Learn about Ed Ungvarsky -Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC

Ed's Biography

Ed handles all kinds of criminal cases in state courts in Virginia and in the District of Columbia and in federal courts nationwide, particularly the DC, Virginia, and Maryland federal district courts. Ed has practiced as a criminal defense attorney for almost 25 years since graduating Yale Law School in 1993. Ed graduated with his B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1990. 


During law school, Ed worked for two large DC law firms, Jenner & Block and Akin, Gump. Upon graduating from Yale Law School, Ed clerked in Montgomery, Alabama for the Honorable Frank M. Johnson, Jr., on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Judge Johnson "the man who gave true meaning to the word justice." Ed considers his federal appellate clerkship with one of the most illustrious judges in U.S. history an unparalleled learning experience.


When his clerkship ended, Ed continued to focus on criminal appeals and state and federal post-conviction habeas appeals at public service law offices in Tempe, Arizona and New York City. In Arizona, Ed's appellate work led to the vacating of the death sentence of a client and the removal of that client from Death Row. At the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York, Ed briefed and personally argued criminal appeals and post-conviction claims before the Appellate Division, First Department, the New York Court of Appeals, the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 


In 1997, Ed moved to Washington, DC and the Northern Virginia region to work as a criminal defense trial attorney. Ed was responsible for thousands of clients at the DC Public Defender Service for 12 years, as a trial attorney, supervising trial attorney, special counsel for forensic DNA and forensic sciences, and chief of the trial division. As the lead trial attorney in the office, Ed provided overall management of the 60-attorney unit to ensure that every client received superior representation and also enjoyed his own active trial caseload of complex criminal cases. Ed has personally tried approximately 50 cases in DC Superior Court and has closely supervised hundreds more. 


In 2009, Ed was asked to take over the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office, located in Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia, to lead an office representing persons facing the possibility of the death penalty in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia at the trial-level and direct appeal stages. Before the trial courts, Ed and his team successfully kept 15 clients from receiving death sentences. On appeal, Ed's office vacated the death sentence of a client who had been represented by different counsel at his trial; Ed also assisted an executive clemency appeal and addressed clients' legal needs post-conviction. Ed's work was capped by the 2018 life verdict at trial for a client who had killed his wife and a police officer in the same incident in a county whose prosecutor had never before failed to obtain a jury's death sentence in a half-century in office.


Ed brings his successful style of thoughtful, creative, compassionate, and client-centered representation to white collar and criminal defense clients in federal court, DC Superior Court, and trial courts across Virginia, particularly in the cities and counties in Northern Virginia. 


Ed is licensed to practice law in DC, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, as well as the federal courts in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. 

Ed's Honors, Awards, and Memberships

Honors and Awards

  • a 2018 Best Lawyer in Criminal Defense Practice in Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Magazine
  • Bill Geimer Award Recipient for dedicated capital defense, presented by Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, Washington & Lee School of Law (2017-18)
  • Spirit of the Law Award, Forensic and Legal Psychology Program, Marymount University (2015)
  • Kutak-Dodds Prize, National Legal Aid & Defender Association (2014)
  • President's Commendation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2010)
  • President's Commendation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2006)
  • Mary McCarthy Fellowship in Public Interest Law, Yale Law School (1992)

Memberships

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL)
  • District of Columbia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (DCCDL)
  • Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (VACDL)
  • District of Columbia Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association (SCTLA)
  • National Association for Public Defense (NAPD)

Ed's Teaching and University Appointments

Clinical and Classroom Teaching

  • Instructor, Trial Advocacy Workshop, Harvard Law School (2009 - current)
  • Supervising Attorney, Criminal Division, DC Law Students in Court (December 2018 - June 2019)
  • Adjunct Professor, Mitigation and the Death Penalty, Forensic & Legal Psychology Graduate Program, Marymount University (Fall 2013 - Fall 2017)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Arizona State University College of Law (1994-95)

Edward Ungvarsky in Alexandria Ed Ungvarsky in Washington Ed Ungvarsky in Alexandria

Ed's Publications

  • Gene Rossi & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Terry McAuliffe’s Squandered Opportunity for Compassion, Wash. Post (July 23, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gov-mcauliffe-made-an-irreversible-mistake/2017/07/21/294b0814-6800-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?utm_term=.0c9a2a1afe43
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Bryan Stevenson for the Supreme Court, National Association for Public Defense, http://publicdefenders.us/?q=node%2F998 (Feb. 22, 2016)
  • Jack Ballantyne, Catherine Cothran, Jules Epstein, Christine Funk, Chris Plourd, Vanessa Potkin, Ronald Reinstein, & Edward Ungvarsky, National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, DNA for the Defense Bar (June 2012), https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/237975.pdf 
  • Bernadette Mary Donovan & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward – Or Has It Been a Path Misplaced?, Champion 16 (Feb. 2012), https://www.nacdl.org/champion.aspx?id=23807
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Letter to the Editor, A Different Path to the High Court?, Wash. Post A20 (Apr. 25, 2010)
  • Nell Sedransk, Linda J. Young, Katrina Kelner, Robert Moffitt, Ani Thakar, Jordan Raddick, Edward Ungvarsky, Richard W. Carlson, Rolf Apweiler, Lawrence H. Cox, Deborah Nolan, Keith A. Soper, & Cliff Spiegelman, Make Research Data Public? – Not Always So Simple: A Dialogue for Statisticians and Science Editors, 25 Statistical Sci. 41 (2010), https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1280841732
  • Dan Krane, David Balding, V. Bahn, Bicka Barlow, J.E. Cohen, Betty Layne DesPortes, Peter D’Eustachio, Travis E. Doom, Simon Ford, Christine Funk, Jason Gilder, Greg Hampikian, Keith. Inman, Alan Jamieson, Patrick E. Kent, Roger Koppl, Irv Kornfield III, Sheldon Krimsky, Jennifer Mnookin, Lawrence Mueller, Erin Murphy, David R. Paoletti, D. Petrov, Michael Raymer, Andrea Roth, Norah Rudin, William Shields, Jay A. Siegel, Travis Speed, Cliff Spiegelman, Patrick Sullivan, Anjali R. Swienton, William C. Thompson, & Edward Ungvarsky, Letter to the Editor, Time for DNA Disclosure, 326 Science 1631-32 (2009), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20019271
  • Andrea L. Roth & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Data Sharing in Forensic Science: Consequences for the Legal System, 2009 Proceedings of the Joint Statistical Meetings 469-74 (2009), https://works.bepress.com/andrea_roth/8/
  • Andrea L. Roth & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Book Review, Forensic Identification and Criminal Justice: Forensic Science, Justice, and Risk, by Carole McCartney, 8 Law, Probability, and Risk 55 (2009), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1317441
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Remarks on The Use and Misuse of Forensic Science to Lead to False Convictions, 41 New England L. Rev. 609 (2007), https://newenglrev.com/archive/volume-41/issue-3-2/v41b3ungvarsky/
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, What Does “1 in a Trillion” Mean?, 20 GeneWatch 10 (Jan./Feb. 2007), http://wispd.org/attachments/article/244/What%20does%20One%20in%20a%20Trillion%20Mean.pdf 
  • Frederika A. Kaestle, Ricky A. Kittles, Andrea L. Roth, & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Database Limitations on the Evidentiary Value of Forensic Mitochondrial DNA Evidence, 43 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 53 (2006), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1247662
  • Rebecca S. Tinio & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Expert Testimony, in Criminal Procedure Institute Practice Manual (The Deborah T. Creek Criminal Practice Institute 2005 ed.)
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Reasonable Doubt in the Age of CSI: Experts and Science in the Courtroom, 6 The San Antonio Defender 3 (July/Aug. 2005)
  • Richard S. Schmechel, William C. Thompson, & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Defending with (and Against) Forensic Evidence: A Call for Shared Resources, Champion 39 (Aug. 2005)
  • Edward J. Ungvarsky, Letter to the Editor re: Death Penalty: The Catholic Position, N.Y. Post (Apr. 2, 1996)
  • Michael J. Raphael & Edward J. Ungvarsky, Excuses, Excuses: Neutral Explanations Under Batson v. Kentucky, 27 U. Mich. J.L. Ref. 229 (1994), reprinted in James G. Carr, ed., Criminal Law Review 463 (1995), https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/umijlr27&div=9&id=&page=