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NiaLena Caravasos
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NiaLena Caravasos

Practice areas:

Federal Crime, White Collar Crime, Criminal Defense

About Me

Described as "Fierce" & Featured on Super Lawyers Cover in Philadelphia Magazine.


 


NiaLena is a passionate advocate who believes in Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and who often chooses to travel "the road less traveled by." She has earned the reputation nationally as well as internationally as one of the top federal criminal defense lawyers in both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and of not being afraid to separate her clients and fight individually, strategically, creatively, and relentlessly. As a result, many of her courtroom successes as a criminal defense lawyer have come in matters that others considered hopeless. Her efforts to always leave no stone unturned were also acknowledged on the record at the end of May 2010 during her representation of the principal of a nationwide advertising agency in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania when the Honorable Paul S. Diamond stated, “You’ve gone to an enormous … you’ve put an enormous amount of work into this.  I want you to know how much I appreciate all the work you’ve done.  I certainly hope your client appreciates it as well.”  Unlike most other lawyers, NiaLena employs a uniquely holistic approach in representing her clients, for she recognizes that people who have come under criminal scrutiny usually face a myriad of other deep-rooted problems far beyond their legal case.  It is NiaLena's unique legal and human qualities that culminated in her being chosen as the subject of a feature story entitled "Fierce" that was recently written about her by Super Lawyers and in her selection as the only criminal defense lawyer to ever be featured on the "Super Lawyers" cover in Philadelphia Magazine. Moreover, NiaLena was also recently honored by Super Lawyers in 2015 as one of the "Top 50 Women" in Pennsylvania, which recognizes the "Top 50 Women" among all legal practice areas.


 


NiaLena's federal criminal defense practice extends not only to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (including Philadelphia and its surrounding counties of Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Lehigh County, Lancaster County, and Northampton County) and the Middle District of Pennsylvania (including Harrisburg, Scranton, Williamsport, and Wilkes-Barre), but also to the District of New Jersey (including Camden, Trenton, and Newark) and multiple jurisdictions in the United States, and she has achieved victories in high-profile federal and state criminal cases and in extremely complicated federal drug trafficking and white collar cases involving extensive electronic surveillance and wiretaps. Her high-profile cases include the violent crime acquittals for an alleged mafia figure in the four-month Merlino federal RICO trial, dismissal of charges in one of Philadelphia’s largest meth arrests, reversal of a 22-year-old murder conviction, representation of a Washington D.C. senior executive of a Fortune 500 financial company facing federal criminal charges, and the current representation of two high-ranking federal government officials (one from a bureau within the U.S. Department of Justice and the other from the central banking system of the U.S.).


 


The breadth of her experience includes defending cases under investigation by various agencies, including but not limited to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); United States Secret Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); Office of Inspector General (OIG); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and United States Postal Inspection Service.


 


NiaLena was the youngest and only female lawyer to defend a reputed organized crime figure in the four-month federal RICO prosecution of United States v. Joseph Merlino as well as the youngest and only female member of the criminal defense trial team representing Senator Vincent Fumo, long regarded as the most powerful politician in Pennsylvania, during his five-month high-profile trial in federal court.


 


Currently retained to represent a Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank as well as a pharmacist and a global exporter of automobiles to the Middle East and Far East and previously retained to represent a high-ranking federal government official in one of the bureaus of the U.S. Department of Justice as well as a Washington D.C. senior executive of a Fortune 500 financial company and a New York Arab-American businessman, NiaLena has been described by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Daily News as a "deliberate," "sincere," "extremely thorough," and "tireless advocate" with "courtroom poise" who "allows no legal issue to escape her attention" and by one of the most respected and recognized crime reporters in the country, George Anastasia, in The Last Gangster as "no-nonsense."


 


Chosen by Rue Ratings as one of the “Best Attorneys Of America” and invited starting in 2014 to become a Lifetime Charter Member, NiaLena was awarded this distinction because she is considered to be one of the 100 “Best Attorneys” in Pennsylvania and in the top one percent (1%) of the most qualified and accomplished attorneys in the United States. NiaLena is also honored to have been selected by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) as one of the "10 Best" Attorneys in Pennsylvania in 2014 and 2015 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law and also as one of the "10 Best" Law Firms in Pennsylvania in 2015 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law. 


 


Moreover, NiaLena is the first female lawyer in private practice in Philadelphia recognized by her peers in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2006, and 2005 as a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in the field of "Criminal Defense" and featured by Philadelphia Magazine and also Law & Politics Magazine. As a "PA Super Lawyer," NiaLena's profile was also included among the "Influential Philadelphia Area Lawyers" profiled in "The Power Fifty" edition of the Philadelphia Magazine.


 


NiaLena has received the "Client Distinction Award" in 2013-2015 and has also achieved the highest professional rating (AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated) by Martindale-Hubbell for every year from 2003 until 2015. Not only is her law firm among only 5% of the law firms in America listed in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™, but she is also recognized among the most elite women in the legal industry through her inclusion in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers™.


 


In addition to NiaLena's law firm being named as the Pennsylvania Law Firm Of The Year in Criminal Law & White Collar Crime in 2015 and 2010 by Corporate INTL Magazine (and being the only PA law firm selected in each category), NiaLena was also selected as a 2012 and 2011 Global Awards Winner and named as the only "Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year" by Corporate INTL Magazine. As a frequent guest speaker at The Wharton School, reviews by students have described NiaLena as having “an extremely interesting insight into law and business” and also that “the ethics of white collar criminal defense are intriguing and she communicates this in such an effective way.”


 


NiaLena is honored and humbled at her recent selection in 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 as the first female criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania invited to join the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers", where membership is obtained by special invitation from The National Trial Lawyers and extended only to those "Top 100" from every state who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as trial lawyers.


 


She is also honored and humbled to have been selected as the only “Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year - Pennsylvania” recipient in 2012 of both the Lawyers World Leading Lawyer Award as well as the Lawyers World Law Award, both of which “recognize a select number of leading professional firms and lawyers across the globe for their individual areas of specialization, within their geographical location.”  Although a number of factors are considered during the judging process, the lawyers selected are those “that are noted for having a high degree of ability in complex situations” and “those that continually innovate” and “perform to exceptional levels during the most difficult period that the global economy has experienced for decades.”


 


NiaLena is proud to serve as a mentor to other women in the legal profession who often seek her guidance and insight and is frequently called upon by The Legal Intelligencer, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and other news organizations to offer unique commentary on current legal issues.


 


 


 

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Languages Spoken: Greek, English

Photos and Videos

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Practice Areas

Licensed since 1993

  1. White Collar Crime: 40%
  2. Federal Crime: 40%
  3. Criminal Defense: 20%

Payment

Fees:

Fixed (Sometimes), Retainer (Sometimes)

Payment Types:

Cash, Check

Attorney Endorsements

12 total 

  • Steven Fisher Fairlie

    NiaLena is the consummate professional. She is a tireless advocate for her clients. She understands them and brings a passion to helping them that is unrivaled. She is also very good at assessing a situation and figuring out the best move to make. I know this because I have collaborated with her on cases and she always comes up with the right step for the client to take next. You can't go wrong calling NiaLena for federal criminal defense matters.

    More 

    Steven Fairlie Criminal Defense Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

  • Mark E Schamel

    I endorse this lawyer's work. I had a client in trouble in Philadelphia on significant charges (rape) and was referred to NiaLena through a former professor we both had many years ago. I worked with her closely on the matter and she was fantastic. My client loved her, his family loved her and I found her to be top notch. The added bonus is that she is a people person who is a great communicator. The perfect mix in a defense attorney. A woman who is at the top of her game and can communicate to all those involved, all the while putting the client first. Exceptional client centered attorney who is going to get regular calls from me for work in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. As for the case, all charges were dismissed pre-Indictment. Excellent job.

    More 

    Mark Schamel White Collar Crime Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact Info

Law Office Of NiaLena Caravasos, LLC

Public Ledger Bldg, Suite 926
150 S. Independence Mall West, 620 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19106-3409

Resume

License

StateStatusAcquiredUpdated
PAActive199408/03/2015
MAInactive199304/17/2015

Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Avvo Contributions

Legal Answers

Awards

Award NameGrantorDate Granted
"Top-Rated Legal Leaders"Martindale-Hubbell2015
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2015
Top 100 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers2015
Criminal Defense Law Firm of the Year in PennsylvaniaCorporate INTL2015
Top 100 Criminal Defense LawyersAmerican Society of Legal Advocates2015
America's Most Honored ProfessionalsAmerican Registry2015
“Best Attorneys Of America” Lifetime Charter MemberRue Ratings2015
Client Distinction AwardMartindale-Hubbell2015
"10 Best" Attorneys in PennsylvaniaAmerican Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys2015
"10 Best" Law Firms in PennsylvaniaAmerican Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys2015
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuperLawyers2015
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2015
"Top 50 Women Super Lawyers"SuperLawyers2015
"Top 50 Women Super Lawyers"Philadelphia Magazine2015
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2014
Top 100 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers2014
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuperLawyers2014
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2014
"10 Best" Attorneys in PennsylvaniaAmerican Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys2014
"Top-Rated Legal Leaders"Martindale-Hubbell2014
Top 100 Criminal Defense LawyersAmerican Society of Legal Advocates2014
“Best Attorneys Of America” Lifetime Charter MemberRue Ratings2014
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuper Lawyers2013
Global AwardM&A International2013
"Top-Rated Legal Leaders"Martindale-Hubbell2013
Top 100 Criminal Defense LawyersAmerican Society of Legal Advocates2013
Top 100 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers2013
Client Distinction AwardMartindale-Hubbell2013
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2013
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2013
Spotlighted in Feature Article Entitled "Fierce"Super Lawyers2013
Featured on "Super Lawyers" CoverPhiladelphia Magazine2013
Business Edition (White Collar Criminal Defense)Super Lawyers2013
"Clients' Choice" Award for "Federal Crime"Avvo2013
"Clients' Choice" Award for "White Collar Crime"Avvo2013
“Top Rated Lawyer in White Collar - Criminal Defense”Martindale-Hubbell2013
“Top Rated Lawyer in White Collar - Criminal Defense”American Lawyer Media2013
Law Award - PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the YearLawyers World2013
"Clients' Choice" Award for "White Collar Crime"Avvo2012
Global Awards ("PA White Collar Crime Attorney of the Year")Corporate INTL2012
Global Awards ("PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year")Corporate INTL2012
“Top Rated Lawyers in Criminal Defense: White Collar”American Lawyer2012
“Top Rated Lawyers in Criminal Defense: White Collar”Corporate Counsel2012
"Clients' Choice" Award for "Federal Crime"Avvo2012
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2012
Top 100 Trial LawyersThe National Trial Lawyers2012
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuper Lawyers2012
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2012
Leading Lawyer Award - PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the YearLawyers World2012
Law Award - PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the YearLawyers World2012
Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers™Martindale-Hubbell2011
Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™Martindale-Hubbell2011
Recognized as a "Top Northeast Lawyer" for Criminal DefenseAvvo (Featured in Arrive Magazine)2011
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuper Lawyers2011
Global Awards ("PA Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year")Corporate INTL2011
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2011
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2010
Pennsylvania Law Firm Of The Year in White Collar CrimeCorporate INTL2010
Pennsylvania Law Firm Of The Year in Criminal LawCorporate INTL2010
Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™Martindale-Hubbell2010
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2009
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuper Lawyers2009
Influential Philadelphia Area LawyersSuper Lawyers2009
"Influential Philadelphia Area Lawyers"Super Lawyers (profile in Philadelphia Magazine)2009
Profiled in "Top Lawyers" editionMain Line Today Magazine2009
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2009
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2008
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2008
"Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense"Super Lawyers2008
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2007
"Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuper Lawyers2006
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2006
"Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2006
"Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer in Criminal DefensePhiladelphia Magazine2005
"Pennsylvania Rising Star Super Lawyer" in Criminal DefenseSuper Lawyers2005
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2005
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2004
Spoltlight: Closing Argument in U.S. v. MerlinoCenter For Criminal Justice Advocacy2003
AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-Hubbell2003
Commencement Speaker to the FacultyBoston University School of Law1993
Edward F. Hennessey ScholarBoston University School of Law1993
American Jurisprudence Award (Criminal Trial Practice)Boston University School of Law1993
Commencement Award (BNA Law Student Award)Boston University School of Law1993
Graduated with Honors (Cum Laude)The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania1988
SelectedWho's Who In American LawN/A

Work Experience

TitleCompany NameDuration
OwnerLaw Office Of NiaLena Caravasos, LLC2009 - Present
PartnerFitzpatrick & Caravasos, PC1997 - 2008
Law ClerkHonorable Lisa Aversa Richette1995 - 1997

Associations

Association NamePosition NameDuration
Massachusetts Bar AssociationMemberN/A
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Section on Medicine, Ethics & the LawMember (by invitation only)N/A
The National Trial Lawyers, Criminal Trial Lawyers' AssociationMember (by invitation only)N/A
The National Trial LawyersMember (by invitation only)N/A
Association of Federal Defense Attorneys (AFDA)MemberN/A
The Wharton Alumni Club of PhiladelphiaMemberN/A
American Hellenic Lawyers AssociationMemberN/A
Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMemberN/A
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMemberN/A
Federal Criminal Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Philadelphia Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Pennsylvania Bar AssociationMemberN/A
American Institute of Criminal Law AttorneysMember (by invitation only)N/A

Legal Cases

Case NameOutcome
U.S. v. Joseph Merlino et al. (Frank Gambino)See below
Commonwealth v. B.C.See below
U.S. v. C.R.See below

See all Legal Cases 

Publications

Publication NameTitleDate
Oxford University PressThe Evolution of Forensic Psychiatry: History, Current Developments, Future Directions2015
Super Lawyers"Fierce"2013
Aspatore Book publication (Thomson Reuters)Inside the Minds: Jury Selection in Criminal Cases2013
The Richmond Journal of Law and the Public InterestIneffective Assistance of Counsel2000
The ForumIneffective Assistance of Counsel1999
The Philadelphia LawyerIneffective Assistance of Counsel1999

Education

School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
Boston University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1993
University of PennsylvaniaEconomics (Dual Major in Multinational Management and Marketing)BS - Bachelor of Science1988

Speaking Engagements

Conference NameTitleDate
Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Training ProgramForensic Psychiatry and Federal Criminal Defense2013
National Youth Rights Association, University of Pennsylvania"Know Your Rights"2012
"Leadership In The Business World," The Wharton SchoolChanging Perception of White Collar Crime and Ethical Leadership2009
Management 100, The Wharton SchoolPublic Speaking and Client Presentations2007
"Leadership In The Business World," The Wharton SchoolEthical Issues In Criminal Defense2007
Management 100, The Wharton SchoolCollecting Evidence in Consulting Projects2006
"Leadership In The Business World," The Wharton SchoolCriminal Defense and the Defense of White Collar Crime2006
Management 100, The Wharton SchoolCultivating Client Relationships in Consulting2005
"Leadership In The Business World," The Wharton SchoolViolent Crime versus White Collar Crime2005
Management 100, The Wharton SchoolLeadership Issues and Group Dynamics2004
"Leadership In The Business World," The Wharton SchoolDefense of Corporate Executives Charged with White Collar Crime2004
17th Annual Criminal Law Symposium"A Game of Hide and Seek? Discovery in Criminal Law Cases"2000
"Leadership In The Business World," The Wharton SchoolDefense of Corporate Executives Charged with White Collar Crime1999