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Neal Russell Sonnett

Neal Russell Sonnett

White Collar Crime and Criminal Defense Lawyer
Neal R. Sonnett, P.A.
Miami, FL
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About Neal Russell Sonnett

Attorney Biography

Neal R. Sonnett is the founder and Managing Partner of his Miami based law firm, which concentrates on the defense of corporate, white collar and complex criminal cases in Florida and throughout the United States. He  earned his B.A. degree in 1967 from the University of Miami and his J.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1972.Prior to entering private practice, Neal served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division for the Southern District of Florida. As Chief, he was in charge of all federal criminal prosecutions for a twelve-county area from Key West to Vero Beach, Florida's most populous region and one of largest U.S. Attorney's offices in the United States. He also served temporary assignments as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida and for the District of Puerto Rico.Neal has represented a roster of high profile clients as diverse as MetLife, Jack Abramoff, and General Manuel Noriega, as well as major national corporations, banking institutions, prominent business executives, bankers, attorneys, physicians, and federal and state political figures. He has served as lead counsel in regulatory and grand jury investigations, trials and appeals and federal sentencing guideline and post-conviction issues in environmental crimes, health care, insurance, securities, tax, and mail fraud cases, election law violations, money laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Arms Export Control Act cases, federal asset forfeiture, international extradition, and attorney ethics and disciplinary matters. MAJOR PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITIONA nationally respected trial lawyer, Neal has been honored three times by the National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers In America” and has been profiled by that publication as one of the “Nation's Top Litigators” and one of the “Nation's Top White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers.” Neal has been selected in every edition since 1983 of “The Best Lawyers in America” in White Collar Criminal Defense, one of under a dozen Florida lawyers so honored. He was one of two Miami lawyers named 2012 “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in Criminal Defense.Neal was profiled as one of seven “Distinguished Attorneys” by the South Florida Legal Guide, a publication that has consistently selected him as one of “South Florida’s Top Lawyers.” He has also been consistently listed in “Who’s Who Legal - The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Lawyers,” Chambers “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Litigation - Business Crimes), “Florida Super Lawyers,” and Florida Trend Magazine’s “Florida Legal Elite.” He has the highest possible AVVO rating of 10.0 (“Superb”), he has earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest “AV” rating, and he has been listed in the “Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys” for more than 25 years. He has been recognized as a top lawyer by numerous other national, state, and regional publications.BAR AND PUBLIC SERVICE ACTIVITIESWhile maintaining a successful and active trial practice, Neal has been a leader in the legal profession on the local, state, and national level. He has served on the American Bar Association Board of Governors, the ABA Nominating Committee, and as Chair of both the ABA Criminal Justice Section and the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, now the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. He has been an active member of the ABA House of Delegates for more than thirty years, most of them as a Delegate from the ABA Criminal Justice Section. He presently serves on the Executive Committee of the ABA Judicial Division Lawyers Conference.    Neal has become one of the ABA’s leading advocates and spokespersons on post-9/11 civil, constitutional, and human rights issues. He served as Chair of the ABA Task Force on Treatment of Enemy Combatants, the ABA Task Force on Domestic Surveillance in the Fight Against Terrorism and the ABA Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of Powers Doctrine. In addition, he served as the ABA’s first Observer for the Military Commission trials in Guantanamo, and he has written and spoken extensively on terrorism issues. The ABA Journal E-Report described him as “the ABA’s go-to person. . .to help the bar navigate weighty legal policies involving war powers, executive authority and civil rights.” Neal served on the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force, the ABA Governance Commission, and the ABA Criminal Justice Section Task Force on the Reform of Federal Sentencing for Economic Crimes. He is a Past Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs and has been a member of the ABA Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession. He previously served as Chair of the ABA Committee on Criminal Justice Improvements and was a member of the Justice Kennedy Commission, the ABA Coalition for Justice, and the ABA High Profile Trial Resource Team. Neal is a former President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Foundation for Criminal Justice, the Florida Bar Foundation, the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, the Metropolitan Bar Caucus, the Dade County Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, South Florida Chapter, and the Spellman-Hoeveler American Inn of Court in Miami. He served as President of the American Judicature Society, a national organization of judges, lawyers and other citizens who worked  to maintain the independence and integrity of the courts and increase public understanding of the justice system, and he chaired the AJS Task Force on Independence of the Judiciary.Neal has written and lectured extensively throughout the United States on trial practice and substantive legal subjects. He has testified many times before congressional committees on issues that affect the adversary system of criminal justice and constitutional rights, and he has been interviewed or appeared as an expert commentator on many of the broadcast and cable network news and talk programs. He has served on the Advisory Boards of The National Law Journal, Money Laundering Alert, Asset Forfeiture Watch, and the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists, and he has been a member of the ALI-ABA Advisory Panel on Criminal Law.Neal has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law, where he served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Ethics and Public Service and was President of the University Of Miami Law Alumni Association, Vice-President of the UM General Alumni Association, and is a member of the University of Miami Society of Founders.Active in civic and charity work, Neal has served as Vice-Chair of the Florida Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League, Chair of the Board of Governors of The Bankers Club of Miami, Vice-President of The Friends of Gusman Performing Arts Center, and President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Transition, Inc., a non-profit charitable agency dedicated to the rehabilitation of ex-offenders. Neal served for three years, by appointment of the Miami-Dade County Commission, as chair of the county's Independent Review Panel, a civilian watchdog panel created by law to investigate serious complaints against county agencies and employees, including the police.  He was also appointed by the Governor and Cabinet of Florida to serve as a member of the Florida Task Force On Drug Abuse And Dropout Prevention

Practice Areas

White Collar Crime (50%)
Criminal Defense (40%)
Administrative Law (10%)

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Résumé - Neal Russell Sonnett

Bar Licenses

Florida State Bar
Member in Good Standing


University of Miami School of Law
University of Miami School of Law


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Life Member,
Past President (1989-1990)
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Awards & Honors

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Recipient -
Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Commercial Recognitions

Community Leadership badge
Recognized for Community Leadership
Lawyer Legion

Professional Involvement badge
Recognized for Professional Involvement
Lawyer Legion

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Contact Neal Russell Sonnett

Neal Russell Sonnett
Neal R. Sonnett, P.A.
2 S Biscayne Blvd Suite 2600
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-358-2000
Fax: 888-277-0333
Cell: 305-333-5444

More Information

Bar License Information

Membership with The Florida Bar -

Neal Russell Sonnett - Membership information with The Florida Bar - Find more information about Neal Russell Sonnett on The Florida Bar website including the attorney's bar license status, eligibility status and ten year discipline history, if any. Check the Florida bar website to make sure the attorney is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar and currently licensed to practice law in Florida.

Nonprofit Organizations

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers -

Founded in 1958, NACDL is the largest organization for criminal defense lawyers fighting to preserve fairness within America's criminal justice system. The organization has more than 10,000 direct members including criminal defense attorneys in private practice, public defenders in state or federal court, U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges.

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers -

Founded in 1988, FACDL promotes excellence in the practice of criminal law while protecting the rights of the accused. Many of the top criminal defense attorneys in the State of Florida are active in this trusted organization. FACDL unites and educates attorneys in the criminal justice system in Florida.