About me …


… and the law: I am a lawyer, admitted to practice in the State of California. I attended law school at night while working full time and graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1975 (before the school moved to its fancy digs in Malibu). Law school highlights:

  1. Graduated cum laude, 3rd in my class, and on the Dean’s Honor Roll.
  2. Earned five American Jurisprudence awards, standing first in my class in the subjects of torts, contracts, constitutional law, conflict of laws and labor law.
  3. President of the Pepperdine Student Bar Association, Academic Year 1973-74.
  4. Received the Vincent J. Dalsimer Award as the Top Advocate of the 1975 Pepperdine Moot Court Competition and participated in the 1975 Roger J. Traynor State Moot Court Competition.

I was a deputy district attorney in Orange County, California, for almost ten years. My experience as a DDA included:

  1. Municipal Court trial attorney and supervising attorney of multiple offender drunk driving programs.
  2. Juvenile branch trial attorney and assistant head of court.
  3. Superior Court felony panel trial attorney.
  4. Career Criminal Prosecution Unit trial attorney.
  5. Special Prosecutions Unit trial attorney, supervising attorney of county-wide Narcotics Task Force, and training deputy, responsible for training new DDA’s and for the ongoing training and legal education of all DDA’s and local law enforcement officers.
  6. For the last five years in the office, I was a senior trial attorney (DDA Grade IV).
  7. As a DDA, I tried more than 100 cases to jury verdict and prepared several hundred trial and appellate briefs.

I left the DA’s office in 1985 to move my family to Marin County, north of San Francisco. There, I established a private practice, specializing in criminal defense and appeals, personal injury law, general civil litigation and corporate law. During this time my experience has included:

  1. Member of the First District Appellate Project indigent criminal appeal panel, for which I prepared approximately 40 District Court of Appeal briefs.
  2. As criminal defense counsel or plaintiff’s personal injury counsel, I tried 30 more cases to jury verdict.
  3. For 10 years, I have served as general counsel for several private companies and practiced primarily corporate law.
  4. I also have four years of experience teaching Legal Writing & Research at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
  5. In 2008, I became associated with the criminal defense law firm Summit Defense, Northern California’s #1 Criminal Defense Attorneys.  I am the firm’s senior trial attorney and carry a small caseload of serious felonies which are likely to have to be tried, including murder, rape, robbery, child molestation, drug offenses and major fraud cases (ponzi schemes and mortgage & 1031 exchange fraud).

… and my personal background: I was born in Brooklyn and raised primarily in Lindenhurst, New York, on the south shore of Long Island. I graduated from Lindenhurst High School in 1963 and the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, in 1967. I graduated 72nd in a class of 583 and received the Colonial Daughters of the Seventeenth Century Award as Honor Graduate (1st in class), Department of English.

Upon graduation from West Point, I accepted an interservice commission in the U.S. Navy and served as a Naval Public Affairs officer until 1971. While in the Navy, I spent a year in Vietnam, a year in Charleston, S.C., and two years in Long Beach, CA. During my last assignment, I was a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Sea Power Presentation Team, for which I was the second recipient of the Centurion Award for having made more than 100 public speaking appearances to service clubs, civic organizations and schools, primarily on the subject of the Russian Navy (the first was my father, Master Chief Gunner’s Mate Lawrence J. Reilly, Sr., US Navy (Ret)). I resigned my regular Navy commission in 1971 at the rank of Lieutenant.

… and my family: I am a widower, having been married to Sandra Kay Douglas Reilly for just 3 days shy of 32 years. Sandy died of breast cancer on November 1, 1999. We had four children:

* Douglas Lawrence Reilly, 8-26-70. Graduate, University of California, Berkeley CA, 1993, and Graduate, cum laude, University of San Francisco Law School, 1996. Director of Development for Lucas Film at The Presidio, San Francisco, CA.  He lives in San Rafael with his significant other, Rose Estrada.

* Matthew S. Reilly, 6-10-74. Graduate, California Culinary Academy, San Francisco, CA, 1996. Gourmet pastry chef, Schubert’s Bakery, San Francisco, CA.

* Larisa Joy Reilly Thomas, 5-17-77. Graduate, cum laude, New York University, 1999, and masters degree, Dominican University, San Rafael, CA, 2001.   Director of Reservations, Hornblower Cruises, San Francisco, CA.  She lives in Novato with her husband, Jeff Thomas.

* Sean Thomas Reilly, 5-14-79. Former Sergeant, United States Army, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Korea.  He now lives in Texas with his wife Tabitha Reilly and my two grandchildren, Kohl SJ Reilly, 7-27-05, and Cheyenne TK Reilly, 8-31-07.

… and my fiancee, Candy: I am now engaged to Cannessa Deltery Anne Sayes Davis. She is the sister of my West Point classmate Thomas H. Sayes III and was my college sweetheart. We reconnected in 2006 via email and now live together in Novato, CA.

Candy & Jim

… on politics: I am a libertarian, the third point of the triangle formed by the boundaries of political thought, the other two points of which are liberal and conservative, none of which should be confused with democrats or republicans.


… on the military & patriotism: I am a Navy brat (Dad retired after 24 years of service), West Point graduate & former US Navy lieutenant and third generation combat veteran (my youngest son Sean is a fourth generation combat vet). I unabashedly fly the American flag with pride. Candy’s son LCDR Jason Davis is a 1994 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and her niece Morgan Sayes is a 2010 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. We are a proud military family.

… and hobbies/leisure activities: I am a lifetime runner and avid (albeit not very good) golfer. I enjoy movies, reading, photography and playing poker. I am Life Member #38 of the Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens Collectors Club and actively collect casino chips & tokens, gaming memorabilia and military challenge coins. I also play Strat-o-Matic computer strategy football and am a member of the OOPS Computer Football League.

Through #1 son’s affiliation with the football team as a student manager, most of our family has become fans of the California Golden Bears football team. We are season ticket holders and attend many away games as well. Go Bears!

And of course I remain a fan of Army football, as well — Go Army! Beat Navy!

10 thoughts on “About me …

  1. Thanks for joining the conversation here, Rob. I will answer your question in a new post on my main page.

    Jim Reilly

  2. Jim:
    Just wanted to say thank you for providing such great advise regarding my pet care situation on justanswer.com. I was so greatful for your advise that I googled you and found this website. Your fiance Candy is BEAUTIFUL! She has a pretty face. I am so glad to see you happy and in love again. God Bless you and thank you for helping me at justanswer.com. Merry Christmas!

  3. I sold a boat on Ebay and agreed to install a transducer for $250. We went to West Marine and, using my Port Supply discount, bought the item to be installed as well as some other items. His card. He was in San Francisco and my boat was in San Diego where the West Marine is. I went there to get 5200 to seal the transducer and the lady said it was all there. She said the duce was 12 degrees which I didn’t think would work. I told her I was going to wait on the 5200 in case that was the wrong one. She then told me we’d probably need a stand for the radar dome. I took the Raymarine Dome and Radar to see if that was the case so we could order the stand at the same time we ordered a new transducer … assuming one or both were needed. I asked if she wanted to mark them off the list and she said it wasn’t neccessary. I put it in my car and got busy packing… I have another boat in Florida. The buyer refused to pay up front and still owed me on the boat. I left while he was still in San Francisco but I called and let him know I didn’t want or need the radar stuff but I still expected all of my money. He filed a theft report and told West Marine he was going to sue them if they didn’t report the stuff as stolen. What will happen?

    • Did the buyer give you permission to use his card? Has he said why he does not want to pay for the boat? Do you know for sure that he filed a theft report and was it for theft of the radar equipment?

  4. Jim, thoroughly enjoyed reading the “About Me” section of the blog. Our class is blessed, not only with our classmates, but also our spouses/significant others and extended family. Hope to see you and Candy and perhaps some your extended family at the mini-reunion in Hawaii. Mike

    • Thanks for your comment here, too, Mike. I agree, our class as a group has been extraordinarily fortunate, both in its composition and for our better halves and progeny! Just went over your concept paper for the 2013 mini-reunion — great idea and you have obviously done a lot of work on it. Not sure at this point if we’d be able to make it, but I have blocked off the entire week on my court schedule, so as to keep it open in case we otherwise can attend.

  5. It has been an extreme pleasure to meet you. I am overwhelmed by the combined military experience of your family and hope you continue to stop in at my site, add, correct or just say Hi.

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