defense attorneys. Steadily, he started gaining more and more acclaim and quickly started to distance his firm from other law firms in the area. Because he was willing to travel and did not charge extra for expenses, he established himself as a presence outside the Bay Area, winning many high profiles jury trials in Northern California counties such as Shasta and Siskiyou, and taking on and winning cases for A-list actors in Los Angeles. “Because I was willing to drive and work wherever as long as it put money in the bank to continue my practice for another month, I was able to establish a presence beyond just my local office in Martinez, which is a small town in the East Bay, close to Oakland and Berkeley.” Tully adds, “For two decades, I dedicated myself into trying to get the best results I could for my clients while honoring the nobleness and humility of my profession. I would see my friends posting vacation photos on Facebook and their children getting bigger as they got older. Meanwhile, I was spending birthdays and holidays in jury trial and working until two or three in the morning at the office writing motions. I am constantly challenging myself to develop greater skill because, when you have the prosecution and judge essentially teaming up against you in a no-holds-barred battle, you either get better or you get crushed.”

The Drive

“That which has been your greatest achievement is now the minimum acceptable standard…

That which is now the impossibly high mark must become the common practice…

Only that which is inconceivable is true excellence.”

“I typed that into my computer within the first week of starting my own firm,” Tully says speaking of the firm’s now credo. “I set an incredibly high mark. I demand a lot from myself. We’re in a business where the margin of error on our side of the fence is razor thin. Most of the time, one chance is all you get, and everything depends on delivering in that moment. All of my employees have this credo in their office, next to their workstations,” Tully says.

As a business, one might say that Tully’s infatuation with efficiency is an integral part of the firm’s DNA. “Cleanliness isn’t godliness,” the employees can be heard reminding each other, “efficiency is.” Harkening back to California’s past reputation as being innovative and cutting-edge, Tully & Weiss has what one might call a “horizontal” hierarchy within the office where efficiency is fostered by openness and transparency. Whereas a company working off a cloud is now common, Tully & Weiss’ cloud-based file structure dates back over a decade and its “horizontal” hierarchy means that all employees have complete access to all case files, notes, and data. If a client calls and the associate handling the case is in court or otherwise unavailable, any other employee can access and retrieve any information needed to update the client. All workstations are standardized to the point of being fungible; any employee can sit down at any workstation or any piece of office equipment and instantly start working. Salary levels are based on experience level and there is no disparity between employees; because there is no push to maximize profits for ‘the partners,’ resources are used to make life better for all employees. “We would never have an issue like gender disparity. Even now that we have shifted to hourly billing, billing is still not our focus. Our goal is to provide the best results we can for our clients, not to drain their trust account. There are no incentives for employees based on billing; as we grow and experience higher levels of success, that will be shared amongst the employees in the office as a team. Everyone has their part, and everyone will rise together as the firm rises.” Total transparency and mutual accountability among the staff seem to be one of the formulas that has propelled Tully & Weiss as a criminal defense firm to levels previously unknown within an industry typically populated by solo practitioners and loose partnerships that seek to keep overhead down and provide for a cushier lifestyle by staying put inside their local, geographical area.

Tully set out to do something which heretofore had not been done in this industry – he sought to standardize his unique and innovative approach to criminal defense. “I had a vision of Tully & Weiss being a firm that, no matter what location you went to, and no matter what attorney you interacted with, you would get a consistent level of high quality representation,” Tully shares. “I only want to deliver top-of-the-line criminal defense representation. I’ve had a lot of success personally, but I wanted to build a firm with locations statewide that delivered the same level of quality representation and achieved the same level of positive results. Though every case is different and there are an endless number of factors that make each case unique, the challenge was to create a standardized approach to litigation – done in my style of aggressive, but professional, representation using creative approaches that are also based on thorough and meticulous legal work.”

The Machine

Justice is blind. At least that is how the saying goes. In practice, justice is no longer blind. For years, the scales have been gradually tilted in favor of the prosecution. The government “machine” has cultivated questionable forensic technology that is sold as scientific fact to juries, passed laws to make it easier to prosecute, and compliant judge have all too eagerly red-lined the Constitution to favor the prosecution, whose endorsement is essential to their re-election. This kind of “progress” has helped career politicians like prosecutors, judges, and legislators look “tough on crime,” but has not served society or justice.

“Our team is made of people with a strong respect for liberty and justice. I am less impressed with a job applicant’s LSAT score or the pedigree of what law school they graduated from. I look for tenacity, out-of-the-box thinking, and strong personality. Our job offers are not based on grades or connections. I seek out fighters, but who are also careful planners. I like people who have something to prove. I also look for a connection to the arts, people who can bring an artistic insight to the law. I like strong personalities because, rather than feel threatened by them, I welcome independent thinkers who bring their own innovation to the firm.” Tully explains.

West Coast Offense

A team of talented players can achieve things greater than the sum of their individual talents with the right coaching. As an accomplished student-athlete as a young man, Tully appreciated the insights and wisdom of good coaches, and realized their strategies can work in a business and legal setting as well. To standardize the approach to successful litigation, Tully & Weiss developed an ever evolving “playbook” that allows the firm to communicate, adapt, and adjust fluidly to case challenges.

Bill Walsh, legendary head-coach of the 49ers, is one of the inspirations that Tully has drawn from as a role-model for leadership, innovation, and success. Walsh was not a field marshal, but rather a teacher and mentor to his teams. At the firm, Tully uses disciplined processes, a reliance on individual employees, and his conviction that he can make a positive difference to build the staff into a winning team through empowerment and trust. As Coach Walsh once said, “Winners act like winners before they’re winners…The culture precedes positive results. It doesn’t get tacked on as an afterthought on your way to the victory stand. Champions behave like champions before they’re champions; they have a winning standard of performance before they are winners.”

The Tully & Weiss litigation playbook is as innovative as it is effective. You’ll hear attorneys in the office speaking in code about the firm’s proprietary, and well-guarded, strategies. They encourage each other and offer advice using coded phrases such as, “2JYD,” “The Number 50,” “The Holy Trinity,” “Chivalry isn’t dead,” “Sports Right Now,” “Melt the Ice Cubes,” “Eight of Ten,” and “Have the Baseball Bat in Your Hands,” just as you would have expected to hear from Walsh’s now legendary champion football teams. Though, if you ask any of Tully’s protégés-in-training to explain what these phrases mean, they’ll just smile and explain, “It’s our private litigation strategies – it’s just how we practice law.”

Just as Coach Walsh’s methods became an established brand and, in time, were copied by the whole of the NFL, the Tully & Weiss system of criminal defense will no doubt someday be incorporated and widely adopted as well. For now, the rest of the criminal defense field will have to wait for Tully’s techniques to leak via naturally occurring osmosis so they can someday play catch-up.

IPSF = Idiot-Proof, Spoon-Feed

“Judges, prosecutors, and jurors are not idiots, far from it. However, our motto is to make our points as relatable as possible. When your audience is distracted, indifferent, or biased, people will look for easy ‘outs’ to avoid having to acknowledge your point. In court, we have to assume the worst and hold the listeners’ attention and keep them engaged in the cause of justice. If you just idiot-proof something, someone may not accept it. If you just spoon feed something, they may accept it but not understand it. Therefore, you have to both idiot-proof and spoon-feed your message. This technique is especially valuable when a topic is new to someone, like a juror learning about gunshot residue, DNA, or the technical aspects of digital data. We also use it to remind prosecutors and judges that they have a duty to follow the law and that the accused are innocent unless and until proven guilty. While writing an IPSF-style document can initially feel like you’re being condescending, being on the receiving side of it is great. You really feel like, ‘Wow! I really understand what they’re saying here. That writer or speaker was such a good, effective communicator.” The firm applies the “IPSF” approach not only to its outgoing communications, but also internally to communications, filing, and all procedures and processes. When an employee is stressed or has limited time to get something done, an IPSF approach helps them get it done quickly and lessens the opportunity for error.

“CANI,” “Constant and Never-Ending Improvement”

Tully and his firm are always getting better. In addition to “IPSF,” the firm also adopts “CANI,” which stands for “constant and never-ending improvement.” “We are under the gun. Overwhelmingly, we are the underdog every time we walk into a courtroom in front of a judge. If we’re not constantly adapting, changing, and improving, then we’re doing our clients a disservice.”

Tully goes on, “As a firm, we take CANI, and ask ourselves, ‘How can we get even better?’ We embrace the challenge to change, to be more efficient, to be more agile.” While this approach is more common in the tech and business sectors than in law, that it typical of what sets Tully & Weiss apart from their criminal defense peers. Tully drives the point home, “CANI helps us to achieve our results despite the fact that the prosecutorial machine is unfortunately usually given preferential treatment by the people sitting at the bench wearing black robes.”

The Student Must Surpass the Teacher

The CANI philosophy within the firm extends to team member training. Any team member who trains another team member, trains them with the intent that the learner become better than the trainer. “When the teacher trains the student in a manner such that the student eventually becomes better than the teacher, then you are going to achieve generational success that keeps improving,” Tully says. “It takes a shift from a normal business mindset. You have to swallow your pride. I like being good at what I do but I want my employees to be better than me. Only by doing this will the firm eventually get to where we want to go.”

Trust the Team

The world might not know who 49ers quarterback Joe Montana is if it were not for his teammates Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, Roger Craig, Randy Cross, and Ronnie Lott. Similarly, Joseph Tully acknowledges that his teammates are essential for the success of the firm. “I empower the staff to make up their own minds. We discuss, have a dialectical exchange, and do the work as a team, but the lead on a case is entrusted with finding the best solution.” This level of trust involves not letting ego get in the way of what is best for the client.

Tully explains, “I often say to staff working on a problem, ‘You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.’ I hire smart, passionate, hardworking people. I value their brains and what they can contribute. If I sense they can solve a problem just as well without my input as with my input, I don’t hesitate to tell them that and leave them be. That’s what’s most efficient. The goal of training is to empower. If you’re micromanaging, you’re doing something wrong.” Empowering staff to find solutions by being creative and contributing their unique approach, is the cornerstone of Tully’s management technique. “If someone comes up with a great solution, everyone will adopt it going forward.”

Incorporating Art & Creativity

The firm is known not only for its quality of representation, both in courtroom advocacy and motion writing, but also its out-of-the-box thinking. In accordance with that, Tully & Weiss’ hiring practice doesn’t follow the norm. “Give me someone who is hungry. Give me someone with a chip on their shoulder, with something to prove. Give me someone who won’t give up, no matter what the odds and no matter how badly the system tries to annihilate them.” Tully says of his hiring philosophy. “But equally as important,” Tully adds, “I also make sure that my employees have an artistic side. Art means creativity, passion, organization – at least in their own way – and an openness to be inspired.”

This combination seems to work as Tully & Weiss employees are highly coveted amongst other law firms for their talent, intelligence, work ethic, organization, and, above all, results.

Passion and Fulfillment Over Money and Financials

Modernly, private companies have a harder and harder time competing with their public counterparts in both benefits and salaries. Tully & Weiss also finds it hard to compete with the taxpayer supported salaries of the district attorney or public defender’s office. However, Tully & Weiss’ many intangible perks, overall workplace environment, and dedication to personal fulfillment is enough to keep the firm’s employees not only happy, but loyal. “Criminal law isn’t where you go to get rich. There’s not a lot of money or margin in this area of law and that’s not our priority. I’ve been in business for over twenty years. I’ve tried somewhere between 60-70 jury trials. I have a record better than a lot of prosecutors to where even most of the ‘famous’ defense attorneys couldn’t compete by a long shot. Yet, I make less than a starting deputy public defender with no experience. Criminal law is about being personally fulfilled by fighting the good fight, by standing up for the underdog against the power of the state, no matter what the odds. Justice must be balanced, and it must be satisfied. My associates are being groomed to be among the top litigators in their field so they will have marketable skills that will always keep them in demand. However, we love what we do, and we do great work for our clients. Fulfillment shouldn’t be overlooked in prioritizing aspects of your life. We pay bills and we get by to fight another day and, at the end of the day, that’s very rewarding.”

The Hollywood Writing Method

Making successful movies is an enormous production that relies on hundreds of people doing their part at the right time. From the initial movie pitch, through production, to the premiere of the film, many different writers are employed to develop, write, rewrite, polish, and finalize scripts. Since Hollywood studios are investing millions and hundreds of millions into their movies, they want to make sure the script is perfect.

Since defense attorneys face an uphill battle having judges read their motions, let alone fairly consider, or even once-in-a-blue-moon, grant their motions, Tully & Weiss, employs the same meticulous, thorough approach to legal writing as do Hollywood studios. However, where one involves fiction and fantasy, Tully & Weiss’ legal writing is devoutly serious, and they’ve developed a unique writing approach and style.

In looking at some samples of Tully & Weiss’ motions, they are things of beauty. “To even have a chance in court,” Tully reminds, “I feel like our motions have to be perfect. Hence, we instituted a process where no legal writing gets filed until two, three, four, and sometimes five different people have looked it over.” IPSF is a big part of their writing style, as is conciseness and brevity. They manage to be forceful advocates without resorting to personal attacks, their legal analysis takes center stage but woe unto their opposition as the sheer weight of their thoroughness becomes crushing en masse.

An example of the Tully & Weiss writing style can be found in the recent filings in the federal case of United States v. Keith Raniere in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. You may know this case as the “NXIVM” case. Their motion made national headlines in major news outlets due to the Tully & Weiss team meticulously citing reports by top forensic experts to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the FBI planted manufactured child pornography to frame Mr. Raniere in trial. Not only does the firm take the FBI head on, but they digested highly technical findings by the forensic and law enforcement experts, which would have been incomprehensible to a lay reader, and “IPSF’d” them into an damning chronical of the criminal tampering done by as yet unknown government actors.

Attention to detail and meticulousness is an immediately noticeable hallmark of Tully & Weiss’ writing style. “Justice is the result we want from all our cases. It’s a shame that judges routinely ignore, demean, and misconstrue defense motions, but by making our motions as perfect as humanly possible, we can maximize our chances at a judge siding with our legal analysis,” Tully states.

Provide a Quality Service and Bill Reasonably

Tully & Weiss’ focus on justice and providing high-quality representation filters into the firm’s billing practices. While most criminal defense practitioners take a flat rate and then have an incentive to get rid of the case quickly with as little work as possible, Tully & Weiss employs an hourly billing practice, which is usual with a civil firm, but not a criminal defense firm. This allows the firm to focus on providing the best quality representation that a case requires. “Our focus is on serving the client, while at the same time not draining them of resources. We are not vampires. We want to work hard and get quality results, and, in return, we seek reasonable compensation for our services. That is where our mindset is at. If I had someone who had a million dollars to fund their representation and I could get the case to go away with a five-minute phone call, nothing would make me happier than to refund the entire amount of that client’s trust. The downside is that if we feel that someone doesn’t have the resources to fund the type of defense that we think the case will require, then we have to reject the case and will encourage them to go with the public defender or to another attorney whom we think is a good fit and can do a good job on the case. We do a lot of pro bono work, but we have our limits. We don’t want to be in a position where we can’t give it our best due to lack of resources,” Tully says. He continues, “Most law firms have a ‘parasitic’ mindset. They want to suck away someone’s resources and justify the taking with documentation and billing. That’s the exact opposite of how a law firm should be run.”

Taking Care and Giving Back

Despite the demands of a family, running the firm, and defending clients, Joseph Tully finds time to give back. He served as president of the criminal law section for the Contra Costa Bar Association. It was an honor bestowed by his peers, and a vote of confidence in his mission. In the role of chair, Tully was able to promote issues and provide trainings to other attorneys, especially the young and upcoming. He was called to lecture and meet with judges and other divisions to share professional insights and concerns of defense attorneys.

Part of giving back also includes rewarding his team for their hard work. The pursuit of personal and professional improvement is rewarding and motivating for Tully and his team. As a team, they work together to support one another. “It is immensely satisfying to work hard, make your case, vigorously defend your client, and then save their life by earning a ‘not guilty’ verdict,” Tully said.

That said, Tully & Weiss do have a few fun traditions and perks to reward and motivate the staff. While maintaining the fight for justice, Tully is also adamant about ensuring the quality of life for his employees and his community. From Tully’s own words, “Why not use a business to fundamentally help people? We help our clients, and we also help the community through our charitable contribution and activities.” Tully is dedicated to providing his employees with fair compensation which includes only offering full-time positions, full healthcare including dental and vision, 401(k) matching, and a positive workspace. Three weeks’ vacation is standard for starting employees as opposed to the more common two-week vacation among most small business. After seven years, employees get a 60-day sabbatical, in addition to regular vacation and sick time. To top that all off, after taking care of his employees and the firm’s financial obligations, Tully ensures that 10 percent of his firm’s earnings are put back into the community through charity.

“I work to fight the greedy lawyer caricature. Clients need to trust us, and juries need to believe us, when we are fighting for justice. As a firm, we give back personally, as well as professionally,” Tully said. The firm’s Bay Area office is smack dab on Main Street, at a center point for the downtown area. The office is a visible part of the town, and Tully wants people to know who they are and what they do as their neighbors. The firm, through its charitable fund, has helped establish a holiday ice skating rink, donated music and instruments to the high school and junior high school bands, supported student government, and purchased bleachers for the high school track that previously had no place for spectators to sit and cheer. The firm also provided “stimulus” to local gyms and restaurants shuttered by Covid lockdowns by distributing thousands of dollars of gift cards for their customers. “People hurting financially due to the lockdown got a free meal, and restaurants got paid to serve it. People who got out of shape by sitting home during lockdown got to go to their choice of gym, martial arts, dance, etc. for free and the business got a stipend for letting them in. It was a perfect win-win-win,” Tully describes.

Work Hard, Play Hard

While Tully ardently refuses to allow his staff to take arbitrarily government-created days off, he still manages to balance out the stresses that the office naturally deals with by incorporating fun, team-building activities. “If July 4th is on a Saturday, I’m sorry, but you won’t get that Friday off working for me. I call that a ‘crybaby holiday.’” However, when a new, ‘geek chic’ Marvel movie or sci-fi blockbuster debuts, the entire office takes that Friday afternoon off to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and a break from reality via the silver screen. The legal field of work is full of serious drama and real-life stakes, and superhero movies can be a perfect balance.

‘Git Yer Gun’

While Tully & Weiss bases their principles and litigation strategies on higher ideals such as peace, love, and redemption, they still have to defend the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment. Many criminal cases can hinge on an attorney’s practical knowledge of how a gun works. At Tully & Weiss, when an associate wins their first jury trial, meaning “not guilty” on all charges for the accused, the winning associate gets to pick out a firearm of their choice and the firm purchases it. Tully’s goal is to reward a great job, as well as encourage the attorneys to practice and celebrate the rights they defend. Further, the practical knowledge gained from responsible gun ownership can make the difference in establishing a client’s innocence in future gun cases.

The Secret to Life

The firm’s employee manual boldly proclaims to espouse the secret to life. “The secret to life,” the manual states, “is balance.” It goes on, “In telling you that, I’ve told you nothing. You will still need to figure out when to balance work with play, action with planning, and guidance with trust. These are things that will change on a minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and year-by-year basis.” Of course, the biggest aspects to balance in the Tully & Weiss culture is “Mind, Body, and Spirit.” Towards this end, the firm also offers to cover monthly fees for a physical maintenance such as crossfit, yoga, martial arts, or dance.


The Tully & Weiss machine is geared up and combating injustice daily. Tully has expanded from his initial office in the East Bay, to several law offices covering the entire State of California.

Tully’s vision for the firm, and for the future of criminal defense, is to build a standardized approach and consistency in the delivery of legal services. He points to vendor models where a high-end product is consistent across office locations and regions. Tully wants to expand his unique practice techniques, as well as his iconoclastic legal philosophy, to every office they maintain in California. This will ensure that each client receives top-notch representation from the attorneys in the firm. Tully insists this is an idea that has not been done before in criminal law, “We want to set a gold standard where clients, after an honest and upfront assessment of their case, can expect excellence in their legal representation.” Tully goes on, “In the past, and across the legal industry today, iconic, but insular, Johnny Cochran and Robert Kardashian types are the norm. But imagine a firm full of brilliant attorney-warriors who work hard together as a team and are given resources such as standardized tools and automated processes to get the best result possible for their clients, rather than solo practitioners or soulless firms just going through the motions while siphoning their client’s hard-earned money.”

Eventually, as the firm expands statewide, with reproducible results for clients and uniform service across offices, given enough clients, the firm could eventually be a fourth check on the governmental system. What’s the endgame? Not money, not fame or notoriety, or power, just fairness. “We just want the system to be better, to be fair,” Tully concludes.