Michael J. Markowitz
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Michael J. Markowitz
  • Criminal Defense
  • Juvenile Law
  • Juvenile Defense
  • Litigation

After several years cutting his teeth as a criminal prosecutor, attorney Michael J. Markowitz joined Bill Gagen in private practice in 1985, forming the cornerstone of one of the region's most formidable criminal defense teams. With his unique mix of diplomacy and doggedness, Mr. Markowitz has amassed an excellent track record of success in and out of the courtroom.

Certified by the State Bar as a criminal law specialist since 1992, Mr. Markowitz has tried dozens of cases and handled virtually every type of criminal matter, including DUIs, assault, drug sales, corporate fraud, rape and murder. His approach is to jump into a case early, investigate and mitigate, utilizing the top investigators and experts to counter the one-sided police reports and level the playing field. His approach has earned him the loyalty of his clients and the respect of his peers. Mr. Markowitz was selected for inclusion in California Super Lawyers in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, a designation reserved for just five percent of the attorneys in the state.

Friendly and forthright, Mr. Markowitz is liked and trusted by juries, judges and fellow lawyers. Yet when it comes to protecting his clients' rights, he won't hesitate to take the unpopular position, even when it means waging war on police and prosecutors. He will find and expose police error, prosecutorial misconduct and procedural mistakes. Through an active motions practice, he has great success in suppressing evidence, leveraging his negotiating position and having counts and cases dismissed. He will not tolerate unfair tactics by the government. In 2009 he moved to recuse the entire Contra Costa District Attorney's office as biased against his client and fought for sanctions against the prosecutor for his misconduct in the case. While recognizing that settling a case may often be in a client's best interest, he has the insight and experience to know when it's time to take the fight to trial or seek justice on appeal.

  • California, 1982
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • Alameda - Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Member
  • California Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, Recording Secretary, 1991 to 1992
  • Judge Pro Tempore in the Juvenile Division of the Contra Costa Superior Court
  • Arbitrator and Mediator, Contra Costa County Superior Court
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association, Board President, 2000
  • Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, Board President, 1993
  • Contra Costa County Conference of Delegates
  • Contra Costa County Judicial Evaluation Committee, 2000 to 2004
  • Contra Costa Bench-Bar Committee
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • California Public Defenders Association
  • Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court
  • Criminal Conflict Program of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, Chair
  • Certified by the State Bar as a criminal law specialist since 1992
  • Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, California
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1982
  • State University of New York, Brockport, New York
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts - 1973
    • Major: American History
  • Received AV Preeminent Rating From Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected as 2013 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected as 2010 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected as 2009 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected as 2008 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected as 2007 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected as 2006 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected as 2005 Northern California Super Lawyers
  • Selected for inclusion in California Super Lawyers in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010
  • Member , Board of Directors, The Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund, Ltd., 2011 to Present
  • Janet Reno
  • Florida’s Attorney General, Paralegal
  • Contra Costa County District Attorney, Deputy District attorney, 1982 to 1985
State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization