Howard Srebnick has more than 30 years of experience litigating in the federal and state courts, making front page news for his defenses in some of the highest profile criminal cases in the nation, including the acquittal of 3-time Indy 500 (and Dancing with the Stars) champion Helio Castroneves on tax evasion charges, the not guilty verdict for Super Bowl / Pro Bowl wide receiver Tony Martin of the Miami Dolphins, the reckless driving charge against Justin Bieber, the extortion trial of attorney Michael Avenatti, and the gun possession prosecution of rapper Lil Wayne, who received a full pardon from the President. 

Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America,® clients agree “he’s thorough and creative, preempts everything and leaves no stone unturned.” Chambers and Partners recognize him as a “great tactician and masterful trial attorney,” a reputation earned through his handling of complex, high-profile cases, many of which have centered on financial charges such as money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion, and public corruption.

In addition to his leadership role in the Firm’s criminal division, Howard handles select high-stakes commercial litigation and chairs the Firm’s appellate practice. He has briefed and argued dozens of federal appeals, including the notorious B-girls case in which all fraud convictions were overturned, [United States v. Takhalov], the appeal of the famed gentlemen’s club impresario who founded “Solid Gold,” “Pure Platinum,” and “Thee Dollhouse” in his successful bid to vacate his RICO conviction, United States v. Peter, 310 F.3d 709 (11th Cir. 2002). Click the case link for Mr. Srebnick’s oral arguments in State of Florida v. Godinez and State of Florida v. Justin Bieber.

Twice, Mr. Srebnick successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to grant certiorari review in cases challenging the restraint of assets needed by criminal defendants to exercise their Sixth Amendment right to retain private counsel of choice. See Kaley v United States, 571 U.S. 320 (2014) (confirming that criminal defendants have a right to a pretrial tracing hearing. [News MediaOral Argument Audio]); Luis v. United States, 578 U.S. ___ (2016) (reversing government’s freeze of untainted assets. [News MediaOral Argument TranscriptOral Argument AudioCase Docket Link] [U.S. Supreme Court Opinion]). 

Before entering private practice, Howard clerked for Judge Edward B. Davis (S.D. Fla. 1990-91) and Judge Irving L. Goldberg (U.S.C.A. 5th Cir. 1991-92), then served as a trial and appellate attorney with the Federal Public Defender in Miami (1992-95).

 

Howard holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 1985), University of Miami (M.B.A. 1987) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. magna cum laude 1989), where he was selected for Order of the Coif, served as an associate editor of the American Criminal Law Review, competed for and coached the criminal moot court team, and earned the best combined scholastic record in criminal justice courses. 

Formerly the youngest member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Howard currently serves as co-chair of the NACDL’s Lawyer Assistance Strike Force, defending lawyers facing subpoenas or sanctions in connection with their zealous advocacy. 

In addition to his full-time legal practice, Mr. Srebnick has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami School of Law for more than twenty years, teaching “Criminal Prosecutions and Defense Lawyering Workshop: Situational Ethics in the Adversarial System of Justice.” He has also written extensively and lectured at continuing legal education seminars across the country on ethics, trial techniques, and appellate practice.

 

Black Srebnick Experience

  • In his second case before the Supreme Court of the United States, Luis v. United States,  Howard challenged as unconstitutional a pretrial injunction prohibiting a defendant from spending untainted assets needed to retain private counsel. Certiorari was granted, and Howard delivered an oral argument on November 10, 2015. In a landmark decision announced on March 30, 2016, a 5-Justice majority agreed with Howard’s argument. It vacated the injunction, thus guaranteeing that his client could exercise her Sixth Amendment right to retain counsel of choice.  
  • In his first argument before the High Court, Kaley v. United States, the question presented was whether criminal defendants, whose assets have been frozen, have a constitutional right to a pretrial hearing to challenge the restraint insofar as the assets are needed to exercise the Sixth Amendment right to retain counsel of choice. The argument was held on October 16, 2013 [Oral Argument Audio], and a decision was rendered on February 25, 2014. Although the Court held that defendants could not challenge the grand jury’s probable cause finding of a crime, the government conceded that defendants have a right to a hearing on the traceability of the restrained assets to the crime charged. 
  • Working with Firm Partner Mark Shapiro, Howard successfully resolved the case of a 24-year-old Chinese national who was charged with attempted first-degree murder for attacking another young woman at the Art Basel Exhibition in Miami Beach. Howard and Mark arranged for her to be released on bail and undergo mental health treatment, which established that she was suffering from a severe mental disorder that would support an insanity defense. After a lengthy evidentiary hearing, the criminal court judge accepted a disposition that permitted her to remain free and immediately return home to China to receive mental health treatment. See newspaper accounts of the case here.
  • Acquittal for four-time Indy 500 champion and Dancing with the Stars winner Helio Castroneves and his sister Katiucia on tax evasion charges. To hear Howard’s closing argument click here.
  • Acquittal and hung jury for a former Justice Department attorney charged with racketeering in the 5-month trial of the “Cali Cartel” case.
  • Acquittal of NFL Super Bowl wide receiver Tony Martin of money laundering charges following a 3-week federal trial in Miami.
  • Vacated racketeering conviction of Michael J. Peter, the famed gentlemen’s club impresario who founded “Solid Gold,” “Pure Platinum,” and “Thee Dollhouse,” on a writ of error Coram Nobis.  (United States v. Peter, 310 F.3d 709 (11th Cir. 2002)
  • Reversed conviction obtained in United States v. Lopez-Vanegas, 493 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir. 2007), based on argument that a conspiracy hatched in the U.S. to distribute cocaine in foreign countries was not a crime under U.S. drug statutes.
  • Interlocutory reversal of pretrial restraining order in United States v. Kaley, 579 F.3d 1247 (11th Cir. 2009), holding that a defendant has a due process right to a pretrial hearing on the restraint of assets needed to retain counsel of choice. 
  • Not Guilty verdict obtained (along with co-counsel Roy Black) for a Miami jewelry supplier and his sales manager on charges they laundered more than $8 million in cocaine profits for Colombian drug lords.
  • Not Guilty verdict for a Cuban exile accused of conspiring to assassinate Fidel Castro. The verdict made international news. [See news articles here.]
  • Charges dropped against a real estate developer accused of public corruption in the “Stadium Naples” scandal after the court granted a motion to exclude evidence and to change venue based on prejudicial pretrial publicity.
  • Trial attorney for a Senior Executive and Vice President of the once leading residential mortgage lender in Puerto Rico accused of a $100 million securities fraud. Howard cross-examined stock analysts, regulatory personnel from the Federal Reserve, financial company employees, financial consultants, investment bankers, alleged financial victims, a New York Stock exchange representative, valuators, internal and external auditors, and an SEC custodian, In this hotly-contested trial in the Southern District of New York the jury returned a split-verdict; the Court rejected the government’s request for a 27-year sentence, imposed a 4-year sentence under which the defendant qualified for program credits resulting in his early release. 

 

Prior Experience

Prior to joining the Firm, Howard served as a law clerk to former Chief U.S. District Judge Edward B. Davis of the Southern District of Florida and the late Judge Irving L. Goldberg U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Howard then spent three years as a trial and appellate attorney with the Federal Public Defender in Miami.

Court Admissions

  • California, 1989
  • Florida, 1992
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, 2021
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 2006
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2020
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 2018
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2014
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1989
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1995
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2002-2015
  • U.S. District Court, District of Puerto Rico, 2005
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1995
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 2010

Awards & Recognition

  • Formerly served as the youngest member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the nation’s premier criminal defense organization with more than 10,000 lawyer members. Remains co-chair of the NACDL’s Lawyer Assistance Strike Force, defending fellow lawyers facing subpoenas or sanctions in connection with their zealous advocacy. He also is co-chair of the NACDL’s Oral Argument Panel, which Mr. Srebnick launched in 2002 to assist other lawyers to prepare for their appellate advocacy. 
  • Serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Miami School of Law, teaching “Situational Ethics in the Adversarial System of Justice.”
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Chambers and Partners (Florida Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (2004-2022)
    • Star Individuals, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations – Florida, 2022.  “Howard Srebnick undertakes a varied caseload, including significant criminal cases, as well as complex commercial disputes.
      ‘He’s exceptionally talented.’ ‘He’s an excellent criminal practitioner.'”
    • Star Individual (Band 1), Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations – Florida, 2021.  “A powerhouse in the market.” “He’s a consummate professional.”
    • Notable Practitioner (Band 1), Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations – Florida, 2019. “‘Howard is a star’ and ‘an exceptional lawyer; incredibly bright, always looking for unique, clever, different ways to approach problems.
    • Notable Practitioner, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2018. “One hugely impressed commentator avers: ‘Howard Srebnick repeatedly impresses me and is one of the top defense attorneys in Miami and nationwide.‘”
    • Notable Practitioner, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2017. “A ‘top-flight lawyer’ who is ‘really impressive,’ Howard Srebnick is considered by fellow lawyers to be ‘great to work with.'” 
  • Best Lawyers, 2005-2021
    • “Best Lawyers,” Best Lawyers, Miami: White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2006-2021; Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar/General Practice, 2006-2021; Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2019-2020; Commercial Litigation, 2016-2020
    • Best Lawyers Business Edition, Criminal Defense: General Practice, 2016
    • “Lawyer of the Year, ” Best Lawyers, Miami Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2015; Criminal Defense: General Practice, 2020
  • Most Effective Lawyers: Appellate,” Daily Business Review, 2016
  • Most Effective Lawyers: Criminal Justice,”  Daily Business Review, 2009
  • Most Effective Lawyers: Criminal Defense,” Daily Business Review, 2005
  • “Top Lawyers,” South Florida Legal Guide, 2003-2019
  • Florida Super Lawyer 
    • “Florida Super Lawyers,” Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2006-2021
    • “Top 100 Miami Super Lawyers,” Florida Super Lawyers, 2010-2021
    • “The Top 100,” Florida Super Lawyers, 2006, 2008-2021
  • Superstar,” Attorney at Law Magazine, 2019
  • “Florida Legal Elite Hall of Fame,” Florida Trend, 2019-2020
  • “Florida Legal Elite,” Criminal Law, Florida Trend, 2006-2012, 2014-2022
  • “Best of the Bar,” South Florida Business Journal, 2003-2010
  • Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence, 2008-2016
  • Who’s Who Legal: Compendium Edition, 2017
  • South Florida Power Player,” South Florida Business Leader, 2010
  • “Top 250 Lawyers in South Florida,” South Florida Legal Guide, 2003

AV® Preeminent™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies.

 

Memberships

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Life Member)
  • The Miami-Dade County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association

Interviews & Published Articles

HOWARD SREBNICK: A True Believer, Attorney at Law Magazine Interview, February 22, 2019

“Whatever You Do, Don’t Look at the Clock”, Super Lawyer Magazine, July 7, 2020

Languages

  • Spanish

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