NiaLena Caravasos

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia, PA

Law Office of NiaLena Caravasos, LLC
 | 926 Public Ledger Building, 620 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-925-5200
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2009, 2011 - 2017
Selected to Rising Stars: 2005 - 2006
Licensed Since: 1994
Practice Areas:
  • Criminal Defense (50%),
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar (50%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Greek
Attorney Profile

 HIGH-STAKES FEDERAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE AND WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER 

ON SUPER LAWYERS COVER IN PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE & DESCRIBED AS "FIERCE"

A driving cornerstone of NiaLena's success is her passionate advocacy and her belief in traveling "the road less traveled by" made so famous by the poet, Robert Frost.

•  Recently spotlighted by Super Lawyers in a feature article entitled "Fierce" 

•  Only criminal defense lawyer ever featured on Super Lawyers cover in Philadelphia Magazine

•  Honored repeatedly by Super Lawyers as one of the "Top 50 Women" in Pennsylvania

Differing from most of her colleagues, NiaLena has tremendous compassion and focuses first on her clients as people. She utilizes a unique all-encompassing approach in an effort to help them during their representation because she realizes that clients who have been caught in the crosshairs of a criminal investigation are typically also dealing with a variety of other serious issues that transcend the confines of their specific legal case.

Differing again from most other criminal lawyers, NiaLena is a graduate from the renowned Wharton School and also has work experience in the international business world. Consequently, she is also able to identify with many of the challenges facing white collar crime defendants in a manner that her colleagues cannot.

Often setting her own course, NiaLena is known for always putting her clients' interests first: that reputation was initially earned when she was the youngest and only female attorney representing a high-ranking organized crime figure in the federal RICO trial of U.S. v. Joseph Merlino and yet did not hesitate to separate her client, Frank Gambino, and go against the old-boys network of other criminal lawyers representing mafia co-defendants. Her client who emerged from the trial victorious through his acquittals of attempted murder and racketeering charges and with an outcome better than the other defendants was the beneficiary of NiaLena's individual courage, relentlessness, and strategic creativity. NiaLena's closing argument on behalf of Frank Gambino was then chosen in a nationwide contest and featured by the Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy in Houston, and it is still being used to this day by professors around the country as a way to instruct students.

•  "Lifetime Achievement Membership" among America’s Top 100 Attorneys®

•  "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by The National Trial Lawyers

•  "Best Attorneys Of America" Lifetime Charter Member by Rue Ratings

•  "10 Best" Attorneys in PA and "10 Best" Law Firms in PA by American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys

•  "Global Awards Winner - PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year" by Corporate INTL

•  "Leading Lawyer Award Winner - PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year" by Lawyers World

NiaLena has also served not only as lead counsel in numerous serious multi-defendant federal and state criminal cases but also was the youngest and only female attorney representing Senator Vincent Fumo, long regarded as the most powerful politician in Pennsylvania, during his five-month high profile political corruption white collar federal trial.

NiaLena's federal criminal defense practice is primarily focused in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (including Philadelphia and the surrounding counties) but also includes the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, and multiple jurisdictions in the United States. The depth of her experience includes the defense of cases under investigation by various government agencies, such as:

•  U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS);

•  United States Secret Service (USSS);

•  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); 

•  United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

NiaLena's efforts to never leave a stone unturned have been publicly recognized by federal judges, the press, her colleagues, and her former clients.  In this regard, NiaLena invites all readers to visit her website for a more comprehensive discussion on her career.

A frequent guest speaker at The Wharton School regarding the ethics of white collar crime, NiaLena credits much of her success to her beloved mentor and former law partner, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick. NiaLena also very much appreciates the wonderful reviews posted by her clients and also by fellow lawyers on Avvo.com, SuperLawyers.com, and Google.

 
Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Criminal Defense (50%): Arrest & Arraignment, Assault & Battery, Criminal Fraud, Criminal Law, Drug & Alcohol Violations, False Accusations, Felony, Murder, Parole, Probation, Prosecution, Sex Offenses, Tax Evasion, Theft

Criminal Defense: White Collar (50%): White Collar Crime, Criminal Law - Federal

Focus Areas

Criminal Defense: Arrest & Arraignment, Assault & Battery, Criminal Fraud, Criminal Law, Drug & Alcohol Violations, False Accusations, Felony, Murder, Parole, Probation, Prosecution, Sex Offenses, Tax Evasion, Theft

Criminal Defense: White Collar: White Collar Crime, Criminal Law - Federal

Selections

Selected to Super Lawyers for 9 yearsmiddle-imageSelected to Rising Stars for 2 years

Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2009, 2011 - 2017 Rising Stars: 2005 - 2006

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About NiaLena Caravasos

Admitted: 1994, Pennsylvania

Professional Webpage: http://nialena.com/my-practice

Honors and Awards:

  • Honored by Super Lawyers in 2017, 2016 and 2015 as one of the "Top 50 Women" in Pennsylvania, which recognizes the "Top 50 Women" across the state among all legal practice areas
  • Honored by her peers and selected as a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008 as well as a "Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer" in 2006 and 2005
  • NiaLena is honored to be named by Three Best Rated® as one of the Top 3 Criminal Defense Lawyers in Philadelphia in 2016 and 2017
  • Named as the "Criminal Defense Law Firm of the Year in Pennsylvania" for 2017, 2016 and 2015 as well as the "Pennsylvania Law Firm Of The Year in Criminal Law and White Collar Crime" for 2010 by Corporate INTL Magazine and is the only PA law firm selected in each category
  • Selected as a "Global Awards Winner" in 2017, 2016, 2012 and 2011 and named as the only "Pennsylvania Criminal Defense & White Collar Crime Attorney of the Year" by Corporate INTL Magazine. The Global Awards "merit leading firms in their chosen specialisms throughout the world" and "commemorate those who have shown excellence not only in expertise but in service and during a difficult global economic downturn"
  • NiaLena is honored to have been awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Membership" among America’s Top 100 Attorneys® starting in 2016 and continuing in 2017
  • Selected by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) as one of the "10 Best" Female Attorneys in Pennsylvania in 2016 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law
  • Selected by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) as one of the "10 Best" Attorneys in Pennsylvania in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law
  • Honored by Avvo with the "Clients' Choice" Award for "White Collar Crime" in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Named as a "Top 10" Criminal Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania for 2015 and 2016 by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Selected by Rue Ratings as one of the “Best Attorneys Of America” and invited to become a Lifetime Charter Member starting in 2014 and continuing in 2015, 2016 and 2017. 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
  • Honored by the American Society of Legal Advocates as one of the "Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers" in Pennsylvania for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, 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"
  • Honored by Martindale-Hubbell with the "Client Distinction Award" for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Recognized by Avvo with the "Clients' Choice" Award for "Federal Crime" in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Honored beginning in 2012 as the first female criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania invited to join the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" and continuously honored since then for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 where membership is obtained by special invitation from The National Trial Lawyers and extended only to those "Top 100" in every state who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as trial lawyers
  • Highest professional rating (AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated) by Martindale-Hubbell for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003
  • Recognized by Avvo as a "Top Federal Crime Lawyer" and a "Top White Collar Crime Lawyer" with a "Superb" rating (10.0 out of 10) for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009
  • Honored in 2015, 2016, and 2017 as part of the top 1% by her inclusion among America's Most Honored Professionals, a distinction which is a cross-industry and cross-profession honor based on quantitative analysis of authenticated public recognitions and is awarded only to successful individuals who have been publicly recognized for professional excellence with multiple honors from trade groups, peers, clients, and the press
  • Honored to be selected in 2016 as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than 1/2 of 1% of American lawyers, where fellowship is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation and superior ethical reputation. The number of Fellowships has been kept at an exclusive limit by design, and Fellows are generally at the partner or shareholder level or are independent practitioners with recognized experience and accomplishment
  • Selected by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) as one of the "10 Best" Law Firms in Pennsylvania in 2015 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law
  • Honored by Martindale-Hubbell among the "Top-Rated Legal Leaders" for 2013 and 2014 and 2015
  • Featured on 2013 "Super Lawyers" Cover in "Philadelphia Magazine"
  • Awarded the M&A International Global Award in both Criminal Law and White Collar Crime for 2013 and 2014, 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"
  • Honored as a “2013 Top Rated Lawyer in White Collar - Criminal Defense” by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell.
  • Honored as the only “Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year - Pennsylvania” recipient in 2013 of the Lawyers World Law Award, which “recognizes 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”
  • Spotlighted in Feature Article entitled "Fierce" (PA Super Lawyers, 2013)
  • Honored as the only “Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year - Pennsylvania” recipient in 2012 of both the Lawyers World Leading Lawyer Award as well as the Lawyers World Law Award, 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”
  • Spotlighted among the “Top Rated Lawyers in Criminal Defense: White Collar” in the October 2012 issues of both The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel which have nationwide distribution, including Capitol Hill and Member’s Offices at the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
  • NiaLena's closing argument on behalf of her client, Frank Gambino, in the federal mob racketeering trial of United States v. Joseph Merlino was subsequently selected among nationwide submissions and spotlighted as the featured defense advocate by Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy in Houston and is also being used to this day as a teaching tool by professors nationwide
  • Recognized as a "Top Northeast Lawyer" in America for Criminal Defense by Avvo and featured in the November / December 2011 issue of Avvo's Arrive Magazine
  • Law School Honors -- (a) Commencement Award (BNA Law Student Award); (b) American Jurisprudence Award (Criminal Trial Practice); (c) Edward F. Hennessey Scholar; Commencement Speaker to the Faculty
  • NiaLena has been recognized among the most elite women in the legal industry through her inclusion in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers™ in the area of "Criminal Trial Practice"
  • NiaLena's law firm is among only 5% of the law firms in the United States repeatedly recognized in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™
  • Recently profiled by Main Line Today in the 2009 "Top Lawyers" edition
  • Graduated with honors (cum laude) from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Wharton Alumni Club
  • American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (by invitation only)
  • The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Section on Medicine, Ethics & the Law (by invitation only)
  • Women's White Collar Defense Association
  • The National Trial Lawyers, Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association (by invitation only)
  • The National Trial Lawyers (by invitation only)
  • Association of Federal Defense Attorneys (AFDA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL)
  • Criminal Justice Section, Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Federal Criminal Bar for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pennsylvania, Association of Alumnae
  • Mentor, Women in the Profession Committee, Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • NiaLena is proud to serve as a mentor through the years to other women in the legal profession who often seek her guidance and insight. In addition to informal mentoring, NiaLena ia a Mentor through the Women in the Profession Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
  • Ambassador for The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and honored to serve on the Alumni Committee that interviews applicants who have applied for admission to Wharton.

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • 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
  • Frequent guest speaker 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 cases discussed include U.S. v. Michael Milken, Enron (U.S. v. Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling), U.S. v. Martha Stewart, and U.S. v. Bernard L. Madoff)
  • Co- Author contributor to Dr. Robert Sadoff's most recent book, The Evolution of Forensic Psychiatry: History, Current Developments, Future Directions, which was published in 2015 by Oxford University Press
  • Co-author of the book, Inside the Minds: Jury Selection in Criminal Cases, 2013 ed. published by Aspatore Books, a Thomson Reuters business, in which NiaLena focuses her writing on “The Artistic Science of Jury Selection and Trials”
  • Guest lecturer on the growing intersection between forensic psychiatry and federal criminal defense at the Department of Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Fellowship Program of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Guest speaker at the University of Pennsylvania in an effort to educate university students and members of the National Youth Rights Association regarding their civil rights and the best ways to exercise those rights
  • Co-author with her former law partner, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, an article entitled "Ineffective Assistance of Counsel", which was published in The Philadelphia Lawyer, The Forum, and The Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest
  • Lecturer in CLE seminars at PBI Criminal Law Symposium

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Witness tampering, obstruction of justice, false statements, and misuse of government property (Successfully represented a top-tier federal government official within the U.S. Department of Justice who was under investigation by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for allegations of criminal activity within the federal institution that he was in command of. Following one year of intense advocacy in cities up and down the Northeast corridor, the filing of criminal charges was prevented and the client avoided catastrophic injury to his life and reputation and maintained his career within DOJ. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled “The World Will Never Know My Name, Thanks To NiaLena.”)
  • Massive mail and wire fraud conspiracy involving thousands of victims and many millions of dollars in loss that was described on a CNBC primetime special as "one of the largest known advance fee schemes in U.S. history" (Victorious representation of a commercial broker in a federal white collar crime case in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Following two years of non-stop analysis and in-depth dissection of the client’s psychological trauma that held the key to his involvement in this federal criminal case, the young man was able to avoid catastrophic injury to his life and reputation and has charted a new course in life after successfully turning his life around. Please visit the Case Successes page on NiaLena's website for more details as well as Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "My Moral Compass.")
  • Cyber Sex with a Minor and Possession of Child Pornography (Following 3 years of intense representation, successfully prevented the filing of any charges against a client who was under federal criminal investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for Cyber Sex with a Minor and Possession of Child Pornography.)
  • Highly publicized federal organized crime case of "United States v. Joseph Merlino, et al." (As described in the "Super Lawyers" feature article entitled "Fierce" that was written about NiaLena, she is known for always putting her clients' interests first. That reputation was initially earned when she was the youngest and only female attorney representing a high-ranking organized crime figure in the federal RICO trial of U.S. v. Merlino and yet did not hesitate to separate her client, Frank Gambino, and go against the old-boys network of other criminal lawyers representing mafia co-defendants. Her client who emerged from the trial victorious through his acquittals of attempted murder and racketeering charges and with an outcome better than the other defendants was the beneficiary of NiaLena's individual courage, relentlessness, and strategic creativity. Please visit the Case Successes page on NiaLena's website to read more about the press coverage entitled Mob On Trial: For The Defense ... The Greatest Lawyers On The East Coast).
  • Federal criminal drug trafficking and firearms trials (Victorious in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in two trials against the same client.)
  • Death penalty homicide trial (Following a one-month trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas,  NiaLena saved her client from the death penalty even though he had a lifelong criminal history of violent felony convictions and had allegedly killed a government witness in an effort to prevent him from testifying.)
  • Homosexual sex offenses (Following aggressive advocacy in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of her client, NiaLena was victorious in making certain that all charges were dropped before trial).
  • Possession of child pornography (Victorious in convincing the federal government to drop all criminal charges against a fellow attorney in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania following a federal criminal Grand Jury investigation.)
  • Federal criminal drug trafficking and firearms (Victorious representation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in two federal trials for the same client, who was first acquitted of multiple firearms counts and who then also won a new trial regarding the drug trafficking counts.)
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, and sexual abuse of children (Victorious in securing acquittals at trial involving two alleged minor male victims in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.)
  • Reversed a 22-year-old first degree murder conviction (Won a new trial for the defendant who had been serving a life sentence without parole after fighting during three years of evidentiary hearings in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.)
  • First degree murder death penalty case (Following intense advocacy in an effort to suppress two confessions by the alleged shooter, NiaLena was victorious in defeating the charge of first degree murder and the death penalty. The client, who had been raised in a ghetto environment and had dropped out of school, subsequently learned to read and write, passed his GED exam, and was accepted to a local university where he was on the Dean’s List every semester. The client has also written publicly and has described NiaLena as the most notable person that he met during his travels throughout the criminal justice system. Please visit the Case Successes page on NiaLena's website for more details as well as Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "You Are Appreciated.")
  • Sending threatening communications to the head coach of an NFL team through the U.S. mail (After extensive exploration of “diminished capacity,” NiaLena emerged victorious in securing a variance from the prison term recommended by the federal sentencing guidelines and obtained a probationary sentence for the client in this high-profile case that received nationwide media exposure.)
  • National Security Agency (NSA) employee with the highest clearance levels, Top Secret (TS) and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), working overseas in the area of global intelligence (After a six-month investigation by the NSA for illegal activity that supposedly transpired when he was working in the Middle East, the NSA employee was cleared of any improprieties and all of his security clearances were reinstated.)
  • Conspiracy to internationally traffic in counterfeit goods and conspiracy to commit passport fraud, along with allegations of an alleged terrorism connection (As a result of relentless and strategic advocacy over the course of one year, coupled with meticulous analysis of audio/video surveillance recorded by a confidential informant, charges were eventually dismissed against the client. NiaLena was also victorious in convincing the government that her Arab American client from New York had no terrorist connection. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "Second Chance.")
  • Multiple counts of conspiracy, corrupt organizations, and federal drug trafficking charges (Facing not only one but two separate and unrelated multi-defendant indictments, both of which made headline news and charged the client as the lead defendant in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and also in the Court of Common Pleas and left him vulnerable to potential mandatory and consecutive sentences of at least 10 years up to possible sentences of 15 years to life in each case. Following 3 1/2 years of the most relentless, grueling, and intense advocacy, during which time multiple victorious arguments were devised and put forth on the client's behalf, the outcome was that the client received only a 6-month period of incarceration in a federal facility followed by a 6-month term in a federal halfway house for both cases and, as a result, was able to have a fresh start in life. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "The Person Who Gave Me A New Life.")
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges against a medical doctor (Saved the career of a medical doctor from charges that threatened his ability to maintain his license and practice medicine. Racing against time, NiaLena furiously charted a course of intensely aggressive and proactive pretrial representation and emerged victorious with all charges withdrawn only four months after the doctor's arrest. The doctor is now blessed with a promising career where he is able to save patients in need. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "This lawyer saved my career and life.")
  • Rape and sexual assault (As a result of aggressive and proactive pre-indictment investigation and advocacy, NiaLena was victorious in her representation of a university student and convinced law enforcement that no crimes occurred and that the sexual activity was consensual. The young man subsequently returned to college to finish his studies and now has a promising career overseas. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "Best Lawyer Possible.")
  • Multiple counts of conspiracy and sophisticated high-tech firearms trafficking charges (Successfully represented a client charged in two separate and unrelated federal criminal cases, both of which received headline news in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Even though the client was the lead defendant in both cases, NiaLena nevertheless prevented enhancements for leadership role and obstruction of justice and thus very significantly reduced the client's exposure.)
  • Second Opinions (Frequently consulted by lawyers and clients from multiple federal jurisdictions in the country to evaluate various federal criminal cases and provide comprehensive second opinions regarding how to achieve the best possible outcomes for the clients.)
  • Federal criminal charges involving online pharmacies (Victorious in helping a medical doctor escape any prison time and recapture his life and medical career, both of which had been on a downward spiral. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "NiaLena Is More Than Just An Attorney.")
  • Federal criminal tax fraud case and criminal tax fraud conspiracy case heralded as perhaps the largest in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (After four years of grueling analysis not just of the government’s evidence but also of the client's compelling life circumstances that set the stage for his role in the offenses, coupled with relentless and strategic advocacy, the accountant client lost neither his life nor his family to the prison system. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "The First Step in the Right Direction.")
  • Serious drug trafficking charges (Saved a disabled military veteran charged federally in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as a result of criminal activity that stemmed from a long-standing addiction born out of injuries sustained during military service. At the conclusion of more than a year of intense representation, the veteran not only escaped a prison sentence but also serves as a role model to others seeking to conquer their own addictions as well as to young people. Please visit Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "A Life Changing Experience.")
  • Methamphetamine distribution charges in a case described in the press as the "largest meth bust ever in the city of Philadelphia" (All charges against the client were dismissed on the morning of trial after aggressive pretrial representation over the course of almost 1 1/2 years.)
  • Mediation (NiaLena was retained by a senior partner as well as another member of their law firm because she was the only person that they could both agree upon that they trusted enough to be strong but yet fair in trying to resolve their emotionally and financially complex disputes that threatened the existence of their law firm. Through her fair and steady reasoning, NiaLena was able to identify common ground so as to diffuse the highly-charged situation in order to build a necessary bridge between the parties and negotiate a resolution that not only addressed the legal issues but also helped repair the relationship of the parties. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "Super Lawyer!!!")
  • Mail fraud conspiracy involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss to an international corporation (Successfully represented a business consultant in a federal white collar crime case in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania during more than two years of very intense representation. Through her zeal, NiaLena uncovered the client’s mental health challenges and compelling life difficulties that occurred in his native land during his childhood and also after he emigrated to the U.S. and that have haunted him all these years, thereby playing a seismic role regarding the reason that he found himself involved in this criminal activity. This psychiatric analysis, coupled with the use of experts and persistence, resulted in a victory for the client who was able to avoid losing his life and career and instead was able to begin a new road in life. Please visit the Case Successes page on NiaLena's website for more details as well as Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "More Than A Defense Attorney – A Friend & Fierce Advocate Of Her Clients.")
  • Massive loan and wire fraud conspiracy involving several millions of dollars in loss to numerous lending institutions (Successfully represented a businesswoman in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a federal white collar crime case where, as a result of key efforts early on, NiaLena succeeded in reducing by half the loss amount with which her client was charged. Following two years of relentless representation, NiaLena persistently struggled and eventually succeeded in helping her client to acknowledge her very serious and painful life circumstances which resulted in her crimes in this case. NiaLena then proceeded to meticulously and strategically devise a very complicated and unusual argument in an attempt to save her client from spending 15 years in prison and, in the end, managed to win a sentence of slightly over one year. Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com in order to read the full client review entitled "NiaLena Is Awesome.")
  • Racketeering (RICO) Conspiracy, Attempted Arson, and Extortion (Successfully represented a high-ranking leader in the Ironworkers Union Local 401 in federal court with relentless drive and pinpoint strategy over the course of one and a half years in a multi-defendant criminal case with voluminous electronic surveillance. Please visit Avvo.com in order to read the full review posted by the client and entitled "Meticulous NiaLena.")
  • Corporate tax audit by the IRS of multiple businesses located in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The IRS matters were successfully resolved and no criminal charges were filed following intense and strategic coordination with a forensic accountant for 1 1/2 years.

Representative Clients:

  • NiaLena's federal criminal clients vary and have ranged from an NSA employee with the highest security clearance levels working overseas in the area of global intelligence, to a Washington D.C. senior executive of a Fortune 500 financial company, to medical doctors and pharmacists from various states in the U.S., to a powerful Senator, to a top-level federal government official within the U.S. Department of Justice, to a high-ranking federal government official from the central banking system of the U.S., to the alleged kingpins of major drug trafficking organization, to an alleged made member of La Cosa Nostra (LCN), to Arab Americans and Russian-Ukranian Americans and other ethnic backgrounds, to the Chairman and CEO of an out-of-state mortgage company, to a global exporter of automobiles to the Middle East and Far East, to fellow lawyers, to police officers, to a disabled veteran who proudly served our country, to the principal of a nationwide advertising agency, to an Olympic boxing hopeful, to a world-touring musician, to university students, and to many other fellow citizens of our community.  Please visit NiaLena's profile on Avvo.com to read various reviews posted by former clients

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • NiaLena's closing argument on behalf of Frank Gambino in the highly publicized organized crime trial of U.S. v. Joseph Merlino was chosen in a nationwide contest and featured by the Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy in Houston. It is still being used to this day by professors around the country as a way to instruct students.

Video:

  • "AV Preeminent Lawyer" rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Video clip can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP7UGIHveOM.
  • News coverage from the the federal mob RICO trial of United States v. Joseph Merlino et al. as well as from the political corruption trial of United States v. Vincent Fumo. Video clips can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/NiaLena1.

Educational Background:

  • The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, B.S. in Economics , Graduated May 1988 (Cum Laude), Dual Major in Multinational Management and Marketing Boston University School of Law (Juris Doctor, May 1993); Honors included (1) Commencement Award (BNA Law Student Award), (2) American Jurisprudence Award (Criminal Trial Practice), (3) Edward F. Hennessey Scholar, and (4) Commencement Speaker to the Faculty

Industry Groups

  • Federal Criminal Defense
  • Comments

    • “NiaLena combines intelligence, hard work and creativity with an commitment to making an extraordinary difference with her clients. She is widely admired by judges and lawyers for her because she fights hard for her clients without ever compromising her integrity.”
    • “Although not in the same firm, I share space with Nialena. I have seen first hand NiaLena's tenacity, dedication to her clients and caring attitude. If I needed a criminal defense lawyer...NiaLena would be my first call.”
    • “The last issue of SuperLawyers showed NiaLena on the cover with the headline "Fierce." While she is certainly can be fierce to her adversaries, she is also compassionate with her clients. I have not met a lawyer who cares more about her clients or goes further to get them what they need - always in an ethical fashion.”
    • “NiaLena is a tireless, passionate advocate for her clients. She gives them everything she has. She truly cares about them as the people that they are. She cares about their lives, about their families, about their desires and about their insecurities. She becomes their counselor, their advocate, their confidant, and their friend. She combines all of the above with a brilliant legal mind, making her a formidable trial lawyer.”
    • “If I were arrested I would want NiaLena to represent me. She is relentless in the defense of her clients”
    • “Tireless in her preparation, loved by her clients and respected by her peers!”
    • “NiaLena is incredibly dedicated to her clients, and it shows in the results she achieves time and time again. Capable, independent, hard-working, honest.A person of the highest integrity who is an asset to our profession.”

    These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

    Office Location for NiaLena Caravasos

    926 Public Ledger Building
    620 Chestnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106

    Phone: 215-925-5200

     

    NiaLena Caravasos:

    Last Updated: 3/30/2017

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