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About me

Neal R. Sonnett heads his own Miami, Florida, law firm, concentrating on the defense of corporate, white collar and complex criminal cases throughout the United States. Prior to entering private practice, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division for the Southern District of Florida.


Neal has represented a roster of high profile clients, including major national corporations, banking institutions, prominent business executives, bankers, attorneys, physicians, and federal and state political figures. He has served as counsel in regulatory and grand jury investigations, trials and appeals and federal sentencing guideline and post-conviction issues in environmental crimes, health care, insurance, securities, tax, and mail fraud cases, election law violations, money laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Arms Export Control Act cases, federal asset forfeiture, international extradition, and attorney ethics and disciplinary matters.


Neal has been honored three times by the National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers In America" and has been profiled by that publication as one of the "Nation's Top Litigators" and one of the "Nation's Top White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers." He has been included in every edition since 1983 of The Best Lawyers in America and has been recognized as a top lawyer by numerous international, national, and Florida publications.


While maintaining a successful and active trial practice, Neal has been a leader in the legal profession on the local, state, and national level. He is a member of the ABA Board of Governors, a past member of the ABA Nominating Committee, and a former Chair of both the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the Criminal Justice Section, which he represented in the ABA House of Delegates for the past 14 years. He has served as  Chair of the  Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs and three
major ABA Task Forces related to rule of law issues:  the Task Force on Treatment of Enemy
Combatants; the Task Force on Domestic Surveillance in the Fight Against
Terrorism; and the Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of
Powers Doctrine. He also served as the ABA’s Observer for the
Guantanamo Military Commission trials.


Neal is a Past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense
Lawyers, the American Judicature Society, the national Criminal Justice Foundation, the Florida Bar Foundation, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Federal Bar Association South Florida chapter, and the Dade County Bar
Association. He currently chairs the AJS Task Force on Judicial Independence.


Neal has been widely recognized for his service to his profession and the criminal justice system. Among many awards, he was named by the 11th Circuit Historical Society as a 2009 South Florida “Legal Legend,” received the 2008 “John H. Pickering Award of Achievement” from the American Bar Association and the 2007 Outstanding Service Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, and the 2007 "Alumnus of Distinction" award from the University of Miami School of Law, only the fourth time that honor has been conferred. In December 2006, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and delivered the  Commencement Address at Nova Southeastern Law School.  


In 1989, Neal received The Florida Bar Foundation Medal Of Honor, the highest award that can be bestowed upon a lawyer by the legal profession in Florida, for “dedicated service in improving the administration of the criminal justice system and in protecting individual rights precious to our American Constitutional form of government.” He also received the 1993 ADL Jurisprudence Award for his “distinguished service and inspiring leadership in preserving liberty, counteracting bigotry and advancing the cause of human rights.”


Practice areas


  1. White Collar Crime: 40%
    49 years
  2. Federal Crime: 30%
    49 years
  3. Criminal Defense: 20%
    49 years
  4. Ethics: 10%

Attorney endorsements

1 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Scott C. Cox

    I endorse this lawyer. Mr. Sonnett is the best criminal defense attorney I have ever had the privilege of working a case with. I tried a 6 week long trial with him in federal court in Louisville, Kentucky several years ago. He was the best lawyer in the courtroom, by a long shot. I would recommend him to anyone who has a serious criminal problem. He will do an amazing job for you, whether your case is in state or federal court, anywhere in the nation. He is without peer.


    Scott Cox Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact info

Neal R. Sonnett, P.A.
2 S Biscayne Blvd Ste 2600
Miami, Florida, 331311819


FLMember in Good Standing196706/21/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
John H. Pickering AwardAmerican Bar Association2008
Alumnus of DistinctionUniversity of Miami School of Law2007
William R. Butler Community Service Award University of Miami Alumni Association2007
Honorary Doctor of Laws Nova Southeastern University Law School2006
Selig Goldin Memorial AwardThe Florida Bar Criminal Law Section2006
Daniel S. Pearson-Harry W. Prebish Founders AwardFlorida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers2005
Stanley Milledge Award American Civil Liberties Union of Miami2005
Charles R. English Memorial AwardAmerican Bar Association Criminal Justice Section2001
Wm. Reece Smith Award for Public ServiceStetson University College of Law1997
Jurisprudence AwardAnti-Defamation League, Florida Region1993
Outstanding Past Voluntary Bar Association President AwardFlorida Council of Bar Association Presidents1990
Medal Of HonorThe Florida Bar Foundation1989
Robert Heeney Memorial AwardNational Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers1989
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Managing PartnerNeal R. Sonnett, P.A.1993 - Present
Managing PartnerSonnett Sale & Kuehne, P.A.1987 - 1993
PartnerBierman Sonnett Shohat & Sale, P.A.1972 - 1987
Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief, Criminal DivisionUnited States Department of Justice1967 - 1972
Association namePosition nameDuration
American Bar AssociationMember, Board of Governors2009 - Present
American Bar AssociationChair, Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities2008 - Present
American Bar AssociationMember, Nominating Committee2006 - Present
American Judicature SocietyPresident2006 - 2007
Florida Bar FoundationPresident1997 - 1998
American Bar AssociationChair, Criminal Justice Section1992 - 1993
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers groupPresident1989 - 1990
American Bar AssociationMember, House of Delegates1986 - 2008
Metropolitan Bar CaucusPresident1985 - 1986
Florida Association of Criminal Defense LawyersPresident1984 - 1985
Dade County Bar AssociationPresident1983 - 1984
Federal Bar Association, South Florida ChapterPresident1971 - 1972
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Miami School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1967