Alex is a seasoned appellate specialist with nearly two decades of experience in high-stakes, high-profile, complex litigation and a reputation for skillful briefing and oral argument. She has served as lead counsel in over 100 appeals and post-conviction matters in state and federal court, earning praise from judges for her “prepared, engaging, and effective” style, her “special contribution” to the appeals process, and her “excellent” demonstration of “the art of advocacy.” Among colleagues, Alex is known for her “creative, well-written, and compelling” briefing, and as “an outstanding appellate advocate” who “zealously represents her clients.”

Trial attorneys engage Alex to advise on strategy and issue preservation, and to bring her sharp appellate mind, skill at dissecting statutes and crafting novel claims, and experience as lead counsel in dozens of federal district court cases to bear at the trial level. Alex quickly identifies the salient issues and develops impeccably researched arguments to give her clients the best chance to win.

Alex has particular expertise in handling high-profile matters. She was selected to serve as appellate defense counsel in one of the most closely watched capital murder cases in U.S. history, and her groundbreaking litigation on behalf of a medical marijuana dispensary owner was featured in The New York Times and L.A. Times.

Before joining BKLW, Alex devoted over thirteen years to public service as a Deputy Federal Public Defender at the largest federal defender office in the nation, in Los Angeles, with eleven years in the prestigious Appellate Unit.  In addition to maintaining a docket of some of the most challenging and high-profile appeals in the office, Alex supervised trial cases, led trainings, coordinated a multi-year clemency screening project for the Central District of California, and established a mentorship program for women attorneys.

Alex is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she was awarded her degree Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in Government. After college, she spent two years as the Program Coordinator for the Innocence Project in New York, evaluating cases and helping to establish a nationwide course on wrongful convictions. Alex earned her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was selected as an Articles Editor for the Yale Law Journal, was chosen as a teaching assistant for two courses and research assistant for the Connecticut Advisory Commission on Wrongful Convictions, and served as co-chair of the school’s Capital Assistance Project. Following graduation from law school, Alex clerked for the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

When not wonking out on legal doctrine, Alex enjoys travel, cooking, and watching the New England Patriots. She is a former International Game Fish Association World Record Holder for Women’s Bluefish on Six Pound Line.

Representative Matters

  • Served as appellate defense counsel in one of the most high-profile federal capital murder cases in U.S. history.
  • Represented medical marijuana dispensary owner in highly publicized, decade-long battle to overturn federal narcotics convictions and avoid five-year mandatory minimum sentence, resulting in disposition that will wipe clean all felony convictions and client’s criminal record. Developed novel legal claims that served as a model for medical marijuana cases across the country and were featured in The New York Times and L.A. Times.
  • Successfully defended post-conviction reversal of client’s first-degree murder conviction and life sentence, resulting in published Ninth Circuit decision.
  • Obtained reversal of client’s conviction for unlawfully transporting firearms into his state of residence in published Ninth Circuit decision.
  • Obtained reversal of client’s conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm in published Ninth Circuit decision establishing probationers’ right to be free from warrantless cell phone searches. Case featured as one of the Top Five new Ninth Circuit search and seizure cases in 2016 update to Developments in Federal Search and Seizure Law.
  • Obtained reversal of client’s convictions for bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery based on possible juror misconduct.
  • Obtained reversal of client’s conviction for participating in marijuana grow operation based on officers’ warrantless entry into and seizure of property. One of the reviewing judges issued a letter commending Alex on her “excellent advocacy” and “special contribution in assisting the court.”
  • Obtained reversal of probation condition requiring client convicted of misdemeanor simple assault to provide DNA sample. Alex persuaded the appeals court to reject the government’s argument that all federal arrestees and convicts were subject to DNA collection at the time. One of the reviewing judges praised Alex on her “impressive” advocacy, calling her “prepared, engaging, and effective.”
  • Obtained reversal of client’s 15-year sentence for armed bank robbery in published Ninth Circuit decision under the demanding plain error standard.
  • Obtained reversal of client’s over-12-year sentence for narcotics sales based on sentencing error that went undetected in the trial court.
  • Represented client in sentencing appeal where, upon reviewing the opening brief, the government conceded error and moved for a new hearing. At resentencing, Alex convinced the court to cut the client’s sentence in half.
  • Obtained reversal of client’s sentence for illegal reentry after deportation, even though prior counsel had conceded the legal issue in the trial court.
  • Obtained reversal of sanctions imposed on trial counsel for tardiness.

Professional Highlights

Speaking Engagements

  • Sole Presenter, FPD/CJA Training: Preserving Sentencing Issues for Appeal, 2020
  • Panelist, Loyola Law School Fidler Institute on Criminal Justice: Marijuana Prosecutions, 2018
  • Sole Presenter, FPD/CJA Training: Preserving Sentencing Issues for Appeal, 2013
  • Presenter, The Innocence Network National Conference, 2001