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Criminal Defense North Carolina

On November 5, 2020, Fialko Law, PLLC received a Metro Tier One ranking in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in Criminal Defense: General Practice and White-Collar in Charlotte.

U.S. News explains, “This year we reviewed 15,587 law firms throughout the United States – across 75 national practice areas – and a total of 2,179 firms received a national law firm ranking. We are proud that the ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings continue to act as an indicator of excellence throughout the legal industry.” Check out the U.S. News release here.

 

Last week I was named the Best Lawyers® 2021 Criminal Defense: White-Collar “Lawyer of the Year” in Charlotte.

I usually don’t tout such awards.  I rely on my reputation and work to gain new clients.  But I confess I’m proud of this particular recognition for three reasons.

First, I achieved it from a different angle than prior recipients – I almost exclusively represent human beings in white collar investigations, not companies.  There are many great white collar defense lawyers in Charlotte who focus on representing big companies and their high-level executives.  I learned a lot over the years from these lawyers.  They sometimes bring me into cases to represent other employees.   But I focus on representing owners, managers, or employees in small and medium businesses.

Second, this was a plan I hatched 16 years ago.  From 1994 – 2003 I defended people in blue-collar crimes in state and federal court – everything from robbery to DWI, from drug offenses to homicides.  In 2003 I crafted a plan to try to break into the white collar field.  It took patience, hustle, and a willingness to learn.  Some of the skills of blue collar defense – cross-examination, independent investigation, listening to clients – translated to white collar.  But I kept my eyes open and learned new skills.  It’s fun to make a plan and achieve the goal — a thriving white collar practice.

Third, I think Best Lawyers/U.S. News have the best method – peer voting by other lawyers and judges in each field.  It feels good to earn this vote from the white collar defense community here in Charlotte.

Enough of the self-promotion.  Back to work.

As Best Lawyers describes the recognition:

Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based on a rigorous peer-review survey comprising more than 9.4 million confidential evaluations by top attorneys. Our founding principle remains unchanged since 1981 and forms the basis of our transparent methodology: The best lawyers know who the best lawyers are. (As always, no fee or payment to participate is allowed.)

Click here for blog post: It’s good when a plan comes together – thoughts about being named white-collar lawyer of the year.

in 2016, Fialko was named the Best Lawyers® 2016 Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar “Lawyer of the Year” in Charlotte. He is one of very few attorneys who have been voted this recognition by his peers in both categories.

2020-08-20 Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year Letter
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Whenever I have a consultation with a businessman or professional who has been contacted by the FBI or some kind of law enforcement, the conversation always comes around to this question:

Won’t it look bad if I hire a criminal defense lawyer?

The short answer is no. Simply, firmly, no.

To clarify, the reasons are many, but here are some of them:

  • Good cops and good prosecutors know that smart businessmen always consult a lawyer if they are contacted by law enforcement.  In private, FBI agents are always amazed that so many people just go ahead and answer questions without first seeking the advice of an attorney.
  • Lying to a federal agent is in itself a crime. (See 18 United States Code §1001.) It’s super important to either tell the whole truth or simply refuse to answer questions. You are much better off getting a criminal defense lawyer to help you decide whether to talk, than to take the risk of answering in a way that make the feds think you are lying.
  • Even if you tell the full truth, what you divulge may contradict something you’ve declared in the past. This often comes up when someone tells the truth to an FBI agent about an asset or income, but a prior tax return treated the asset or income differently.
  • White-collar cases do not develop quickly. Taking a week or two to consult with a lawyer will not piss off the government, nor will it change the outcome of the investigation.