How California’s foremost Black-owned law firm Zulu Ali is changing America and the world from the courtroom

BY Ben Ebuka Oji February 12, 2024 8:07 AM EDT
Attorney Whitney Ali and Attorney Zulu Ali - Partners at Zulu Ali & Associates
Attorney Whitney Ali and Attorney Zulu Ali - Partners at Zulu Ali & Associates. Photo Credit: Black PR Wire

Zulu Ali & Associates is the preeminent Black-owned law firm in California. Drawing inspiration from esteemed civil rights lawyers such as Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and Avon Williams, Jr., who utilized the legal system to effect change and safeguard the rights of all individuals, Zulu Ali established the Law Offices of Zulu Ali in 2007. The firm’s primary focus is advocating for individuals accused of crimes, supporting immigrants, championing victims of discrimination, and defending civil rights.

Over time, Ali broadened the scope of his practice to encompass the representation of defendants, victims, and individuals seeking reparations at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The success and widespread recognition of the law firm stems from its long-standing and guiding mantra – taking on the difficult cases, fighting had for the client, and seeking to change unjust laws through judicial reviews.

Ali has built a reputation as a diligent and upstanding lawyer, which he earned over years of tirelessly advocating for clients and taking on cases others wouldn’t or couldn’t handle. He understands the significance of fighting for justice and continues to be an unwavering champion for it.

“We lay it all on the line when defending our clients because it’s too important not to,” Ali said.

In contrast to other firms, Zulu Ali & Associates specializes in tackling exceptionally challenging cases and issues, aiming to effect legal change through the courts when confronted with unjust laws. Despite the potential for judicial scrutiny and criticism, the firm remains dedicated to challenging the law. Whether handling routine or highly complex matters, the Law Office of Zulu Ali vigorously advocates for its clients.

Dedication to Reform and Genuine Justice

As a leading law firm in the nation, Zulu Ali & Associates is at the forefront of several initiatives aimed at reshaping the legal landscape to ensure equal justice for all. Among these initiatives are Justice Watch, Jury Reform, Stop and Frisk, and more.

Justice Watch – Under Justice Watch, Attorney Ali hosts specialized sessions alongside guest speakers to delve into pressing issues concerning the justice system, immigration, and beyond.

Jury Reform Initiative – The Jury Reform Initiative endeavors to overhaul the jury selection process in America, striving for adequate representation, especially for marginalized groups like the Black community.

Stop and Frisk – Through Stop and Frisk, at-risk youths receive education on navigating encounters with law enforcement, understanding their rights, and safeguarding themselves on the perilous streets of America.

Practice Areas

With a background as a former Marine and Police officer, Ali offers a wealth of experience, supported by a skilled and dedicated team, to deliver robust and compassionate legal representation for individuals seeking justice and safeguarding their rights.

The law firm specializes in five key areas: Criminal Law, Immigration Law, Civil Lawsuits and Personal Injury, Family Law, and International Law.

Milestone of Success

As the Principal Partner of Zulu Ali & Associates, Ali applies his expertise as a tenacious litigator to his practice. Since the establishment of Zulu Ali & Associates in 2007, the impact-oriented law firm has achieved success in over 67 cases spanning criminal defense, immigration/deportation defense, and personal injury/civil suits.

One of the successful cases is a landmark decision that set the standard for presenting claims under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. He represented his client, Eric Blancos Hermosillo, a foreign national, in the case of Eric Hermosillo v. United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, which he argued before the United States Court of Appeals.

On September 14, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit made a 2-1 decision that followed the reinstatement of a 1999 removal order for Blancas Hermosillo. His expression of fear about returning to his home country prompted an asylum officer to conduct a reasonable fear screening interview. The purpose was to determine whether Blancas Hermosillo should be permitted to present his claims before a Judge as part of his application for relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

As a result, Blancas Hermosillo was denied a hearing and was unable to fully present his case due to his expression of fear. Attorney Ali’s argument prevailed, and the court ordered a remand with instructions to hold a hearing under the United Nations Convention Against Torture before a judge. This decision sets the standard for the right to present a claim before a judge under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

About that precedent, Ali said:

I have been arguing this position for years with stern opposition. Persons seeking protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, like my client, Mr. Blancos Hermosillo, have long been denied their rights. They get cut off right out of the gate with no remedy just to face death with no real options. This win shows what you can do with the right passion, consistency, faith, and hard work. My staff did a great job in assisting me in this case. Justice delayed is still Justice.

Zulu Ali & Associates boasts a team of 24 seasoned professionals, including attorneys and litigation staff, each specializing in various fields. Notably, among them is Whitney Ali, Attorney Zulu Ali’s daughter.

About Zulu Ali

Ali, hailing from Shelbyville, Tennessee, brings a rich background to his practice. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he also served as a sworn police officer with several departments, including the City of Shelbyville, City of Lewisburg, and Vanderbilt Police Departments. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Trinity International University Law School and a liberal arts degree with a focus on African Studies from Regents College, in collaboration with Tennessee State University.

Ali’s extensive legal credentials include admission to the California State Bar and various federal courts, including those in Central California, Southern California, Northern California, and Colorado. He is also admitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, the United States Supreme Court, and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Ali holds several roles, including Director of the Jury Reform Initiative, American Committee for United Nations, Director of the Stop and Frisk Academy, and Director of the Southern California Veterans Legal Clinic, which provides no-cost and low-cost legal services to military veterans. Additionally, he is a member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

Ali’s daughter Whitney is also a partner at Zulu Ali & Associates, LLP, focusing her practice on criminal defense and immigration law. She joined the law firm in 2015.

Whitney and her father were recently honored as two of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), Law and Justice Edition, in acknowledgment of their significant contributions to law and justice in America.

Zulu Ali & Associates is ranked among the five leading Black-owned law firms by BlackStars News.