Terrence Jones
Terrence Jones

Terrence M. Jones


Tel 424.204.4386
Fax 424.204.4350
Los Angeles

Terrence Jones is an accomplished trial lawyer, civil litigator, and former federal prosecutor. Prior to joining Ballard Spahr, Mr. Jones served for seven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Jones worked in both the office’s Criminal Division, which is responsible for federal prosecutions, as well as its Civil Division, which is responsible for representing federal agencies and government officials in affirmative and defensive lawsuits. He has extensive trial experience, including ten civil trials, and has directed a wide array of civil and criminal investigations. Given the breadth of his experience with the Department of Justice, Mr. Jones specializes in a variety of practice areas, ranging from complex civil litigation to internal investigations to white collar criminal defense.

Representative Civil Matters

Mr. Jones served as lead counsel in a wide variety of high-stakes civil litigation brought by and against the federal government while at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Affirmatively, Mr. Jones oversaw mortgage fraud and financial fraud investigations. He also filed suits to recover the multimillion dollar costs incurred by the government to extinguish the wildfires that ravage California lands and homes every year. Defensively, Mr. Jones was responsible for fending off a broad spectrum of actions seeking monetary damages from the federal government, ranging from alleged civil rights violations to employment discrimination to excessive force by law enforcement officers. Mr. Jones now applies this wealth of experience to private practice, counseling clients on a broad spectrum of issues.

Fraud, Trade Secrets, and Business Litigation

  • Represents the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses in an action against a financial institution for professional negligence
  • Represents a national beverage company in an action against an international food and agricultural corporation for fraud and concealment
  • Represented an international banking institution in an action for professional negligence, resulting in a settlement favorable to the client
  • Represented a national furniture manufacturer in an action against former employees alleged to have disclosed trade secrets to a direct competitor, resulting in a settlement favorable to the client
  • Represented a worldwide social media company in a shareholder action alleging the company negligently misrepresented the timing of its earnings release, resulting in a dismissal of the claim


  • Represents an aerospace company in a disability discrimination action brought under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
  • Represents an international commercial airliner in a disability discrimination action brought under FEHA
  • Lead trial counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a racial discrimination action against a high-ranking agency official brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), resulting in a defense verdict
  • Lead trial counsel for the U.S. Postal Service in a hostile work environment action brought under Title VII, resulting in a defense verdict
  • Lead trial counsel for the U.S. Postal Service in a disability discrimination action brought under the Title VII, resulting in a defense verdict


  • Represented an environmental consulting firm in a breach of contract action arising out of the trading of Emission Reduction Credits, resulting in a settlement favorable to the client
  • Lead trial counsel for the U.S. Forest Service in an action to recover the costs incurred to fight a 10,000-acre wildfire that was negligently ignited on federal land, resulting in a $1.7 million award
  • Lead trial counsel for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in a bellwether negligence case arising out of inmates’ contraction of Valley Fever while imprisoned in facilities located in California’s San Joaquin Valley, resulting in a nominal settlement favorable to the government

Representative Criminal Defense and Regulatory Matters

As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Jones investigated and prosecuted white-collar cases involving bank fraud and healthcare fraud presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office by the FBI, Treasury Department, and Department of Homeland Security. He also prosecuted drug trafficking and illegal firearms cases presented to the office by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). At Ballard Spahr, Mr. Jones’ criminal defense and regulatory practice focuses on advising businesses and individuals facing investigation by state and federal authorities.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“Drones”)

  • Lead trial counsel in People v. Arvel Chappell, the first drone case in the country to go to trial on a drone specific charge, resulting in a complete acquittal
  • Represented the first person charged under the City of Los Angeles’ anti-drone ordinance, in which a constitutional “preemption” challenge to the City’s municipally-imposed flight restrictions resulted in a dismissal of charges
  • Advises businesses and individuals on regulations governing unmanned aircraft systems, including compliance with municipal ordinances, state laws, and the FAA’s newly-released Part 107
  • Defends individuals charged with drone-related crimes

Representative Pro Bono and Civil Rights Matters

During his tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Jones served on various U.S. Department of Justice civil rights oversight teams, including teams that monitored conditions in the State of California’s mental health institutions, as well as the County of Los Angeles’s juvenile halls and camps. At Ballard Spahr, Mr. Jones has continued his commitment to serving the underserved and the interests of justice.

  • Represents an elderly couple in an appeal for restoration of their social security benefits, which were discontinued because their holocaust survivor reparations were mistaken for conventional income
  • Represented an individual tenant in an action against a wealthy real estate investment group that conspired to evict him from the rent-controlled apartment in which he lived for nearly 25 years

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Los Angeles County Bar Association

Federal Bar Association

John M. Langston Bar Association – Executive Board Member: Sergeant at Arms and Finance Chairperson, 2016; Treasurer, 2015; Chairperson, Judicial Nominations & Evaluations Committee, 2014

Ballard Spahr Diversity and Inclusion Council

University of California at Irvine Law School – Ballard Spahr Mock Trial Competition; Program Liaison and Instructor

Kingsley Trust Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

Named to The National Black Lawyers – Top 100, May 2016 

Ballard Spahr Pro Bono Award, May 2016

President’s Award, John M. Langston Bar Association, February 2016

Special commendation from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration for exonerating a high-ranking TSA official accused by a purported employee “whistleblower” of deliberately ignoring security vulnerabilities, 2014

Special commendation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency for a successful jury trial result in an employment discrimination action brought against the Los Angeles Asylum Office, 2010

Special commendation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for coordinating nationwide discovery effort in an action alleging unconstitutional detainee medical care policies, 2008

First AUSA ever hired directly out of law school in the Central District of California

Media, Publications & Speaking Engagements

Panelist, "Fly a drone, go to jail? – Drones, Police and Courts," Southwestern Law School, November 9, 2016

Panelist, "Advancing Technologies and Evolving Risks: What’s Next for Product Liability," Ballard Spahr CLE, October 6, 2016

"Jury Clears Los Angeles Filmmaker in First Criminal Drone Trial," Ballard Spahr Success Story, July 2016

"LA jury sides with drone-flying filmmaker," Daily Journal, Joshua Sebold, June 23, 2016

"The Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems," Ballard Spahr Firm Seminar, May 19, 2016

Panelist, "The Intersection of Technology and Theater: Effectively Incorporating Technology into Trial Practice," U.S. Attorney’s Office, December 1, 2011

Loyola Law School (J.D. 2007)

Member, Byrne Mock Trial Team: Regional Champion and National Semi-Finalist, 2006 ATLA/AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition

Yale University (B.A. 2001)

President, Black Student Alliance at Yale

Program Director, Urban Improvement Corps.


New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California 

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California