Best Hollywood Criminal Lawyers
Hollywood’s Top Criminal Defense Attorneys
Los Angeles is home to some of the most famous, and infamous, celebrity trials in history. From OJ Simpson to Robert Blake, Hollywood stars often find themselves on the wrong side of the law. When a celebrity needs top-notch legal representation, they turn to the best criminal defense attorneys in Hollywood. These lawyers are experienced in handling high-profile cases under intense media scrutiny.
The Dream Team – Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey
In 1994, NFL legend OJ Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson assembled a legal “Dream Team” including Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, and F. Lee Bailey. Cochran famously quipped, “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.” After only four hours of deliberation, the jury found Simpson not guilty on October 3, 1995. The trial was dubbed “the trial of the century” and launched these lawyers into superstardom.Robert Shapiro was the lead attorney representing OJ Simpson. He focused on evidence and DNA analysis. Shapiro has also represented celebrities like Darryl Strawberry, Rob Kardashian, and Eva Longoria. He co-founded LegalZoom, an online legal services company.Johnnie Cochran gained fame with his charismatic closing arguments. Using the phrase “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” he emphasized holes in the prosecution’s case. Cochran represented Sean Combs, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Dogg. He passed away from a brain tumor in 2005.F. Lee Bailey cross-examined Mark Fuhrman, exposing the LA detective’s past use of racial slurs. Bailey was already famous for representing high-profile clients like the Boston Strangler and Patricia Hearst. However, he was disbarred in 2001 for mishandling client funds.
Leslie Abramson – The Lawyer’s Lawyer
Dubbed “the lawyer’s lawyer,” Leslie Abramson has defended celebs like Dr. Kevorkian and the Menendez Brothers. Abramson represented Erik and Lyle Menendez who admitted to murdering their wealthy parents in 1989. She argued the brothers had been sexually abused by their father, but the first trial ended in a hung jury. At the 1996 retrial, the brothers were convicted of first-degree murder.Abramson is admired for her fierce advocacy and masterful cross-examination skills. She has lectured at Harvard Law School and appeared as a legal analyst on CNN and NBC. Her insider’s perspective led her to publish a book titled “The Defense is Ready: Life in the Trenches of Criminal Law.”
Blair Berk – Representing Troubled Stars
Blair Berk has earned a reputation in Hollywood as a top defense lawyer for troubled celebrities. She represented Lindsay Lohan in several DUI and drug possession cases. Berk also defended Mel Gibson during his 2006 Malibu DUI arrest where he made anti-Semitic remarks.Currently, Berk represents actor Johnny Depp in his $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. She is known for aggressively defending her celebrity clients while maintaining strict confidentiality agreements. Berk negotiates plea deals and advocacy sentences like rehab instead of jail time for many clients.
Mark Geragos – The TV Lawyer
No list of celebrity lawyers would be complete without Mark Geragos. He has represented Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and Winona Ryder. Geragos negotiated a plea deal after Winona Ryder was convicted of shoplifting from Saks Fifth Avenue in 2001.Geragos appears frequently as a legal analyst on CNN and NBC’s Law & Order. His media savvy allows him to try cases in the court of public opinion while defending clients in real courts. Geragos has been named “One of the 100 most influential attorneys in California” by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal.
Thomas Mesereau – The King of Acquittals
Thomas Mesereau is best known for getting acquittals in high-stakes trials. He successfully defended Michael Jackson in his 2005 child molestation case. Mesereau portrayed Jackson as a victim of greedy accusers trying to extort money.Mesereau also represented actor Robert Blake in his trial for murdering wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. The jury acquitted Blake on all counts in 2005. Most recently, Mesereau represented Bill Cosby in his sexual assault retrial which ended in a deadlocked jury. For his skill in swaying juries, Mesereau has been dubbed “The King of Acquittals.”
Shawn Holley – Representing the Kardashians
When the Kardashians get in trouble, they call Shawn Holley. She has represented Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan, and Justin Bieber. Holley defended Kim in her 2017 robbery case in Paris. She also negotiated a plea deal for Kanye after he attacked a paparazzo at LAX.Holley worked for Johnnie Cochran early in her career and learned from the best. She is now a partner at the prestigious firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley LLP. Her clients value her ability to quietly make scandals disappear before they make headlines.
Howard Weitzman – The Power Broker
For over 45 years, Howard Weitzman has been a towering figure in Hollywood legal circles. His clients have included OJ Simpson, Marlon Brando, Magic Johnson, and John DeLorean. Weitzman negotiated lenient plea deals for celebrities like Justin Bieber and Sean “P Diddy” Combs.Weitzman possesses extensive connections in the LA courts, politics, and media. Prosecutors and judges respect Weitzman for his low-key style and discretion. Weitzman prefers to strike deals rather than go trial. His power and discretion allow him to make criminal charges disappear before they ruin a celebrity’s career.
Top criminal defense attorneys in Hollywood are masters at winning trials, negotiating plea deals, and swaying public opinion. They understand the importance of keeping celebrity mishaps out of the spotlight. While their legal fees are astronomical, for the rich and famous, staying out of jail is priceless. In Hollywood, the top criminal lawyer is the first phone call after getting arrested.