Michael Stewart Waddington – Partner
Elite Criminal Defense Attorney
Michael Waddington is a criminal defense lawyer and best-selling author that defends cases in military courts worldwide. He also defends military personnel who are under investigation and have not yet been charged. Mr. Waddington specializes in defending serious criminal cases including sex crimes, war crimes, military sex crimes, violent crimes, and white-collar crimes.
He also teaches criminal defense lawyers (civilian and military) how to effectively cross-examine hostile witnesses and win trials.
He has been reported on and quoted by hundreds of major media sources worldwide and has provided consultation services to CNN Investigative Reports, 60 Minutes, Katie Couric, ABC’s “Nightline,” the BBC, German Public Television, CNN, CBS, the 2010-2012 Golden Globe-winning TV series “The Good Wife,” and various other international media outlets.
Cross-Examination, Closing Arguments, & Sexual Assault Defense
Michael & Alexandra literally wrote some of the best-selling books on cross-examination, sexual assault defense, trial strategy, and closing arguments.
Michael & his law partner, Alexandra, wrote three of the leading textbooks on cross-examination, Pattern Cross-Examination for Sexual Assault Cases: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide, Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence, and Pattern Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses. These books are used by criminal defense lawyers worldwide (civilian and military).
Mr. Waddington’s book, Kick-Ass Closings: A Guide to Giving the Best Closing of Your Life, is the #1 rated book on closing arguments. It has been an Amazon bestseller since it was published in 2018. The book contains nearly 500 pages of Mr. Waddington’s best closings and hundreds of outstanding arguments made by the nation’s top criminal defense lawyers. Michael is also the author of the bestselling book, The Art of Trial Warfare. The legal strategies from The Art of Trial Warfare are used by trial lawyers around the world and taught at various law schools.
High-Profile Criminal Defense Lawyer
For nearly twenty years, Mr. Waddington’s high-profile cases have been covered by major international media outlets. He has appeared in a major CNN documentary, “Killings at the Canal” and some of his cases have inspired books and movies. These include the Academy Award-winning documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side,” the 2019 feature film, “The Kill Team,” (and the 2013 documentary by the same name), the books “The Good Soldier on Trial,” “Strike & Destroy,” and Brian De Palma’s “Redacted.” (De Palma also directed “Scarface” and “Carlito’s Way”). Michael has also consulted on numerous Hollywood TV and media projects, including the series “The Good Wife.” In 2020, Michael published his first novel, Battlemind, a military legal thriller.
Sought-After Trial Advocacy Instructor
Nationwide, Mr. Waddington teaches criminal defense lawyers how to effectively cross-examine hostile witnesses and win trials. After hundreds of contested jury trials, we have developed some of the best techniques to win military sex crimes and Article 120 UCMJ cases.
He has repeatedly lectured at the National Trial Lawyers Summit, where he shared the stage with legendary attorneys F. Lee Bailey (one of OJ Simpson’s lawyers), Benjamin Brafman (Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer), Mark Geragos (who defended Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and other celebrities), Mark O’Mara (George Zimmerman’s lawyer), and Roy Black (who defended William Kennedy Smith & Rush Limbaugh), to teach cutting-edge trial techniques.
In November 2021, Michael and Alexandra Gonzalez-Waddington were featured lecturers at NACDL’s 12th Annual “Defending Sex Crimes Seminar.” At this course, they taught two courses on how to defend Article 120 UCMJ military sexual assault cases and how to cross-examine experts in sexual assault cases.
Mr. Waddington was also a featured speaker at both the 2020 and 2021 NACDL Forensic Science Conferences. In his lectures, he taught lawyers how to Cross-Examine the Prosecution’s Forensic Experts and How to Impeach Prosecution Witnesses. He also lectured at the 2017 NACDL Forensic Science Conference in Las Vegas. His topic, Using Forensic Science to Create Reasonable Doubt in Sexual Assault Cases, focused on impeaching rogue sex assault examiners (SANEs & SAFEs) using cutting-edge research and medical textbooks. He also taught techniques to expose forensic psychologists and psychiatrists who testify about junk science, such as “Counterintuitive Victim Behavior” and “Tonic Immobility.”
In 2021, Gideon’s Promise invited him to lecture defense lawyers from across the USA on closing arguments, impeaching witnesses, and cross-examination. Gideon’s Promise is a nonprofit public defender organization whose mission is to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.
Mr. Waddington gave two lectures at the NACDL’s 2017 National Sex Crime Conference in Las Vegas, NV. One of his lectures, Defending a Military Client Charged With Sexual Assault, was tailored to winning sex crime cases in military courts.
Mr. Waddington has also lectured on war crimes and the law of war at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
Internationally Respected Criminal Defense Lawyer
Michael Waddington is a Life Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). He is also a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers (ABCL).
The ABCL is an invitation-only organization comprised of 200 of the most distinguished high-profile criminal lawyers in the world. The ABCL is the equivalent of the “NFL Hall of Fame,” but for criminal lawyers. Requirements for admission include having at least ten (10) years of criminal trial experience. Attorneys must have tried at least fifty (50) major felony cases to verdict and won at least thirty-five (35), at least five (5) of which being capital or life sentence cases.
Michael Waddington was appointed to co-chair the Military Law Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Their duties include training and advising military defense lawyers, both military and civilian, from the Army, Navy, Space Force, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The committee also serves as a liaison with policymakers on issues of military justice reform.
From 2013-2021, Mr. Waddington wrote chapters in the American Bar Association (ABA) annual book, “The State of Criminal Justice.”This annual publication examines major issues, trends, and significant changes in the criminal justice system and is one of the cornerstones of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section’s work.
This publication serves as an invaluable resource for policy-makers, academics, and students of the criminal justice system. In 2016, he published Trial Warrior’s Book of Wisdom: A Compilation of Quotes for Success in Law and Life.
Overview of Mr. Waddington’s Background
- FELLOW – AMERICAN BOARD OF CRIMINAL LAWYERS (less than .004% of US criminal lawyers receive this honor)
- VOTED SUPER LAWYERS – GEORGIA
- 2013-2021 TOP 100 TRIAL LAWYERS IN THE USA – The National Trial Lawyers Association
- RATED by AVVO.com – 10.0 SUPERB
In June 2007, Mr. Waddington was selected to write an article on Courts-Martials and military law for the New Jersey State Bar Magazine, in the magazine’s first-ever edition focusing on Military Law and issues relevant to military personnel and veterans. This journal is the leading legal news magazine for New Jersey lawyers, judges, and lawmakers.
Mr. Waddington provides criminal defense & trial consultation services in serious cases worldwide. In the summer of 2008, he acted as the chief trial consultant and legal strategist for three Israeli clients charged in Tokyo, Japan in the largest drug importation case in Japanese history. He also represents and advises American contracting companies that support the U.S. military overseas regarding criminal prosecutions, investigations and UCMJ actions.
Background and Education
Mr. Michael Waddington was born in New Castle, PA. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a BA degree. He earned his law degree from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, PA. At Temple, he successfully completed, with honors, Temple’s Nationally #1 Ranked Trial Lawyer Training Program (U.S. News and World Report).
Before entering private practice, Mr. Waddington served two tours as an Army defense lawyer, worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, and as an Army Chief of Military Justice. He enlisted in 1993 and served as an Army soldier prior to being commissioned as an Army officer in 1997. He entered the US Army JAG Corps in 2001 and left active duty in 2006.
Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, PA
- Juris Doctor, May 2000
- Completed, with honors, Temple’s #1 Ranked Trial Advocacy Program (U.S. News and World Report)
- Law Journal Editor: Temple Environmental Law & Technology Journal, 1998-2000
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
- BA, Honors: Magna Cum Laude
- Dean’s List 8 Consecutive Semesters
- Army ROTC Scholarship Recipient, Distinguished Military Graduate, Battalion Commander
- Study Aboard: Semester at Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain
Military Defense Lawyer (Army JAG)
- Defended military personnel from E-1 to E-9 and WO1 to O-6 at court-martials, Article 32s, pretrial confinement hearings, NJP, and separation boards.
- Successfully defended service members of murder, drug offenses, detainee abuse, maltreatment, attempted murder, rape, sexual crimes, child abuse, trainee abuse, maiming, aggravated assault, larceny, financial crimes, computer crimes, white-collar crime, and various other crimes.
- Represented hundreds of service members who were being administratively discharged from the military.
- Former Army JAG officer.
- Served two tours as an Army defense lawyer.
- Headed a Trial Defense Service (TDS) branch office as the Senior Defense Counsel.
- Former Special Assistant United States Attorney. Prosecuted cases in Federal Court. Worked with the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, and U.S. Marshall’s Service.
- Former Chief of Military Justice.
- Received the Award for Excellence in Advocacy, U.S. Army JAG Corps Criminal Law Advocacy Course.
- Enlisted in the Army, in 1993, out of high school and rose to the rank of CPT.
- Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide. NACDL Press, 2021.
- “Military Justice Act of 2016’s Expansion of Military Subpoena Power.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2021. ABA, 2021.
- Battlemind: A Military Legal Thriller. CreateSpace, 2020.
- Pattern Cross-Examination for Forensic Experts: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide. NACDL Press, 2020.
- “Changes to the Punitive Articles Under the Military Justice Act of 2016.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2020. ABA, 2020.
- “MJA 2016.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2019. ABA, 2019.
- Kick-Ass Closings: A Guide to Giving the Best Closing Argument of Your Life. CreateSpace, 2018.
- “Overview of the Military Justice Act of 2016.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2018. ABA, 2018.
- Pattern Cross-Examination for Sexual Assault Cases: A Trial Strategy & Resource Guide. NACDL Press, 2017.
- “Military Criminal Justice: Further Expanded Victim Rights and Overarching Refinements.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2017. ABA, 2017
- The Art of Trial Warfare: Winning at Trial Using Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. CreateSpace, 2016.
- Trial Warrior’s Book of Wisdom: A Compilation of Quotes for Success in Law and Life. CreateSpace, 2016.
- “Military Criminal Justice: Expanded Rights for Sexual Assault Victims.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2016. ABA, 2016.
- “Military Criminal Law.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2015. ABA, 2015.
- “Supreme Court Signals The Right To Privacy In Digitally Stored Data.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2015. ABA, 2015.
- “Changes to The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Pertaining to Rape and Sexual Assault.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2014. ABA, 2014.
- “Defense Function and Service – Military Practice.” In The State of Criminal Justice 2013. ABA, 2013.
- “Military Justice Overview,” New Jersey State Bar Magazine, June 2007.
- “Pattern Cross-Examination of Prosecution Witnesses.” 2021 NACDL Forensic Science Conference.
- “Operation Iron Triangle: Anatomy of a War Crime.” 2021 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
- “Cross-Examining Forensic Experts.” 2020 NACDL Forensic Science Conference, Online.
- “Delivering Powerful Opening Statements.” 2019 National Trial Lawyers Summit, Miami, FL.
- “Using Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to Win Sexual Assault Cases.” NACDL’s 2017 National Sex Crime Conference, Las Vegas, NV.
- “Defending a Military Client Charged with Sexual Assault.” NACDL’s 2017 National Sex Crime Conference, Las Vegas, NV.
- “Using Forensic Science to Create Reasonable Doubt.” 2017 NACDL Forensic Science Conference, Las Vegas, NV.
- “Selecting Diverse Juries Without Building Walls.” 2017 National Trial Lawyers Summit, Miami, FL.
- “The Trial Warrior’s Mindset.” 2017 National Trial Lawyers Summit, Miami, FL.
- “Using The Art of War to Win Jury Trials.” 2016 National Trial Lawyers Summit, Miami, FL.
- “Attacking Witness Credibility & Rules of Evidence,” Military Defense Conference, Charleston, SC, Spring 2006.
- “Witness Impeachment, ”Military Defense Conference, Orlando, FL, Spring 2004.
- “Urinalysis Defense,” Military Defense Conference, Washington, DC, Fall 2003.
- Instructor, numerous Federal Law Enforcement Seminars, Fort Gordon, GA, June 2004-July 2005.
Professional Licenses & Memberships
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- Admitted to practice in All Military Trial Courts Worldwide
- Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers
- Lifetime Member – National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
- National Trial Lawyers
- American Bar Association
Areas of Practice
- Michael Waddington is a trial lawyer that primarily practices in the area of criminal defense and court-martial defense.
- Michael Waddington speaks Spanish and English. He also speaks intermediate French. He has lived and studied in Spain and France, and he lived and worked in Puerto Rico for seven years.