Biography - H. Michael Sokolow

H. Michael Sokolow earned his B.A. magna cum laude in 1973 from the University of Massachusetts and obtained his M.A. in 1974 and his Ph.D. in 1977 from the Ohio State University. From 1978 to 1979, he was a Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard University, and from 1979 through 1981, he served as an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University.


At the University of Texas School of Law, Michael served as Editor in Chief of Texas Law Review from 1983 through 1984 and received his J.D. with honors in 1984. After law school, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Alvin B. Rubin, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, from 1984 through 1985. Michael then practiced law in commercial litigation as an associate at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in Dallas, Texas, from 1985 through 1986 and at Susman, Godfrey in Houston, Texas, from 1986 through 1987.


Michael has been an Assistant Federal Public Defender since 1987. From 1996 through 2005, he served as the head of the appellate section, and, in 2005, he became First Assistant Federal Public Defender. He not only has handled trials and appeals in numerous federal criminal prosecutions, but he also has appeared in the United States Supreme Court, briefing and second-chairing oral argument in Deal v. United States, 508 U.S. 129 (1992), briefing and presenting oral argument in Witte v. United States, 515 U.S. 389 (1995), and assisting on the briefing and second-chairing oral argument in Gonzalez v. United States, 553 U.S. 242 (2008). The National Association of Federal Defenders selected Michael as an Outstanding Assistant Federal Defender in 2005. In 2010, he received the Michael Taylor Shelby Award for outstanding dedication, ethics, and professionalism in the practice of law from the Southern District of Texas Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and in 2012, he received the Professionalism and Excellence Award from the Garland R. Walker American Inn of Court. Michael has a keen interest in professional ethics and has written and spoken on the topic both locally and nationally.