HIGH-STAKES FEDERAL & WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE – ON SUPER LAWYERS COVER IN PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE & DESCRIBED AS "FIERCE"
A driving cornerstone of NiaLena's success is her passionate advocacy and her belief in traveling "the road less traveled by" made so famous by the poet, Robert Frost. Differing from most of her colleagues, NiaLena has tremendous compassion and focuses first on her clients as people. She utilizes a unique all-encompassing approach in an effort to help them during their representation because she realizes that clients who have been caught in the crosshairs of a criminal investigation are typically also dealing with a variety of other serious issues that transcend the confines of their specific legal case. Differing again from most other criminal lawyers, NiaLena is a graduate from the renowned Wharton School and also has work experience in the international business world. Consequently, she is also able to identify with many of the challenges facing white collar crime defendants in a manner that her colleagues cannot. Often setting her own course, NiaLena is known for always putting her clients' interests first: that reputation was initially earned when she was the youngest and only female attorney representing a high-ranking organized crime figure in the federal RICO trial of U.S. v. Joseph Merlino and yet did not hesitate to separate her client, Frank Gambino, and go against the old-boys network of other criminal lawyers representing mafia co-defendants. Her client who emerged from the trial victorious through his acquittals of attempted murder and racketeering charges and with an outcome better than the other defendants was the beneficiary of NiaLena's individual courage, relentlessness, and strategic creativity. NiaLena's closing argument on behalf of Frank Gambino was then chosen in a nationwide contest and featured by the Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy in Houston, and it is still being used to this day by professors around the country as a way to instruct students.
- NiaLena was recently spotlighted by "Super Lawyers" in a feature article entitled "Fierce" and is also the only criminal defense lawyer ever featured on the "Super Lawyers" cover in Philadelphia Magazine;
- Honored by Super Lawyers as one of the "Top 50 Women" in Pennsylvania in 2019, 2017, 2016 and 2015, which recognizes the "Top 50 Women" across the state among all legal practice areas;
- Selected repeatedly by peers as a “PA Super Lawyer,” NiaLena was recognized in “Criminal Defense” in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009 & 2008;
- NiaLena is honored to have been awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Membership" among America’s Top 100 Attorneys® starting in 2016 and continuing in 2017, 2018 and 2019;
- NiaLena is honored to have been awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Membership" among America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys® starting in 2018 and continuing in 2019;
- Honored to be selected in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than 1/2 of 1% of American lawyers, where fellowship is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation and superior ethical reputation. The number of Fellowships has been kept at an exclusive limit by design, and Fellows are generally at the partner or shareholder level or are independent practitioners with recognized experience and accomplishment;
- Honored repeatedly as “Preeminent Lawyer in America” with highest professional rating for legal ability & ethical standards (AV) along with the recognition among the Top-Rated Legal Leaders by Martindale-Hubbell;
- Honored repeatedly by Avvo as "Top Federal Crime Lawyer" with “Superb” 10.0 rating;
- Selected by Rue Ratings as one of the “Best Attorneys Of America” and invited starting in 2014 to become a Lifetime Charter Member, a distinction extended to the 100 “Best Attorneys” in Pennsylvania and to less than one percent (1%) of the most qualified and accomplished attorneys in the United States;
- Recognized by Corporate INTL as "Criminal Defense Law Firm of the Year in Pennsylvania" for 2017, 2016 and 2015 as well as “Global Awards Winner - PA Criminal Defense & White Collar Crime Attorney of the Year” for 2017, 2016, 2012 and 2011 and “PA Law Firm Of The Year in Criminal Law & White Collar Crime” for 2010;
- Awarded the M&A International Global Award for 2013 as well as the Lawyers World Leading Lawyer Award - “Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year - Pennsylvania” in 2012;
- Honored as only female criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania invited to join the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, where membership is obtained by special invitation from The National Trial Lawyers & extended only to those "Top 100" in every state who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature & profile as trial lawyers;
- Selected by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (AIOCLA) as one of the "10 Best" Attorneys in Pennsylvania in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 and as one of the "10 Best" Law Firms in Pennsylvania in 2015 for Client Satisfaction in the practice area of Criminal Law;
- Named as a "Top 10" Criminal Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania for 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys;
- Recognized among "America's Most Honored Professionals" in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015;
- Youngest & only female attorney to defend a reputed organized crime figure in the nearly 5-month federal RICO mob trial of U.S. v. Joseph Merlino. Following the jury’s acquittal of her client of racketeering and attempted murder charges, NiaLena’s closing argument was selected among nationwide submissions & spotlighted by the Center for Criminal Justice Advocacy;
- Youngest & only female member of defense trial team representing Senator Vincent Fumo, long regarded as the most powerful PA politician, in his 5-month high-profile trial in federal court, where NiaLena was co-author of an emergency motion headlining The New York Times & ABC News.
NiaLena's federal criminal defense practice is primarily focused in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (including Philadelphia and the surrounding counties) but also includes the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, the Washington, D.C. Metro area and Eastern District of Virginia, and multiple jurisdictions in the United States. The depth of her experience includes the defense of cases under investigation by various government agencies. NiaLena invites all readers to visit her website for a more comprehensive discussion on her career.