msw-cnn-canalMichael Waddington is a criminal defense lawyer that defends cases in military courts worldwide. He also defends military personnel that are under investigation and have not yet been charged. He specializes in defending serious criminal cases including sex crimes, war crimes, violent crimes and white collar crimes.

Mr. Waddington has been reported on and quoted by hundreds of major media sources worldwide and has provided consultation services to CNN Investigative Reports, 60 Minutes, Katie Couric, ABC Nightline, the BBC, German Public Television, CNN, CBS, the 2010-2012 Golden Globe winning TV series “The Good Wife” and other various international media outlets.

He appeared in a major CNN Documentary, the 2009 “Killings at the Canal” and some of his cases have been the subject of books and movies, including the Academy Award Winning Documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side,” the 2013 documentary, “The Kill Team,” the books “The ‘Good Soldier’ on Trial,” “Strike & Destroy,”  and Brian De Palma’s “Redacted,” (De Palma also directed “Scarface” and “Carlito’s Way”).

He is a member of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers (ABCL), an exclusive, by invitation only, group comprised of the top 200 criminal lawyers in the world. At 39, he was one of the youngest members to have been inducted into the organization.

The ABCL is the equivalent of the “Pro Football Hall of Fame,” but for criminal lawyers. Requirements for admission include having at least ten (10) years of criminal trial experience. Attorneys must have tried at least fifty (50) major felony cases to verdict and win at least thirty-five (35), at least five (5) of which being capital or life sentence cases. WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN MORE.

Overview of Mr. Waddington’s recent accomplishments:

FELLOW – AMERICAN BOARD OF CRIMINAL LAWYERS (less than .004% of US criminal lawyers receive this honor)
2013 TOP 100 TRIAL LAWYERS IN THE USA – The National Trial Lawyers Association
RATED by – 10.0 SUPERB


Mr. Waddington wrote chapters in the 2013 and 2014 American Bar Association (ABA) book, “The State of Criminal Justice”   This annual publication examines major issues, trends and significant changes in the criminal justice system and is one of the cornerstones of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section’s work. This publication serves as an invaluable resource for policy-makers, academics, and students of the criminal justice system.

In June 2007, Mr. Waddington was selected to write an article on Court Martials and military law for the New Jersey State Bar Magazine, in the magazine’s first-ever edition focusing on Military Law and issues relevant to military personnel and veterans. This journal is the leading legal news magazine for New Jersey lawyers, judges, and lawmakers.

Mr. Waddington has lectured on various aspects of military law and the trial tactics. In July 2013, he taught a nationwide course for lawyers call “Dealing With the Media: Protecting the Rights to a Fair Trial”.

Mr. Waddington provides criminal defense & trial consultation services in serious cases worldwide. In the summer of 2008, he acted as the chief trial consultant and legal strategist for 3 Israeli clients charged in Tokyo, Japan in the largest drug importation case in Japanese history. He also represents and advises American contracting companies that support the U.S. military overseas regarding criminal prosecutions, investigations and UCMJ actions.

Background and Education

Mr. Michael Waddington was born in New Castle, PA. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a BA degree. He earned his law degree from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, PA.
At Temple, he successfully completed with honors Temple’s Nationally #1 Ranked Trial Lawyer Training Program (U.S. News and World Report).

Before entering private practice, Mr. Waddington served two tours as an Army defense lawyer, worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, and as an Army Chief of Military Justice. He enlisted in 1993 and served as an Army soldier prior to be commissioned as an Army officer in 1997.

Defense Lawyer

  • Defended military personnel from E-1 to E-9 and WO1 to O-6 at court martials, Article 32s, pretrial confinement hearings, NJP, and separation boards.
  • Successfully defended servicemembers of:
    murder, drug offenses, detainee abuse, maltreatment, attempted murder, rape, sexual crimes, child abuse, trainee abuse, maiming, aggravated assault, larceny, financial crimes, computer crimes, white collar crime, and various other crimes. Click here to see specific cases.
  • Represented over 400 soldiers that were being administratively discharged from the military.
  • Former Army JAG officer.
  • Served two tours as an Army defense lawyer. Headed a Trial Defense Service (TDS) branch office as the Senior Defense Counsel.
  • Former Special Assistant United States Attorney. Prosecuted cases in Federal Court. Worked with the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, and U.S. Marshall’s Service.
  • Former Chief of Military Justice.
  • Received the Award for Excellence in Advocacy, U.S. Army JAG Corps Criminal Law Advocacy Course.
  • Enlisted in the Army out of high school and rose to the rank of CPT.

Professional Licenses & Memberships

Michael Waddington is admitted to practice before the following courts:

  • All Military Trial Courts Worldwide
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
  • American Bar Association Litigation Division

Areas of Practice

  • Michael Waddington is a trial lawyer that primarily practices in the area of criminal defense, court martial defense, and appeals.


Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, PA

  • Juris Doctor, May 2000
  • Completed, with honors, Temple’s #1 Ranked Trial Advocacy Program (U.S. News and World Report)
  • Law Journal Editor: Temple Environmental Law & Technology Journal, 1998-2000

Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

  • BA, Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  • Dean’s List 8 Consecutive Semesters
  • Army ROTC Scholarship Recipient, Distinguished Military Graduate, Battalion Commander
  • Study Aboard: Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • Speaker, “Attacking Witness Credibility & Rules of Evidence,” Military Defense Conference, Charleston, SC, Spring 2006
  • Speaker, “Witness Impeachment,”Military Defense Conference, Orlando, FL, Spring 2004
  • Speaker, “Urinalysis Defense,” Military Defense Conference,”Washington, DC, Fall 2003
  • Instructor, Numerous Federal Law Enforcement Seminars, Fort Gordon, GA, June 2004-July 2005


  • Michael Waddington speaks Spanish and English. He has lived and studied in Spain, worked in Puerto Rico, and frequently travels to Puerto Rico on business and vacation.
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