John G. Swomley

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney in Boston, MA

Swomley & Tennen, LLP
 | 50 Congress Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: 617-861-8540
Fax: 617-227-8059
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2010, 2015 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1990
Practice Areas:
  • Criminal Defense (70%),
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar (10%),
  • Civil Rights (10%),
  • Schools & Education (10%)
Attorney Profile

John G. Swomley is the founder of Swomley & Tennen, LLP, located in Boston, Massachusetts. Providing representation to clients throughout the surrounding areas, he focuses his practice on complex criminal defense as well as civil litigation matters such as employment discrimination and medical malpractice in trials at both the trial and appellate levels.

Mr. Swomley received his Bachelor of Arts in 1983 from Haverford College. He then attended Boston University School of Law and was awarded his Juris Doctor in 1987. Admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts, Mr. Swomley is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.

After graduation from law school, Mr. Swomley represented indigent clients at the Brooklyn criminal defense office of The Legal Aid Society before entering private practice in 1992. During his career, he has represented thousands of people who have been charged with criminal offenses and hundreds who have been involved in civil disputes. His astute work for his clients has led to numerous not-guilty verdicts in criminal courts as well as favorable settlements and verdicts for his civil clients.

Dedicated to the furtherance of his profession and the development of new attorneys, Mr. Swomley regularly teaches classes at his law school alma mater and delivers presentations at continuing legal education seminars. A member of the board of directors of Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, he is an active participant in several other professional organizations, including the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Criminal Defense (70%): Drug & Alcohol Violations, Murder, Sex Offenses

Criminal Defense: White Collar (10%)

Civil Rights (10%): Police Misconduct

Schools & Education (10%)

Focus Areas

Drug & Alcohol Violations, Murder, Sex Offenses, Police Misconduct


Selected to Super Lawyers for 11 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2010, 2015 - 2019

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About John Swomley

Admitted: 1990, Massachusetts

Professional Webpage:


  • In 2000, he was awarded the Paul Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award by the Committee for Public Counsel Services for zealous advocacy on behalf of indigent defendants
  • Since 2005, Attorney Swomley has repeatedly been recognized as a "Super Lawyer" as published in Boston Magazine

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Certified to accept murder cases in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Committee for Public Counsel Services

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • United States Supreme Court, 2003
  • U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York, 2001
  • U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Massachusetts, 1992
  • U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York, 1991
  • U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, 1991
  • Massachusetts State Bar, 1990
  • New York State Bar, 1988
  • Member of the Criminal Justice Act panel of attorneys authorized to represent indigent defendants in U.S. District Court
  • Member of the murder panel, a group of lawyers qualified by the Committee for Public Counsel Services to represent indigent defendants in murder prosecutions throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Member, Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) working group
  • Member, Criminal Justice Policy Coalition
  • Member, National Police Accountability Project
  • Member, American Civil Liberties Union (Massachusetts)
  • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member, Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Board of Directors, Suffolk Lawyers for Justice

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Guest lecturer at Massachusetts colleges on a variety of topics including: Williams College (the innocence of Bernard Baran), Brandeis School of Journalism (investigative journalism and innocence cases), B.U. School of Journalism (investigative journalism and innocence cases), Berkshire County Community College (forum on Day Care Center panic cases).
  • Guest lecturer at Massachusetts law schools on a variety of legal topics including: Harvard University Law School (defense of innocence cases, developments in employment discrimination law, representation of persons accused of probation violations, the Hip Hop Summit); Boston University School of Law (see above), Northeastern University School of Law (grand jury issues, bail arguments, cross-examination skills, trial advocacy), Boston College Law School (trial advocacy and grand jury presentations), Suffolk University Law School (trial advocacy), New England School of Law (debated the abolition of the statute of limitations for sex crimes).
  • 2007, Innocence Project Annual Conference, Harvard Law School: In June, 2007, Attorney Swomley succeeded in winning a new trial motion for Bernard Baran, an innocent man wrongfully incarcerated for over 22 years. Since that time, Attorney Swomley has participated in various conferences and panel discussions educating others on how to effectively argue non-DNA innocence cases.
  • 2005 and 2007, Massachusetts Association for Treatment of Sex Abusers ("MATSA") Conference: Attorney Swomley is periodically asked by the MATSA to lead a workshop on recent developments in sex offender laws for the annual conference MATSA puts on in Marlborough, MA.
  • 2008, Sexually Dangerous Persons ("SDP") Commitment Law Training, White Plains, New York: Trained the Mental Health Litigation Unit of the New York Legal Aid Society how to defend SDP cases brought under New York's new Sex Offender Civil Management Act.
  • 1995 to present, Boston University School of Law, Legal Externship Program: Attorney Swomley returns to his alma mater every year and lectures on Zealous Advocacy. In addition, he has taught a Professional Responsibility seminar and has lectured on First Amendment issues and wrongful convictions.
  • Suffolk University School of Law, (1998-2001), Attorney Swomley taught criminal trial advocacy in the Suffolk Defenders program. He trained student attorneys in trial skills and supervised them as the represented indigent defendants in District Court.


  • Commonwealth v. Aspen, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 278, 2014
  • Commonwealth v. Baran, 74 Mass. App. Ct. 256, 2009

Educational Background:

  • B.A., Haverford College, 1983
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Office Location for John G. Swomley

50 Congress Street
Suite 600
Boston, MA 02109

Phone: 617-861-8540

Fax: 617-227-8059

John G. Swomley:

Last Updated: 7/22/2019

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