Timothy B. Rien

Of Counsel, Rien, Adams & Cox, LLP
Location: Livermore, California
Phone: 925-449-0666
Fax: 925-449-3257
Email: E-mail me

Since being established in 1982, Rien, Adams & Cox, LLP has earned the highest reputation for technical legal competence, honesty, integrity and courtesy in the delivery of professional legal representation to those accused of crime.

In 1991, the Alameda Newspaper Group consisting of the Tri-Valley Herald, Oakland Tribune, Argus Courier, San Ramon Valley Herald, San Mateo County Times, Alameda Times Star and Daily Review conducted a survey of East Bay judges, criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors and found that Timothy B. Rien ranked among the six best criminal defense lawyers.

This well-earned reputation in the legal community, coupled with the skillful delivery of legal service and courteous and professional treatment of each client is what has historically distinguished Rien, Adams & Cox, LLP before the criminal courts of this state.

Mr. Rien is certified by the California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization, as a Specialist in Criminal Law . This specialty certification for lawyers is only granted upon demonstrated competence in the specialty field after peer review by judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers, passage of a Specialist’s examination administered by the California State Bar, and verification of rigorous hands-on experience in the specialty field. Furthermore, a Specialist must be re-certified every five years by the California State Bar. This process ensures that the attorney has not only maintained an effective role in the criminal justice system- verified, again, by an impartial peer review- but that minimum standards of continuing legal education have been satisfied as well.

Mr. Rien was certified as a Criminal Law Specialist in 1983 and has been re-certified every five years since.

Mr. Rien began his career in criminal law while serving as a law clerk to Raymond C. Youngquist, a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, in Los Angeles County, California. Mr. Rien’s early work included writing motions, writs and appeals in a variety of cases that have shaped California law, including murder cases on issues related to diminished capacity, insanity and appeals in the Charles Manson Family cases. He was associated in this work with such fine criminal defense lawyers as Donald Re, Howard Weitzman and Robert Shapiro.

After graduating from law school, Mr. Rien relocated to his hometown of Livermore, California where he worked as an associate attorney in the general practice of law, which included criminal defense, with the prestigious San Francisco, Vallejo, Hayward and Livermore law firm of Varni, Fraser, Hartwell and Van Blois.

In 1978, he was offered a position with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office in Santa Rosa. There, as a Deputy District Attorney, he prosecuted cases ranging from vehicular offenses to rape, robbery and murder and gained a reputation as a formidable trial lawyer and gentleman.

In 1982, Mr. Rien returned to private practice in Livermore as a full-time criminal defense lawyer. He immediately established himself in the legal community by skillfully defending one of the first drunk driving murder cases in the history of California. ( People v. Albright- published opinion) Since then, he has defended many of the highest profile, complex and politically sensitive criminal cases in California. These cases have been chronicled on America’s Most Wanted, A&E The History Channel, Hardcopy, CBS 48 Hours, local and national news networks, the Associated Press, and in local and national print media.

Mr. Rien has been retained to defend death penalty cases, the most complex of all criminal litigation. In addition, he has accepted appointment by trial courts to defend such cases throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley.

In 2016, the firm was acquired by Rien, Adams & Cox, LLP , where Mr. Rien continues to serve in the capacity of Of Counsel.

Rien, Adams & Cox, LLP is committed to defending every type of criminal case, from simple misdemeanor vandalism, assault and driving under the influence cases to the complexities of first-degree death penalty murder and everything in between, each and all with the vigor and tenacity becoming of his reputation for intelligence, competence, compassion and resolve.

Areas of Practice

  • 100% Criminal Defense
  • Murder/Manslaughter
  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Theft or Embezzlement
  • Gun Crimes
  • Kidnapping
  • Drug Offenses

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Criminal Law Specialist, California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization

Bar Admissions

  • California State Bar
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Western State University College of Law, Fullerton, California
    J.D. – 1977
  • University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
    M.F.A. – 2007
    Major: Writing
  • California State University, Stanislaus, California
    B.A. – 1974
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
    Post-graduate work: literature and writing
  • University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop
    Post-graduate work: literature and writing


  • Administration of Criminal Justice, College Level to Police Training Academies and for Law Enforcement Officer’s P.O.S.T.(Police Officer’s Standards Training) Certification

Honors and Awards

  • Named among the Top Six “Best” Criminal Defense Lawyers by San Francisco newspapers, 1991 – Present
  • Consistently named among top rated attorneys in Northern California in SuperLawyers
  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
  • National Trial Lawyers Assoc. – Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell “AV” rated. Highest rating for legal competence and ethics.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Criminal Law Section
  • California State Bar Association, Criminal Law Section
  • Alameda County Bar Association, Court Appointed Attorneys Program (CAAP)
  • Eastern-Alameda County Bar Association
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • California Attorneys For Criminal Justice (CACJ) (Life Member)
  • The California Public Defender’s Association (CPDA)
  • The San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association
  • Criminal Trial Lawyer’s Association of Northern California
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice(CACJ) Board of Governors
  • American Bar Foundation

Past Employment Positions

  • The Law Firm of Varni, Fraser, Hartwell & Van Blois, Livermore, California
  • Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office in Santa Rosa, Deputy District Attorney