RBGG recently celebrated Of Counsel Thomas Nolan’s 25th anniversary of joining the firm. Tom joined what was then Rosen, Bien & Asaro in December 1993, fresh out of Stanford Law School. Tom’s start date at the firm coincided almost exactly with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 signed by President Clinton, which began the era of mass incarceration that ultimately led to the overcrowding crisis of 2006, and the 2011 groundbreaking decision by the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Plata. During the last 25 years, Tom has been a stalwart and effective advocate for prisoners’ rights. He has been a key member of the Armstrong and Coleman teams, and was one of the first monitors on the ground in both cases. He has toured 30 out of 35 California prisons and scores of jails, interviewing thousands of prisoners.
It was therefore fitting that the firm celebrated Tom’s anniversary with a field trip to the Goldstein Theater in San Francisco to hear the producers of the award-winning podcast Ear Hustle. Ear Hustle is a wildly popular podcast that describes life on the inside of a California prison. The first three seasons concentrated on stories told by San Quentin prisoner Earlonne Woods and others. Mr. Woods’ sentence was commuted, and Season Four will include stories about life after prison, including the transition to parole, an issue that Tom has vigorously pursued.