LtCol Gary S. Barthel, USMC, Retired
Civilian Military Attorney

Civilian Military Attorney Gary S Barthel

Civilian Military Attorney LtCol Gary S. Barthel, USMC, Retired

Continuing a 38 year career and remarkable service to this country, LtCol Gary S. Barthel, USMC, Retired continues to honor our nation by providing legal services for Military Servicemembers and Civilians. Gary’s twenty year career with the U.S. Marine Corps is the foundation of his legal career. After enlisting in the Marine Corps in ‘75, Gary was responsible for providing security at various U.S. Embassies. Later as a “Mustang” officer, Gary provided distinguished legal services to clients at all ranks from young enlisted Marines to Commanding Generals. Succeeding the Marines, Gary became a partner at Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP where he focused his practice on military and civilian law for a decade. Gary is frequently called upon by the media and for keynote engagements to provide insight into military legal issues. Today, The Military Law Center provide a unique bridge between the civilian legal system and the military legal system.

Gary Barthel earned high accreditations for his service as both an enlisted Marine and Marine officer. As an enlisted Marine, Gary served with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Athens, Greece. He was also assigned to Secret Service details for the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and provided personal security for numerous U.S. Ambassadors. In furtherance of his Marine Corps career, Gary obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Area Studies, a Juris Doctor degree and a Masters in Law degree in Military Law. As a Marine Judge Advocate, Gary was responsible for providing legal advice on a variety of legal issues to servicemembers of every rank from the lowest enlisted rank to Commanding Generals. Gary’s billets included serving as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Senior Defense Counsel at Camp Pendleton, and as a Staff Judge Advocate at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar.

Mr. Barthel has continued to practice civilian and military law following his Marine Corps career. He remains to be a leading national military counsel called upon for his legal experience. Gary Barthel’s qualifications in both Military and Civilian Law exceeds most practicing attorneys. This allows him to bridge the two different court systems with foresight. His education, experience and grasp of these two legal systems provide him with the legal authority that is qualified and unmatched in our nation.

Mr. Barthel is based in San Diego where he provides a unique legal service focusing on the needs of active duty military, veterans, their families as well as civilians and businesses. Although Gary’s civilian practice is primarily limited to California; he represents military and veteran clients on a local, national and global level. Gary founded Military Law Center as a national resource for Military servicemembers, Veterans and their families to locate and access the legal services that all members of the United States Military deserve.

LtCol Gary S. Barthel USMC, Retired: Experience in Both Military and Civilian Cases

Military Law

Former Marine Corps officer, LtCol Gary S. Barthel, USMC, Retired, is renowned for his knowledge and experience in military law and litigation. Throughout Gary’s Marine Corps career he gained extensive litigation experience as a Federal Prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. As a Staff Judge Advocate (general counsel) to Commanding Officers and Commanding Generals, Gary was responsible for providing legal advice on a variety of legal issues including criminal investigations, civil claims including death investigations, personal injury and property damage claims made against the government, and issues related to military civilian employees. Gary was also responsible for the management a command law office comprised of 15 military attorneys and 40 support staff.

Civilian Military Attorney Gary S. Barthel

Civilian Criminal Law

Gary’s criminal litigation experience includes numerous jury trials for a variety of offenses including capital murder, homicides, rape, assaults, drug offenses, and fraud. Moreover, while serving with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. Barthel gained appellate litigation experience briefing and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Gary also gained extensive experience with the Physical Evaluation Board where he represented military clients who disputed their military disability ratings.

Learn more about Mr. Barthel’s Military and Civilian Law Experience.



  • 20 years active service in the Marine Corps
  • Former USMC military attorney
  • Former federal prosecutor – US Attorney’s Office
  • Served with U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Embassies: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Athens, Greece
  • Secret Service detail for the U.S. Secretary of State
  • Secret Service detail United States Ambassador to the United Nations


  • LL.M., Military Law, The Judge Advocate General’s School, — U.S. Army at University of Virginia (1999)
  • J.D., Whittier College School of Law (1986)
  • B.A., Augsburg College (1983)

Training Programs & Public Speaking

LtCol Gary S. Barthel, USMC Retired is available for current classes, training programs (on or off base), media interviews and public speaking engagements. Learn More


Expert Witness to Civilian and Military

LtCol Gary S. Barthel, USMC Retired, provides support as a civilian military criminal justice consultant and an expert witness. Gary is a qualified expert witness with unmatched experience to provide a bridge for the civilian and military court systems.

San Diego Associations and Affiliations

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Minnesota
  • American Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association – Co-Chair Military Law
  • Veterans Bar Association
  • Invest in a Vet Foundation – Chairman
  • Marine Corp Museum, Marine Corp Recruit Depot – San Diego

Admitted to Practice

  • California
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court
  • U.S. Courts for the Armed Services

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