"The formula for success is no secret:  be more prepared than the government and maintain an unwavering strategic focus on delivering the client a successful result."

Federal criminal defense and civil rights attorney Joe McMullen is the founding attorney of the Law Offices of Joseph M. McMullen.  For years he has litigated civil and criminal cases defending the rights of his clients against various governmental agencies including the United States Securities & Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  He has handled more than 200 felony cases involving a variety of state and federal charges from wire fraud, insurance fraud, embezzlement, and insider trading to narcotics, weapons and racketeering offenses involving homicide. Mr. McMullen has defended clients in more than a dozen federal felony jury trials, avoiding convictions on all counts in the majority of his trials.  He has petitioned the United States Supreme Court and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits.  He has represented clients in various federal district courts around the country.  Mr. McMullen has also obtained significant financial settlements for individual and corporate clients engaged in litigation against federal and local government officials. 


Prior to earning his law degree, Mr. McMullen was an analyst at top-ranked management strategy firm Bain & Company.  Bain’s focus on driving successful outcomes for clients through applying a results-oriented analytical approach to any problem has remained a guiding principle for Mr. McMullen throughout his law career. 

In 2006, Mr. McMullen began his career as a trial attorney at Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., where he devoted four years to representing indigent defendants charged with serious federal felonies.  After amassing an impressive courtroom record, venerable law firm Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek hired him to add experience to the Specialized Criminal Defense Department along with former United States Attorney for the Southern District of California Gregory A. Vega, and veteran criminal defense attorneys Patrick Q. Hall and Charles L. Goldberg.  During his two years at the firm, Mr. McMullen was lead counsel on several serious criminal cases in federal and state courts, including two federal jury trials where the potential maximum sentence after conviction was life imprisonment.  In each of those jury trials, after several months of thorough investigation and preparation, Mr. McMullen successfully achieved acquittals on all charges for his clients.  He was recognized by the San Diego Daily Transcript as one of its Top Young Attorneys of 2011, and that year U.S. News & World Report honored Mr. McMullen’s Department with its highest tiered ranking for “Criminal Defense:  White Collar” and “Criminal Defense:  White Collar – Governmental Investigations.”  In addition to his criminal practice at the firm, Mr. McMullen also handled and litigated civil matters involving securities fraud, forfeiture, False Claims Act, and qui tam actions in federal and state courts. 

In 2013, Mr. McMullen established the Law Offices of Joseph M. McMullen to further his passionate commitment to standing up for the constitutional rights of those adversely confronted by law enforcement arms of the government.  His practice focuses on defending clients charged in serious criminal actions in federal courts nationally and state courts in Southern California, litigating civil rights claims against officials whose misconduct results in serious injury or economic loss to victims and families, and counseling individual and corporate clients confronted with agency investigations or adverse civil proceedings. 


Mr. McMullen earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at Pomona College, where he was also named Defensive Player of the Year as the captain of the NCAA Division III football team. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.  While in law school, he was awarded the Best Brief Award for the New York Region of the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition and was on the Virginia Moot Court Executive Board. 


Mr. McMullen is a proud member of the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Federal Criminal Justice Act Trial Panel for the Southern District of California.  He is admitted to appear in all courts of the State of California, as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of California and the Eastern District of Michigan, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He has also been admitted to appear pro hac vice in various federal courts across the nation. 

 Mr. McMullen is involved in the San Diego Kiwanis Young Professional Group, which aims to serve the needs of children in San Diego.  He is also an alumnus of the Louis M. Welsh and the Hon. J. Clifford Wallace Chapters of the American Inns of Court. 


Mr. McMullen is fluent in English and Spanish, and he is happy to consult with his clients, their families, and their employees in either language.