Michael Kawi has dedicated his career to defending people charged with criminal offenses in both state and federal court.  Through his extensive jury trial experience, Michael has earned a reputation as a top-tier attorney who can find a way to succeed even in the most difficult cases.

Prior to starting his own practice, Michael worked as an Assistant Federal Public Defender at The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Northern District of Texas in Dallas, TX. ​ In this role, he represented clients sentenced to death in federal post-conviction proceedings and trained post-conviction attorneys in courtroom procedure and technique. ​ He also served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Trial Unit, representing clients facing criminal charges in federal court. ​ During his time in the Trial Unit, Michael conducted multiple federal jury trials resulting in acquittals and extensively litigated over 50 other federal cases.

Before transitioning into federal court, Michael began his legal career as a trial attorney at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office in Miami, FL, where he gained invaluable trial experience and quickly built a reputation as a lawyer who would tirelessly defend the rights of his clients in court. ​ Working in various divisions, including the Felony Division, Juvenile Unit, and Domestic Representation Unit, Michael conducted numerous jury trials, bench trials, and depositions. This experience allowed him to develop a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of trial work and the importance of tailoring his approach in each case to reach the best possible result for his clients.

With his extensive experience, Michael Kawi brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his clients. He understands the importance of thorough case preparation, effective courtroom presentation, and the ability to adapt to the unique challenges of each case. Whether representing clients in state or federal court, Michael’s experience sets him apart as a trusted advocate who is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for those he represents.

Education:
  • Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., Juris Doctor, 2012
    • During his time at Georgetown, Michael honed his advocacy skills a student attorney at the Georgetown Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic and received The Michael Feldman Advocacy Award, which is given to the clinic’s top advocate.  He was also awarded the Greenfield Trial Practice Award for his commitment to public defense. 
  • Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, Bachelor of Arts, 2009
Bar Memberships:

State Courts:

  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia

Federal Courts (eligible for case-by-case admission in most federal jurisdictions nationwide, even if not listed below):

  • 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Western District of Wisconsin
  • Northern District of Texas
  • Southern District of Texas
  • Southern District of Florida
Presentations and Trainings:
  • Intellectual Disability in Pre-Trial Cases: Spotting the Signs and Finding the Proof, August 2023 NDTX Federal Public Defender
  • United States Sentencing Guidelines § 2D1.1 – A Simple Drug Case, July 2021, NDTX Federal Public Defender
  • United States Sentencing Guidelines § 2D1.1 – A Complex Drug Case, July 2021, NDTX Federal Public Defender
  • Ethically Representing Your Client in the COVID-19 Era, May 2021, Philadelphia Federal Public Defender’s Office
  • The Entrapment Defense: Turning the Tables on the Prosecution, November 2020, Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office
  • Pandemic Era Jury Trials: What to Expect, November 2020, Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office
  • Ethically Representing Your Client in the Age of Corona, August 2020, NDTX Federal Public Defender’s Office
  • Not Guilty: The First Federal Criminal Trial, June 2020, Defender Services Office
  • Strategies for 911 Calls: Constitutional and Evidentiary Issues, Miami Public Defender: Circuit Court, Sept 2016; County Court, Aug 2016 & 2015; Domestic Unit, Sept 2015 & 2014; Juvenile Unit, May 2017 & Fall 2013
  • Defending Against Character Attacks: Litigating 90.404(2)(a) “Williams Rule” Evidence, Miami Public Defender, Domestic Unit, September 2014
  • Defending a County Court Domestic Case: Pretrial Motions and Evidentiary Issues, Miami Public Defender, Domestic Unit, Fall 2013
Professional Memberships:
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Lake County Bar Association