Ezekiel E. Cortez

Top rated white collar crimes attorney in San Diego, California

Law Office of Ezekiel E. Cortez
Ezekiel E. Cortez
Law Office of Ezekiel E. Cortez

Practice Areas: White collar crimes, Criminal defense; view more

Licensed in California since: 1984

Education: University of San Diego School of Law

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2023

Law Office of Ezekiel E. Cortez

550 West C Street
Suite 620
San Diego, CA 92101 Visit website


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 37 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

Criminal defense: white collar, Criminal defense

Focus areas

White collar crime, Criminal law - federal

  • 60% Criminal defense: white collar
  • 40% Criminal defense

First Admitted: 1984, California

Professional Webpage: http://ezekielecortez.com

Educational Background:
  • San Diego City College, A.A.
  • California State University, San Diego, B.A., in Political Science, 1980
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)
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Criminal Law Specialist - California State Bar, Board of Legal Specialization
  • 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
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
Industry Groups:
  • Federal - Criminal Defense

Office location for Ezekiel E. Cortez

550 West C Street
Suite 620
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-237-0309

Attorney resources for Ezekiel E. Cortez

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