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J. W. Carney, Jr.

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in Boston, MA

J. W. Carney, Jr. and Associates
20 Park Plaza, Suite 1405
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617-404-9683
Fax: 857-336-6948
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022
Licensed in Massachusetts Since: 1978
Practice Areas: Criminal Defense, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI
Attorney Profile

J.W. Carney, Jr. is the founder of J.W. Carney, Jr. & Associates, located in Boston, Massachusetts. Focusing his practice exclusively on criminal defense, he represents people throughout the state who have been charged with such misdemeanors and felonies as motor vehicle homicide, murder and manslaughter, domestic violence, drug distribution and trafficking, sexual assaults and abuse of both adults and children, RICO prosecutions, shaken-baby cases and wire fraud, embezzlement and other white collar crimes.

Mr. Carney pursued his undergraduate education at College of the Holy Cross, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1975. He then went on to attend Boston College Law School and was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1978. Following law school, Mr. Carney spent several years as a public defender with what was then known as the Massachusetts Defenders Committee. He then served as an assistant district attorney with the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office until 1988, when he left to establish his own private practice. Admitted to practice in Massachusetts, Mr. Carney is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Carney's work has included numerous high-profile criminal cases, including being appointed by the court to defend James "Whitey" Bulger. He has achieved an exceptional reputation among his fellow professionals, as demonstrated by his AV* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell and his selection for inclusion in the list of The Best Lawyers in America each year since 1998. A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 1996, Mr. Carney has been an active participant in the Boston Bar Association and has been a contributing author to the leading treatise on Massachusetts criminal defense practice. He is frequently asked to give presentations at continuing legal education seminars.

*AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general practice standards.

Practice Areas
  • 70%Criminal Defense
  • 30%Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • 0%Criminal Defense: DUI/DWI


19 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2022

Certificates and Credentials

About J. W. Carney, Jr.

First Admitted: 1978, Massachusetts

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Boston College Law School Alumni Association, President
  • Judicial Nominating Commission
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow since 1996
  • Boston Bar Association, Past Officer
  • Massachusetts
  • Criminal Justice Act Board, Federal judges of Massachusetts

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Editor of the treatise, Massachusetts Evidence: A Courtroom Reference
  • Opening Statements at trial, Closing Arguments, and Sentencing Advocacy
  • Contributor, Take the Witness: The Experts Speak On Cross-Examination

Representative Clients

  • James "Whitey" Bulger
  • John Salvi
  • Tarek Mehanna (a terrorism case)


  • One of The Most Influential Lawyers in Massachusetts, The preeminent legal publication in Massachusetts
  • Voted by his peers as one of The Top 100 Lawyers in Massachusetts (out of over 50,000 attorneys)
  • Governor and the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, The preeminent legal publication in Massachusetts
  • Boston magazine identified him as one of The Five Best Private Criminal Defense Attorneys in the state
  • The Best Lawyers in America since 1998

Educational Background

  • Holy Cross College, 1975


  • “Excellent trial lawyer. Not afraid to take on the most difficult cases involving unpopular clients.”

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

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Office Location for J. W. Carney, Jr.

20 Park Plaza
Suite 1405
Boston, MA 02116

Phone: 617-404-9683

Fax: 857-336-6948

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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