Research & Practice Areas
First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment implications of prevalent gang suppression and policing methods. Actual litigation of those issues in federal courts.
Olu K. Orange is the Director of the USC Dornsife Trial Advocacy Program. The Program consists of three components: the USC Mock Trial Team; the POSC 398, “Trial Advocacy: Theory and Practice” class; and the Pro Bono Program supported by the Jack Harding and Mohammad Usman Chaudhry endowed funds.
Orange also founded and serves as the Director of the USC Dornsife Agents of Change: Civil Rights Advocacy Initiative (“AoC”). Created in 2020, AoC is the first undergraduate civil rights clinic in the nation. Both AoC and the Dornsife Trial Advocacy Program are academic programs within Dornsife’s Office of Experiential and Applied Learning.
In January of 2021, Mr. Orange was one of 17 lawyers (of the 266,000 in California) selected by the Daily Journal, to be honored with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California as a Top Lawyer of the Decade. Mr. Orange was recognized for his decade-defining civil rights work.
Orange has thrice been selected as a recipient of the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award — first in 2015, again in 2017, and yet again in 2021 for his civil rights work. In 2016, Orange was selected as one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 lawyers in California in recognition of his civil rights and entertainment law practices at his firm, Orange Law Offices, P.C. Orange is also consistently selected by Thomson Reuters as a ‘Super Lawyer’ in his firm’s practice areas. Orange began practicing law in California as a Deputy Public Defender in Orange County.
In 2001, Orange co-founded the USC Mock Trial Team and since then has served as its Head Coach. Orange teaches POSC 398, “Trial Advocacy: Theory and Practice.” He also taught POSC 452, “Law & Local Political Activism.” Orange authored the curricula for both courses, POSC 398 & POSC 452.
Since 2006, Orange has been a teaching team member for Harvard Law School’s (HLS) Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop (TAW), a full-credit HLS clinical course. For HLS TAW, Orange has been selected to demonstrate the faculty closing argument, opening statement and cross-examination.
Orange also serves as a National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) faculty member for in-house, and public, trial advocacy and deposition skills programs held for attorneys at various private firms, public organizations and state and federal government law offices nationwide.
In 2020, Orange argued and won a precedent-setting victory in B.B. (Burley) v. County of Los Angeles — a knee-on-neck police death case which established that police officers who intentionally cause harm cannot offset their own liability with their victims’ negligence. California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin H. Liu likened the case to George Floyd without video.
In 2018, Orange secured the precedent setting appellate victory in A.G. v. County of Los Angeles which established that non-biological children have standing in California to sue for the wrongful death of persons who raise them as parents. Orange collaborated on the case with Paul Hastings LLP, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.
In 2017, Orange finalized his federal civil rights class action victory in Rodriguez v. Los Angeles. Rodriguez stopped the enforcement of illegal gang curfews upon several thousand residents of the City of Los Angeles, established a $30 million dollar jobs and education program to redress the harm government officials caused – and has now served as a reference point for similar restorative approaches in other states.
In 2014, Orange briefed, argued and won Chaudhry v. City of Los Angeles in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Chaudhry established precedent for the 63 million Americans in the Ninth Circuit that pre-death pain and suffering damages are recoverable by decedents’ estates when federal civil rights violations cause death — thus ending the practice of making it cheaper for a police officer to kill rather than injure a victim of excessive force.
In 2011, Orange tried and won the first post-9/11 case wherein a police officer who also served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces was found liable for the unlawful shooting death of a Muslim man — Chaudhry v. City of LA.
In 2010, Orange tried and won the will contest case over the Estate of Sammy Davis, Jr.
In 2009, Orange argued and won Millender v. County of Los Angeles, a blended 4th and 2nd Amendment case, before an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Later, in the U.S. Supreme Court on Millender, Orange served as briefing counsel and second chair, and was joined by both the NRA and ACLU as amici curiae against 26 states and the U.S. Solicitor General.
Orange also provides probono representation to Los Angeles area political activists, works as a Panel Attorney with the LA County Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program, and is a member of the National Police Accountability Project.
Orange is a native of Detroit, Michigan who found his way to Los Angeles by way of the District of Columbia. He attended civil rights mecca Howard University in Washington D.C. for both his undergraduate and law degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Communication and a Juris Doctorate, respectively.
At Howard, Orange earned advocacy honors including the Huver I. Brown Medal for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, the Earl Davis Award for Excellence in Public Interest Advocacy and two consecutive Lewis F. Powell Medals for Excellence in Trial Advocacy from the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) and the American Bar Association (ABA).
- J.D. Law, Howard University School of Law, 5/1998
- B.A. Legal Communication, Howard University, 5/1995
- National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Faculty, 2007
- Harvard Law School, Faculty Teaching Team, Winter TAW (clinical), 2006
- Enforcing the Right to Confront and Cross Examine in Immigration Cases , American Bar Association’s South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR)Lecture/Seminar, Jack Harding & Usman Chaudhry Pro Bono Endowments, Invited, Harlingen, TX, 08/2018
- Handling Gang Evidence in Immigration Cases , American Bar Association’s South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR)Talk/Oral Presentation, Jack Harding & Usman Chaudhry Pro Bono Endowments, Invited, Harlingen, TX, 05/2018
- Tipping the Scales with Effective Trial Techniques: Direct and Cross Examination of Expert Witnesses , California Association for Parent-Child AdvocacyLecture/Seminar, Invited, Los Angeles, CA, Fall 2012
- Using Creative Problem Solving Negotiations to Prepare for Trial (and Lighten your Load) , National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) Centennial ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Washington, D.C., Fall 2011
- Closing Arguments , National Disability Rights Network: Annual ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Los Angeles, CA, Fall 2010
- The Time for Pure Advocacy: Closing Argument, Inaugural Closing Argument Presentation for NITA Studio 71, Boulder, CO, 2012-2013
- 2021 Top Lawyer of the Decade – Selected by the editorial staff of the Daily Journal newspaper to be honored with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California as a Top Lawyer of the Decade based upon “decade-defining” civil rights legal work., 2021-2022
- 2015 – 2021 Super Lawyers – Civil Rights/First Amendment: Selected as a Southern California ‘Super Lawyer’ by Thomson Reuters in the Civil Rights and First Amendment category, 2020-2021
- 2021 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award in the Civil Rights category, as featured in California Lawyer magazine, 2020-2021
- 2018 National Lawyers Guild Annual Award for Excellence in Civil Rights Advocacy, 2018-2019
- 2017 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award in the Civil Rights category, as featured in California Lawyer magazine, 2017-2018
- 2016 Daily Journal Top 100: Selected by the Editorial Board of the California Daily Journal legal newspaper as one of the Top 100 lawyers in California in the Civil Rights and Entertainment Law categories, 2016-2017
- 2015 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award in the Civil Rights category, as featured in California Lawyer magazine, 2015-2016
- 2014 National Trial Lawyers Top 100: Selected by the National Trial Lawyers to the “Top 100”, 2014-2015
- 2013 Super Lawyers – Civil Rights/First Amendment: Selected as a Southern California ‘Super Lawyer’ by Thomson Reuters in the Civil Rights and First Amendment category, 2013-2014
- 2013 Top Lawyers In California: Selected by American Lawyer Media to “Top Lawyers In California”, 2013-2014
- CET USC-Mellon Awards for Excellence in Mentoring: Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Students, Spring 2007
- CET USC-Mellon Certificates of Recognition for Excellence in Mentoring: Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Students, Spring 2005