Skip to content


The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a published decision describes Alan Ellis as a “nationally recognized expert in federal criminal sentencing.” –United States v. Walters, 309 F.2d 589, 592 (9th Cir 2002). “[T]he best in the business.” -K60 – ABC TV, San Francisco affiliate of ABC-TV Legal commentators refer to Mr. Ellis as the “go-to guy in Americafor federal sentencing when “you’re in deep trouble.” -Verdict Magazine, January 2007: “Alan Ellis is one this country’s pre-eminent criminal defense lawyers. A former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he specializes in sentencing and post-conviction matters.” –The Federal Lawyer, July 2006. “Ellis is one of only a handful of U.S. lawyers known as post-conviction specialists or sentence mitigators. These high-priced consultants specialize in getting their clients – among the most notorious defendants in the county – the lightest possible sentences to be served under the best possible conditions. Knowledge of prisons is critical in this job. Ellis shows his expertise as co-author of the Federal Prison Guidebook, sort of an overview of the entire federal prison system. Ellis says he makes no guarantees, but he won’t take a case that he believes has not merit. He limits his practice exclusively to the federal courts because federal law is the same wherever he goes.” –The Sentence Terminators (ABA JOURNAL, March 2003).
  • “Ellis is one of the nation’s preeminent post-conviction specialists, a lawyer who mitigates tough sentences with a thorough knowledge of the sentencing guidelines and federal prison system. His client list has included the famous and infamous, from Albert Taubman, the former head of Christie’s auction house to so-called American Taliban, John Walker Lindh.”
  • Business leaders should probably start passing his name around at high-level meetings, too. With all the hubbub about cracking down on corporate crooks, Ellis’ roster of clients . . . could start to strain under the demand.”
  • “Most are of the white-collar variety, he says, with a handful of drug defendants and a few sexual predators thrown in. Why hire Ellis? He is the author of ‘Federal Prison Guidebook.’ And he boasts that every federal judge in America has a copy. He employs forensic accountants, psychiatrists, and investigators to churn up information that can be used to mitigate his client’s crimes. He has contact within the Bureau of Prisons, which decides where prisoners are housed.”
  • Alan literally wrote the book on federal prison facilities,” explains Tony West, of counsel at Morrison & Foerster [a prominent San Francisco law firm], and one of the American Taliban’s defense lawyers.
-The Cell Broker (THE RECORDER – No. 179, Monday, September 16, 2002). “Ellis, based in San Francisco, is one of a handful of ‘post-conviction‘ attorneys who help the convicted get the most out of the federal prison system.” -Hiring A Good Attorney Can Be A Matter Of Time (THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Sunday, October 30, 1994). Federal Prison Guidebook review (PDF), The Champion “I was told if you want the best, get Alan Ellis.” – Maureen McGinley was facing a 10-year prison sentence for dealing cocaine. When her lawyer couldn’t reduce her sentence, she turned to Alan Ellis who helped cut McGinley’s sentence down to eight years and a month. (Los Angeles Times, December 4, 1994)
  • As one of the country’s top attorneys specializing in the sentencing and appeal phases of federal criminal cases and the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers … Ellis has an abiding interest in the laws and principals set forth in the U.S. Constitution.
  • His six-attorney “post-conviction boutique,” one of the most respected law firms in the country, specializes in sentencing and appeals of federal criminal defendants.
  • Ellis’ soft-spoken demeanor and good organizational skills have earned him the respect of fellow defense attorneys and prosecutors alike.
-Constitutional Cop (Pacific Sun, July 5, 1991)
The Law Offices of Alan Ellis specializing In Federal Sentencing, Appeals, 2255 Habeas Corpus