Law Offices of Ezekiel E. Cortez

Law Offices of Ezekiel E. Cortez

A Client Focused, Highly-Experienced Boutique Trial Law Firm Specializing in Federal Criminal Defense and Other Federal Matters Locally and Nationally for Over 30 Years.

Firm Overview

Complex White-Collar Federal Criminal Defense
Complex Mortgage and Bank Fraud Investigations
Federal Appeals and Habeas Corpus Litigation
Prosecutorial and Law Enforcement Misconduct
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Lawyer Malfeasance
Federal Corporate Compliance and Criminal Risk Assessment
Select Federal and State Civil Litigation And Other Federal Matters

Mr. Cortez is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, after passing the federal specialist examination.

As a career federal criminal defense attorney, Mr. Cortez has devoted himself to the defense of those under pre-indictment investigation and those under indictment by the federal Government. His causes have been the underdog, the persecuted and the outnumbered in federal courts. He began his life-long career as a federal criminal trial lawyer in 1983 at the then nationally preeminent Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., defending the poor who could not afford to hire a lawyer.

As an experienced lawyer of last resort, Mr. Cortez has also handled post conviction Habeas Corpus litigation of unique cases, involving a variety of legal defects such as prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, lawyer malfeasance and other constitutional violations. Mr. Cortez also handles selected federal civil matters and is also a consultant on case strategy in federal criminal and selected civil matters in state and federal courts.

Mr. Cortez's legal ability and ethical conduct have been rated as AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. For decades, Mr. Cortez has also been recognized by The Best Lawyers In America the preeminent standard of excellence for the legal profession. He has been listed annually in San Diego Magazine's "Best Lawyers In San Diego" since 2001, as one of only a handful of elite criminal defense lawyers once described by the magazine as the type of lawyer that other "attorneys would go to if they needed a [federal criminal defense] lawyer."

Mr. Cortez has also been selected by Super Lawyers continuously since 2007 in the White Collar and Corporate Counsel categories and described there as one of the "Seriously Outstanding Top 5%" in his field. The prestigious, national, yearly survey of the U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms has selected Mr. Cortez's law firm for this distinguished honor since 2010, including the 2014 Edition.

As an ambassador for his profession, Mr. Cortez was twice awarded Fulbright Scholarships in 2004 and in 2005 by the U. S. State Department to teach the American system of adversarial jury trial techniques to Chilean defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges at the University of Concepcin, in Concepcin and also in Temuco, Chile. Mr. Cortez has taught Criminal Justice Administration at San Diego State University and at Moscow University (MGU) in Moscow, Russia. He has also taught trial skills and techniques as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego and California Western Schools of Law and has taught advanced trial techniques to experienced trial lawyers for CACJ, NACDL and various trial institutes.

Main Office

Main Office
550 West C Street, Suite 790
San Diego, CA 92101



Criminal Defense

The Law Offices of Ezekiel E. Cortez of will represent your Criminal Defense legal matters.

The Law Offices of Ezekiel E. Cortez of will represent your Criminal Defense legal matters.

Ezekiel E. Cortez

Law Offices of Ezekiel E. Cortez

Practice Areas
-Complex White Collar Fraud
-RICO and Drug Conspiracies
-Drug Trafficking
-Health Care Fraud
-Federal Appeals
-Federal Habeas Corpus Litigation
-Select Federal Civil Matters
-Prosecutorial Misconduct
-Criminal Risk Management
-Attorney Malfeasance and Ineffective Assistance/Negligence
-Investment fraud
-Corporate Investigations
-Insurance fraud
-All Federal Felonies
-Pre Indictment and Grand Jury
-Civil Rights Litigation
-Case Strategy Consultant

Bar admissions
-California, 1984
-U.S. Supreme Court, 1990
-U.S. District Courts, Southern, Eastern, Central and Northern Districts of California
-U.S. Court of Appeals, Second, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits
-U.S. District Courts, Baltimore and Eastern District of Michigan
-U.S. District Court, District of Colorado

-J.D., University of San Diego, 1983
-BA Political Science, California State University at San Diego 1980
-AA Degree, San Diego City College

-French - Conversational only.
-Italian - conversational only.

Professional associations
-American Bar Association (Member, Sentencing Guidelines Committee, 1990-1991)
-State Bar of California
-Criminal Defense Lawyers Club of San Diego
-National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Biographical details
-Fulbright Scholar, 2004 and 2005;
-Adjunct Professor: California Western School of Law, 1990; University of San Diego, 1989-1990;
-Contributing Author: "Federal Defense Manual," Federal Defenders of San Diego, 1985-1988 editions; "Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties 2008," Routledge Taylor & Francis Group;Criminal Defense Tools and Techniques, Thomas Farrell, James Publishing, Editorial Board;
-Best Lawyers in America continuously listed since 1996
-Member, American Inns of Court, William B. Enright, Alumnus;
-Past Member (13 years service), Board of Directors, Federal Defenders of San Diego and Appellate Defenders, Inc.;
-Current Member, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (Lawyers Disciplinary Committee)
-Past Member (served over 10 years), U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (Magistrate Judge Selection Committee);
-Past JNE Commissioner, California State Bar.
-Successfully passed the GED High school diploma equivalency examination after being expelled from high school.


University of San Diego