Lonnie McDowell, Senior Attorney of Counsel
Mr. McDowell graduated from Southwestern Law School in Southern California with top honors. He was a member of the Dean’s List and was the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship. Mr. McDowell was the Lead Articles Editor as well as a board member of the Southwestern Law Review in addition to being a teaching assistant and tutor for various Criminal Law classes.
While still in law school, Mr. McDowell served as a certified law clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office, for the District of Nevada, working on the Organized Crime Strike Force. While with the USDOJ, Mr. McDowell handled daily criminal appearances on behalf of the U.S. Government as well as prosecuting DUI’s at trail for which he was recognized as a skilled litigator. Mr. McDowell was also selected to intern in the United States District Court, Southern District of California for the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson.
As a criminal defense attorney, Mr. McDowell has successfully litigated thousands of criminal cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to serious and violent felonies. Mr. McDowell has a 10.0 Avvo rating, and has received awards and recognition by the National Trial Lawyers as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer, Lawyers of Distinction, Lead Counsel, and has been rated Top 10 in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. Mr. McDowell is a member of The American Bar Association, The Los Angeles County Bar Association, The Beverly Hills Bar Association, The Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, The Consumer Attorney's Association of Los Angeles, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Shakti Vadgama, Attorney
Shakti Vadgama was born and raised in Los Angeles County and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). After graduating from UCLA, Mr. Vadgama attended California Western School of Law in San Diego. In law school, Mr. Vadgama developed a strong passion for advocating on behalf of individuals against entities that are in a position of power. Mr. Vadgama’s first experience with criminal law came when he worked for the Chilean Ministry of Justice while studying and working abroad after his first year of law school in Santiago, Chile. In this position, he researched and briefed his supervising attorney on the United States use of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and whether Chile should implement such system.
Furthermore, Mr. Vadgama worked as a judicial extern in the criminal division of the San Diego Superior Court East County Division. As a judicial extern, Mr. Vadgama prepared bench memoranda for multiple judges on cases ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies, providing his recommendation on how each case should be determined when applying the facts to the applicable law. This experience provided Mr. Vadgama a unique insight and understanding on how the judiciary and the criminal courts operate. Mr. Vadgama also interned at a criminal defense firm, where he worked on various criminal cases and advocated on behalf of individuals serving life sentences at parole hearings. He helped and witnessed his supervising attorney win a parole hearing for an individual who successfully used the prison system to rehabilitate himself and change his life around after serving twenty-five years for second degree murder. This moment left a profound impact on Mr. Vadgama and made him realize that a career as a criminal defense attorney was his true calling.
Mr. Vadgama also worked as an honors instructor in law school, tutoring first year law students in legal research and writing. He earned this position upon receiving the highest score in his first year legal research and writing course.
After law school, Mr. Vadgama spent the first year and one-half of his legal career as a plaintiff’s employment law attorney, advocating on behalf of employees in all employment related matters. In his stint as an employment law attorney, Mr. Vadgama successfully negotiated and litigated on behalf of hundreds of clients in both State and Federal court.
Since his brief stint as an employment law attorney, Mr. Vadgama has dedicated his career towards criminal and DUI defense work, his true passion, and has since been rated Top 10 in Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of DUI/DWI and Criminal Law Attorneys, has been received the Top 40 under 40 award by the American Academy of Attorneys, and has been recognized as a "Rising Star in the field of Criminal Law" by the American Institute of Legal Advocates.
Mr. Vadgama is licensed to practice law in all State courts throughout California and the United States District Court, Central District of California. Mr. Vadgama is also a member of the Los Angeles Bar Association, the Los Angeles Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, and the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.