April 21, 2021
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Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles

Criminal defense lawyers are lawyers who specialize in defending individuals and companies charged with criminal activities. 

Some criminal defense attorneys are retained privately, while others are under the employment of various jurisdictions within criminal courts, specifically for appointment to represent indigent individuals. Depending on the jurisdiction, a judge may also appoint a private practice or firm to represent these individuals (pro bono cases).

How Big Is It? 

According to the State Bar of California, the total number of licensed attorneys with an active status is 190,000. This number is composed of various legal specializations, including those who practice criminal defense law. 

Different Types Within the Industry 

There are several subcategories within the practice of criminal defense law. They are as follows:

Public Defender: Tasked with defending or representing those who are unable to afford a criminal defense lawyer.  

Panel Lawyer: Often a private defense lawyer that sits in a government committee. These attorneys receive monetary compensation on an hourly basis and they provide a supporting function to public defenders.

Private Lawyer: Available to provide their legal services to defendants who have the capacity to pay for legal representation.

Legal Aid: A fixture in many non-profit organizations, legal aids provide indigent defendants with representation. For every state, an organization is in charge of employing lawyers whose primary job is to represent those who are unable to hire a private attorney.

District Lawyer: District lawyers are employed by the government to prosecute a defendant in serious legal concerns. 

Interesting Statistics 

An estimated 2.3% - 5% of prisoners in the United States have been wrongfully accused. Assuming these numbers are in fact true, this means that at least 46,000 people behind bars are innocent.

Fun Facts 

Did you know that there are a decent number of prominent individuals and celebrities who attended law school? Some examples are Gerard Butler, Jerry Springer, John Cleese, economist Ben Stein, NFL star Steve Young, and NBA Commissioner David Stern.

History of Criminal Defense Lawyers  

The earliest known sample of a written set of criminal laws is said to originate from the Sumerian people, more commonly known now as Iraq. Created around 2100-2050 BC, it contained clear distinctions between civil and criminal wrongdoings. According to the codes, civil law governs over disputes concerning two or more private parties, while criminal law caters to cases that the federal government or state has initiated against a person accused of causing harm to another or to the general public.

How Did We Choose the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles?

We went through search engines, law firm websites, social media profiles, recommendations, and customer reviews from past clients to find the best criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles. 

How to Get Into The Industry 

In order to begin a career as a criminal defense lawyer, you must first complete a bachelor's degree. Then, you can enroll and complete a law education. These two degrees will usually take a total of 7 years to complete. Much like all lawyers who wish to practice, criminal defense attorneys are also expected to take and pass the bar exam in the state they’re looking to practice in. 

Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles
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1. Hart J. Levin
Name Search / Names starting with H / Hart J. Levin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer/District Attorney
Experience: Estimated 14 years
Interesting Accomplishments: He is an Avvo Clients Choice Award Winner. He also provides onset consultation for television dramas on many major network shows. How Did He Get His Start?: Hart, who now practices criminal law through his own firm, worked previously as a District Attorney for nearly 4 years where he handled over 3,000 cases. His educational background includes UCLA Berkeley, where he graduated with honors from a Bachelor of Arts degree. He later attended the Loyola Law School where he earned his Juris Doctorate.
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2. Alexandra Kazarian
Name Search / Names starting with A / Alexandra ...
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Public Defender/Private Lawyer
Experience: 14 years
Interesting Accomplishments: She appears regularly as a legal analyst on the nightly news for CBSLA. How Did She Get Her Start?: Alexandra is a graduate of the California State University-Fullerton where she accomplished her undergraduate degree in B.A. English. She went on to Pepperdine Law to earn her Doctor of Law degree. She worked as a public defender for 8 years before becoming a principal in her own firm.
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3. John F. Christl
Name Search / Names starting with J / John F. Ch...
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer/District Attorney
Experience: 29 years
Interesting Accomplishments: Awarded with Prosecutor of the Year and Outstanding Trial Attorney by his peers. How Did He Get His Start?: Mr. Christl credits the University of Southern California for his bachelor’s degree and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law for his Juris Doctorate. This former Deputy District Attorney worked for more than 21 years before moving on to a career as a Private Lawyer who handles criminal cases.
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4. Peter Berlin
Name Search / Names starting with P / Peter Berlin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer
Experience: 25 years
Interesting Accomplishments: He has been featured in numerous articles and publications. How Did He Get His Start?: This Whittier College School of Law graduate was a former associate in firms that handled business litigations. Now, he handles both white-collar and criminal cases for individuals and companies.
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5. Edward Y. Lee
Name Search / Names starting with E / Edward Y. Lee
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer
Experience: 26 years
Interesting Accomplishments: A recipient of multiple recognitions for being one of the leading attorneys in North America, he is also a recipient of the much-coveted AV rating on Martindale Hubbell. How Did He Get His Start?: A licensed attorney since the early 90s, Mr. Lee studied at the University of Southern California before going to Whittier College School of Law for his J.D.
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6. Bruce B. McGregor
Name Search / Names starting with B / Bruce B. M...
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer/District Attorney
Experience: 35 years
Interesting Accomplishments: He is the founding member of the Benjamin Aranda III American Inns of Court (a non-profit organization) and is its designated Master Lawyer. How Did He Get His Start?: Bruce McGregor is a graduate of Old Dominion University and the Northrop School of Law in Los Angeles. Upon graduating, he joined the Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney’s Office. He later teamed up with fellow District Attorney Robert Ernenwein and established a law office. This firm would later be dissolved amicably before Bruce would set up his own firm.
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7. William Kroger
Name Search / Names starting with W / William Kr...
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer
Experience: 23 years
Interesting Accomplishments: He has stellar online reviews and recognitions. He also prides himself on his entire career which he has dedicated to the defense of others. How Did He Get His Start?: William is a Pepperdine alumnus with a degree in Business Administration. He later went to Oxford University for his Advanced Degree in Criminal Law.
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8. Nicole Costen Ruiz
Name Search / Names starting with N / Nicole Cos...
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer/Legal Aid
Experience: Estimated 4-6 years
Interesting Accomplishments: Prior to entering the world of law, she dedicated her time to being a social worker and counselor for minority youth. How Did She Get Her Start?: This dedicated legal research and trial attorney graduated at the top of her class when she took up her J.D. at the Western State University College of Law.
Links: Website LinkedIn
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9. Shaheen F. Manshoory
Name Search / Names starting with S / Shaheen F....
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Private Lawyer/Legal Aid
Experience: 6 years
Interesting Accomplishments: He has volunteered in social work, offering legal advice to the following: Southwestern Small Claims Clinic, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, and the LACBA Domestic Violence Project, where he remains active since 2015. How Did He Get His Start?: Shaheen earned his Juris Doctorate from S.C.A.L.E, a fully accredited Southwestern Law School program.
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10. Ann Gottesman
Name Search / Names starting with A / Ann Gottesman
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession/Category: Public Defender/Private Lawyer
Experience: 16 years
Interesting Accomplishments: Aside from being LACBA certified, Ann has received multiple recognitions and has high Avvo ratings. How Did She Get Her Start?: Ann is an advocate of protecting constitutional rights. Her educational background includes the California State University for her degree in Psychology and Southwestern University School of Law for her Juris Doctorate. She worked briefly as a Public Defender before setting up her own law office.

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