Timothy Hale earned his B.A. degree from Cal State Sacramento in 1992, and his J.D. degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1996 where he was a member of the Law Review. After being admitted to practice in California in 1996, he has focused on civil litigation. He participated in his first jury trial to verdict in 1998, and has served as lead counsel in trial and binding arbitration of a number of lawsuits, most recently in February 2014 in a childhood sexual abuse jury trial against the Boy Scouts of America in Santa Barbara Superior Court.
His work on behalf of childhood sexual abuse victims began in 2000 with a team of lawyers responsible for obtaining on behalf of a single client what is believed to be the first million-dollar pre-trial settlement in the history of the Catholic clergy-abuse scandal. Since then he has represented numerous victims of childhood sexual abuse, with abuse settlements to date totaling in excess of $40 million.
In 2008 he was part of a team of clergy abuse lawyers named as Finalists for Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Public Justice Foundation for the work that resulted in the Los Angeles and San Diego clergy abuse global settlements in 2007. Those settlements totaled over $858,000,000.
In June of 2007 and March of 2009 he obtained two groundbreaking rulings in the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of twenty-five clergy abuse victims for the publication of Franciscan priest - perpetrator personnel files: that the privacy rights of the perpetrators were outweighed by the compelling State interest in preventing the future sexual abuse of children; and that the priests’ personnel files should be released to the public. When the Franciscans and the perpetrators fought those rulings to the State’s highest court, he served as lead appellate counsel through the conclusion of that process when the Franciscans’ appeals were rejected by the California Supreme Court.
The Franciscan perpetrators’ files were released to the public in 2012, and may be viewed here: http://bishopaccountability.org/franciscans/. That battle also resulted in a precedent-setting published appellate opinion, In re The Clergy Cases I (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 1224, that became the basis for subsequent similar releases of perpetrator personnel files in, among others, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, such as those of Father Matthew Kelly. Fr. Kelly’s files can be viewed here.
In January 2012 he became the first attorney to obtain a ruling from a California trial court ordering the Boy Scouts of America to turn over all of their secret Ineligible Volunteer “Perversion” Files from 1971 – 2011. When the Boy Scouts fought that ruling, he served as lead appellate counsel until the California Supreme Court rejected the Boy Scouts’ appeal. When that case went to trial in January 2015 in Santa Barbara Superior Court, he served as lead trial counsel. The Boy Scouts settled after the second week of testimony and documentary evidence.
He continues to represent survivors of childhood sexual abuse and to battle for transparency against institutions that have covered up and concealed childhood sexual abuse committed by their members. Those institutions have included a variety of religious denominations, such as the Catholic Church, the LDS Church, and the Presbyterian Church; youth-serving organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America; private and public schools, and residential treatment centers and programs for at-risk youth and youth with developmental disorders. He is recognized as an expert on childhood sexual abuse in the institutional setting, and has accepted invitations to be a guest lecturer on the subject at universities such as UCLA and UC Santa Barbara.