NiaLena is a passionate and relentless advocate who doesn't take no for an answer and who gives personal, undivided, and often round-the-clock attention to all clients in an effort to provide the absolute best defense possible through her boutique law practice. She has earned the reputation nationally as well as internationally as one of the top federal criminal defense lawyers in both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and of not being afraid to separate her clients and fight individually, strategically, creatively, and relentlessly. As a strong believer in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken," NiaLena often chooses to travel "the road less traveled by" and, as a result, many of her courtroom successes as a criminal defense lawyer have come in matters that others considered hopeless. Unlike most other lawyers, NiaLena employs a uniquely holistic approach in representing her clients, for she recognizes that people who have come under criminal scrutiny usually face a myriad of other deep-rooted problems far beyond their legal case. It is NiaLena's unique legal and human qualities that culminated in her being chosen as the subject of a feature story entitled "Fierce" that was recently written about her by Super Lawyers and in her selection as the only criminal defense lawyer to ever be featured on the Super Lawyers cover in Philadelphia Magazine.
NiaLena concentrates her law practice primarily in federal criminal defense and in very serious state criminal cases and has substantial experience in high-profile federal and state criminal cases and in extremely complicated federal criminal cases involving extensive electronic surveillance and wiretaps. Throughout the years, NiaLena has achieved successful results in difficult cases including but not limited to federal drug trafficking, federal firearms violations, state drug trafficking, sex crimes, homicides, RICO/racketeering, organized crime, federal habeas, federal grand jury investigations, conspiracy, financial crimes, tax offenses, fraud, money laundering, political corruption, white collar crime, and federal sentencing downward departures. Her federal criminal defense practice extends not only to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (including Philadelphia and its surrounding counties of Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Lehigh County, Lancaster County, and Northampton County) and the Middle District of Pennsylvania (including Harrisburg, Scranton, Williamsport, and Wilkes-Barre), but also to the District of New Jersey (including Camden, Trenton, and Newark) and multiple jurisdictions in the United States.
The breadth of her experience includes defending cases under investigation by various agencies, including but not limited to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); United States Secret Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); Office of Inspector General (OIG); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and United States Postal Inspection Service.
Early in her career, NiaLena was the youngest and only female attorney to defend a reputed organized crime figure in the nearly five-month federal RICO prosecution of United States v. Joseph Merlino. As described in the "Super Lawyers" feature article entitled "Fierce" that was written about NiaLena, she "wanted to buck the top-down strategy the rest of the defense team had devised" and "do the right thing" for herself and her client as the "spunky outsider" who was "arrayed against a coterie of high-powered attorneys drawn from the old-boy network of lawyers tapped into service by Mafia dons." The jury acquitted her client, Frank Gambino, of attempted murder and racketeering charges, and her closing argument was subsequently selected among nationwide submissions and spotlighted as featured defense advocate by Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy in Houston.
She has since become lead counsel in numerous serious multi-defendant federal and state criminal cases and was recently a member of the defense trial team representing Senator Vincent Fumo, long regarded as the most powerful politician in Pennsylvania, in his five-month high-profile white collar trial in federal court. At trial, NiaLena was the co-author of an emergency motion that made headline news in various local and national forums, including The New York Times and ABC News, regarding the request to halt the jury deliberations based upon the novel legal issue of social networking on Internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter by a juror during the Senator's political corruption trial.
Currently retained to represent two high-ranking federal government officials (one from a bureau within the U.S. Department of Justice and the other from the central banking system of the U.S.) and previously retained to represent a Washington D.C. senior executive of a Fortune 500 financial company as well as a New York Arab-American, NiaLena has been described by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Daily News as a "deliberate," "sincere," "extremely thorough," and "tireless advocate" with "courtroom poise" and by one of the most respected and recognized crime reporters in the country, George Anastasia, in The Last Gangster as "no-nonsense. "Her efforts to always leave no stone unturned were also acknowledged on the record at the end of May 2010 during her representation of the principal of a nationwide advertising agency in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania when the Honorable Paul S. Diamond stated, "You've gone to an enormous... you've put an enormous amount of work into this. I want you to know how much I appreciate all the work you've done. I certainly hope your client appreciates it as well."
After being recognized by her peers and featured by Philadelphia Magazine and also Law & Politics Magazine as a "Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer" in the field of Criminal Defense in both 2005 and 2006, she was also featured in articles in The Hellenic Voice and Hellenic Communication Service, LLC, publications devoted to issues of interest to the Greek-American community. Recently, she was also profiled in "Top Lawyers 2009" in Main Line Today. Moreover, NiaLena has been recognized by her peers in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008 as a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in "Criminal Defense" and featured by Philadelphia Magazine and also Law & Politics Magazine. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. As a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer," NiaLena's profile was also included among the "Influential Philadelphia Area Lawyers" profiled in "The Power Fifty" November 2009 edition of the Philadelphia Magazine. In June 2013, NiaLena was spotlighted by SuperLawyers in a feature article entitled "Fierce" and also featured on the 2013 SuperLawyers cover in Philadelphia Magazine.
In addition to lecturing at CLE seminars at Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) Criminal Law Symposium, NiaLena has been a frequent guest speaker over the past decade on white collar crime as well as ethics in Leadership programs of the Management Department at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Examples of various issues discussed include the changing perception by the courts and society of white collar crime versus violent crime, ethical dilemmas, the motivation of money, defining oneself as a corporate executive, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, evidentiary issues, 5th Amendment privilege, and federal sentencing issues. Examples of various cases discussed include United States v. Michael Milken, Enron (United States v. Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling), United States v. Martha Stewart, United States v. Bernard L. Madoff, and United States v. Vincent J. Fumo. NiaLena has consistently received "Excellent "ratings from the students, along with very positive feedback such as: (a) "She had an extremely interesting insight into law and business"; (b) "She was a great speaker and presenter as well;" and (c) "The ethics of white collar criminal defense are intriguing and she communicates this in such an effective way." NiaLena has also been invited to the University of Pennsylvania as a guest speaker and co-panelist along with David Rudovsky, law professor as well as one of the nation's leading civil rights/criminal defense attorneys, in an effort to educate university students and members of the National Youth Rights Association regarding their civil rights as well as suggesting the most appropriate and beneficial ways to exercise those rights. NiaLena is also very honored to be a guest lecturer in the Fall of 2013 at the Department of Psychiatry of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in a fellowship training program specifically geared toward providing forensic psychiatric fellows the opportunity to gain didactic knowledge and practical experience in Forensic Psychiatry in order to develop the skills necessary to practice the subspecialty in an ethical and scientific manner. Under the directorship of world-renowned forensic psychiatrist Robert L. Sadoff, M.D., the focus of the program is to provide fellows with training and education involving numerous issues, including criminal and correctional, so that they can learn about the legal regulations of a psychiatric practice and be able to provide expert psychiatric evaluation and treatment in both forensic and correctional settings. The focus of NiaLena's teachings concerned the growing intersection between forensic psychiatry and federal criminal defense.
NiaLena has received the "Client Distinction Award" and the highest professional rating for legal ability and ethical standards (Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated) by Martindale-Hubbell for every year from 2003 until 2015 along with the recognition among the Top-Rated Legal Leaders in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania for 2013 as well as recognition as a "Top Federal Crime Lawyer" and "Top White Collar Crime Lawyer" with a Superb rating (10.0 out of 10) by Avvo.com in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Additionally, NiaLena's law firm is not only among the 5% of law firms in America listed in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, but also she is recognized among the most elite women in the legal industry through her inclusion in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. Moreover, NiaLena's law firm has been named as the "Criminal Defense Law Firm of the Year in Pennsylvania" in 2015 as well as the "Pennsylvania Law Firm of the Year in Criminal Law & White Collar Crime" in 2010 and the "Pennsylvania Criminal Defense & White Collar Crime Attorney of the Year" Global Awards Winner in 2012 and 2011 by Corporate INTL and a "Top Northeast Lawyer" for Criminal Defense by Avvo.
NiaLena has been honored among the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" in 2015 and 2014 and 2013 and 2012 by The National Trial Lawyers, where membership is obtained by special invitation and extended only to those "Top 100"who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as trial lawyers. She has also recently been honored by the American Society of Legal Advocates as one of the "Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers" in Pennsylvania for 2013 and 2014 and 2015, where membership is extended to only the top 2% of lawyers "who combine stellar legal credentials with proven commitment to community engagement, leadership, and the highest professional standards." Moreover, she was also selected as the only "Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year - Pennsylvania" recipient of both the Lawyers World Leading Lawyer Award in 2012 as well as the Lawyers World Law Award in 2012 and 2013, both of which "recognize a select number of leading professional firms and lawyers across the globe for their individual areas of specialization, within their geographical location." Although a number of factors are considered during the judging process, the lawyers selected are those "that are noted for having a high degree of ability in complex situations" and "those that continually innovate" and "perform to exceptional levels during the most difficult period that the global economy has experienced for decades." She is also honored to be spotlighted among the "Top Rated Lawyers in Criminal Defense: White Collar" in 2013 and 2012 by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell. Additionally, NiaLena has been awarded the M&A International Global Award for 2013, an honor that is bestowed upon "firms that are truly leaders within their chosen areas of specialization." The M&A International Annual Awards programs accumulate votes from over 163 countries globally and "provide a benchmark of the very best of the best industry leaders, exemplary teams and distinguished organizations, based on the simple principles of veracity, accuracy and insight." Moreover, NiaLena is also honored to have been selected by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) as one of the "10 Best" Attorneys in Pennsylvania in 2014 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law. NiaLena is also very honored to have been chosen by Rue Ratings as one of the “Best Attorneys Of America” and to have been invited starting in 2014 to become a Lifetime Charter Member, as this distinction is extended to the 100 “Best Attorneys” in Pennsylvania and to less than one percent (1%) of the most qualified and accomplished attorneys in the United States.
NiaLena has also co-authored a book, Inside the Minds: Jury Selection in Criminal Cases, 2013 ed., in which NiaLena focused her writing on "The Artistic Science of Jury Selection and Trials." The book was published and released in the summer of 2013 by Aspatore Books, a Thomson Reuters business, which "exclusively publishes C-Level executives and partners from the world's most respected companies and law firms, and each publication provides professionals of all levels with proven business and legal intelligence from industry insiders -- direct and unfiltered insight from those who know it best." Previously, NiaLena also co-authored with her former law partner, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, an extensive article entitled "Ineffective Assistance of Counsel", which was published in The Philadelphia Lawyer, PACDL's The Forum, and The Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest.
NiaLena is proud to serve as a mentor to other women in the legal profession who often seek her guidance and insight and is frequently called upon by The Legal Intelligencer, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and other news organizations to offer unique commentary on current legal issues.
Moreover, NiaLena is both honored and humbled by all of the wonderful reviews and comments posted by clients on Avvo.com and invites all visitors to read them. Please visit NiaLena's website (http://www.nialenacaravasos.com) for additional information on her criminal defense law practice.