Greggory M. Marootian, ESQ.


Social justice and humanity are at the core of what I do. My educational background is in Psychology. I briefly started a joint Bachelor’s/Master’s program in Psychology, intending to continue to a Doctorate program. I ultimately received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with honors in 1987 and chose to go to law school. Before attending law school, I studied the Interaction Between Law and Psychology at Harvard under Dr. Ellsworth Fersch. I believe in a human-centered approach to the practice of law. I work pro bono through Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ), other volunteer organizations, and privately, providing no-cost or low-cost representation for marginalized citizens and on issues of social importance. I am fortunate to have the ability, at this stage of my career as a lawyer, to devote more time to pro bono & volunteer work.

Anyone faced with a criminal or quasi-criminal charge is relatively powerless against the resources of the prosecution and the political considerations that often pervade Municipal Courts. I have been a lawyer since 1991; I have represented or come in contact with organized crime and gang members, and hardened criminals, including convicted murderers. I am less afraid of them than I am of the government, of their power to prosecute and destroy. As philosopher and historian, Niccolò Machiavelli said that “princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within society.”

The pro bono cases have been memorable, necessary, and impactful. For example, I represented a defendant who received the services of a Municipal Court public defender; he was disabled and indigent. The court charged my client an excessive amount for the services, which they referred to as an “application fee.” When my client could not pay, the court issued a warrant for his arrest. I was able to have the bench warrant lifted. I asked the court to reduce the fee, but the court denied my request, and I successfully appealed to the County Superior Court, and the “application fee” was eliminated. I represented an indigent defendant who was fined by a Municipal Court in gross excess of the statutory maximum fine. The court would not, despite the clear legal parameters, reduce the fine. I appealed, and the fine was reduced to comport with the statute. I represented a homeless man for years, often for trespassing charges that were routinely dismissed by prosecutors when the facts were known. On one occasion, he was charged with disorderly conduct, and the prosecutor would not dismiss the charge. My client was sitting on a bench at a bus station. A police officer ordered him to leave because he was not a customer. My client got up and told the officer, “this is fuc*ing bull-sh%t.” Following a very interesting and colorful trial, the judge found my client not guilty. Before I left, I walked over to the prosecutor and said in a pleasant and friendly way, “that charge was fuc*ing bull-sh%t.” The back story to the case was that the City wanted to clean up the train station, so the police had marching orders to do what they had to do, including harassing and charging my client with disorderly conduct. I recently successfully tried a case for a mother charged with truancy. The student, her teenage son, has school phobia, the result of his autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The case and trial were an ugly, brutal display of a bureaucracy without humanity, without the depth to understand what was happening to cause the truancy, leaders enthralled with their political power to sadistically charge a poor woman struggling to be a mother to a child with autism and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Our office, I, and my wife and paralegal, Nellie, are passionate about and committed to social justice and giving a voice to the poor and the marginalized. We began the law practice with these core values, doing consumer work for the poor and working poor. We work with a human-centered approach, and while the law practice has evolved, we remain committed to volunteer work for people who cannot afford services and for meaningful causes.

Gregg Marootian, JD, ESQ.
Nellie Nieves-Marootian, BA, CP