Ezekiel E. Cortez

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Appellate Attorney in San Diego, CA

Law Office of Ezekiel E. Cortez
 | 550 West C Street, Suite 620
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-237-0309
Fax: 619-237-8052
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1984
Practice Areas:
  • Appellate (20%),
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar (50%),
  • Criminal Defense (30%)
Languages Spoken:
  • English,
  • Spanish
    Attorney Profile

    Welcome to our law firm's website.

    When you are under investigation and/or prosecuted by the powerful federal government, tenacity, loyalty and vast federal criminal experience are critical to your legal survival.

    We are a highly experienced trial law firm specializing for over 35 years in federal criminal defense and related matters. Because Mr. Cortez is an unwaveringly dedicated career federal criminal defense attorney, our mission is to zealously and ethically protect the Constitutional rights of our clients through the power of law.

    The focus of our dedicated, national practice is strictly on federal crimes with an emphasis on complex cases and cases that involve unique or novel constitutional legal issues. And those cases that seem to be lost causes.

    We also represent clients who have become targets or subjects of a grand jury investigation and those who have received a subpoena to testify or produce documents before a federal grand jury.  Often, the earlier these kinds of cases establish a robust, proactive defense, the better the result for the client.

    One of our unique areas of litigation is serving clients who have been harmed by our own colleagues through lawyer neglect, abandonment or incompetence.  We fight against ineffective assistance of counsel because we are firm enforcers of the 6th Amendment’s guarantee that people charged with crimes be given loyal, effective and seasoned representation.  We are therefore zealous advocates for clients with possible ineffective assistance of counsel claims and do not hesitate to attack fellow lawyers when they have harmed their clients.

    Similarly, we fearlessly deploy our client-centered dedication and unique, deep and robust experience in federal law to the lawful counter-attack of the federal prosecutors and federal agents who deprive our clients of their Constitutional rights and of their basic humanity. As enforcers and protectors of the highest law in the land - the U.S. Constitution - we are Lady Justice's warriors and servants.

    A 1980 graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, Mr. Cortez attended the University of San Diego School of Law and was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1983. Before founding his own firm, he spent several years with Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., providing defense representation to people who were unable to afford an attorney. Admitted to practice in California, Mr. Cortez is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 10th and 11th Circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

    A recipient of an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell and a "Superb" peer review rating through Avvo, Mr. Cortez has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 1996. He has served as an adjunct professor at his law school alma mater, at California Western School of Law and at San Diego State University. He is also an active member of several legal organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Lawyers Club of San Diego.

    *AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

    Practice Areas
    • 20%Appellate
    • 50%Criminal Defense: White Collar
    • 30%Criminal Defense
    Focus Areas

    Appeals, White Collar Crime, Criminal Law - Federal


    Selected to Super Lawyers for 15 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2021

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    The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The use of the internet or this contact form for communication is not necessarily a secure environment. Contacting a lawyer or law firm email through this service will not create an attorney-client relationship, and information will not necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential.

    About Ezekiel Cortez

    Admitted: 1984, California

    Professional Webpage: http://ezekielecortez.com


    • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
    • Super Lawyers, 2007 - 2017
    • U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms 2010 to present.
    • Fulbright Scholar, 2004 - 2005
    • One of the Top 50 lawyers in San Diego, Super Lawyers, 2015
    • Best Lawyers in America, 1996 - 2017
    • Member, The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Criminal Defense

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Certified Criminal Law Specialist - California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • U.S. District Court Central District of California
    • Current Member, Lawyers Disciplinary Committee, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Baltimore
    • U.S. Courts of Appeals First Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
    • Member, Sentencing Guidelines Committee, American Bar Association, 1990 - 1991
    • California, 1984
    • Lifetime Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
    • Past Member, Board of Directors, Federal Defenders of San Diego and Appellate Defenders, Inc.
    • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
    • Past JNE Commissioner, California State Bar
    • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
    • Lawyers Club of San Diego, President’s Circle
    • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
    • Criminal Defense Lawyers Club of San Diego
    • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
    • Member, American Inns of Court, William B. Enright, Alumnus
    • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
    • Past Member, Magistrate Judge Selection Committee, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
    • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
    • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
    • State Bar of California
    • U.S. Supreme Court, 1990
    • Member, American Inns of Court, William B. Enright, Alumnus

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Adjunct Professor, California Western School of Law, 1990
    • Adjunct Professor, University of San Diego, 1989 - 1990
    • Contributing Author, "Federal Defense Manual," Federal Defenders of San Diego, 1985 - 1988 Editions
    • Contributing Author, "Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties," Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2008
    • Contributing Author, Defending a Federal Criminal Case,” Federal Defenders of San Diego, 1985-1988 Editions
    • Contributing Author, “Criminal Defense Tools and Techniques,” Thomas Farrell, James Publishing, Editorial Board
    • Contributing Author, “Caveat Advocatus, When They Turn the Tables on You: Potential Federal Criminal and Civil Pitfalls in the Path of the Unsuspecting Civil Litigator”, Inside the Minds Series, Aspatore Books 2015-16 Edition (Thomson Reuters)

    Educational Background:

    • San Diego City College, A.A.
    • California State University, San Diego, B.A., in Political Science, 1980

    Industry Groups

    • Federal - Criminal Defense
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    Office Location for Ezekiel E. Cortez

    550 West C Street
    Suite 620
    San Diego, CA 92101

    Phone: 619-237-0309

    Fax: 619-237-8052

    Ezekiel E. Cortez:

    Last Updated: 12/18/2020

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