Joseph McMullen

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Young Attorneys 2011: Practicing 3-5 years

Joe McMullen is an associate in the specialized criminal defense department of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. He has handled more than 200 felony cases involving a variety of state and federal charges from wire fraud and embezzlement to narcotics, weapons and racketeering offenses. McMullen has defended clients in more than ten federal felony jury trials, avoiding convictions on all counts in the majority of his trials. He has also argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. 

Previously, McMullen worked as a trial attorney at Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., representing indigent defendants charged with serious federal felonies. After moving to Seltzer Caplan where the focus of his practice is on individual and corporate clients investigated for alleged financial crimes or other white-collar fraud, McMullen has continued his commitment to the representation of indigent defendants as a member of the Federal Criminal Justice Act Trial Panel for the Southern District of California.    

In one of his recent federal cases -- in which the post-conviction sentence recommended under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines would have been between 24 to 30 years in prison -- McMullen achieved a directed acquittal on all counts at the conclusion of a jury trial before the Hon. Judge John A. Houston. While he has already earned a reputation for having courtroom advocacy skills well beyond his years, McMullen’s many courtroom victories have certainly been hard-earned. It is not uncommon to see him at the office late in the evening, pressure-testing his arguments or brainstorming case strategy with colleagues, as he confronts and analyzes the government’s evidence. The passion that McMullen brings to his work is clearly fueled by his commitment to standing up for the rights of each of his clients.     

McMullen earned his B.A. in economics at Pomona College, where he was also named the Defensive Player of the Year as the captain of the NCAA Division III football team. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia. While at UVA, he was awarded the Best Brief Award for the New York Region of the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition and was on the Virginia Moot Court Executive Board. 

McMullen is heavily involved in the San Diego Kiwanis Young Professional Group, which aims to serve the needs of children in San Diego. He is also an alumnus of the Louis M. Welsh and the Hon. J. Clifford Wallace Chapters of the American Inns of Court. He is fluent in Spanish.

McMullen enjoys spending time with his extended family in San Diego and his home state of Oregon. Recently, he developed a knack for making homemade ice cream, but he does not plan on making it a full-time profession as he is certain that he would eat all of his profits. 

The Daily Transcript congratulates Young Attorneys 2011

This is the culmination of a peer nominating process that asked San Diego County lawyers to name the best young attorneys in San Diego County who are: Hard-Working & Detail-Oriented, Knowledgeable & Enthusiastic, Ethical & Professional, and Committed to Furthering the Interests of Justice in Society.

Young Attorneys 2011 Finalists


Oleg Cross

Cross Law Group

Andrew Haden

United States Attorney’s Office

Anna Romanskaya

Stark & D'Ambrosio LLP

Practicing 1-2 years

Andrew Botros

Law Office of James D. Scott

Andrew Custer

Foley & Lardner LLP

Melissa Deleon

Deleon Law

Francis DiGiacco

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

Brittanie McCloskey

Law Offices of Daniel Grunbaum

JP Roach

Hughes Marino

Joe Villaseñor

Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

Practicing 3-5 years

Amanda Allen

Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP

Alissa Bjerkhoel

California Innocence Project, California Western School of Law

Theresa Bowen

Carpenter Zuckerman & Rowley LLP

Jenny Bratt


Laura Buckley

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack

Robert Chambers, II

McClellan Law Firm

William Concidine

East Village Law Group

Craig Countryman

Fish & Richardson

AnneElise Goetz

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack

Catherine Hanna

Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel

Ryan Harris

Harris Personal Injury Lawyers

Sondra Levine

UTC Aerospace Systems

Jenna Leyton

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz

Joseph McMullen

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Julie Park

Morrison & Foerster

Matthew Riopelle

Foley & Lardner LLP

Kristin Rizzo

Rizzo Law Firm

Jason Ross

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP

Andrea Russell

Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge LLP

Puja Sachdev

Sachdev Legal Group APC

Michelle Schill

Martinez & Schill LLP

Kirsten Solberg

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP

Tyler Theobald

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton

Robert Williams


Practicing 6-7 years

Alyson Amerson

Doyle Lowther LLP

Ilona Antonyan

The Law Office of Ilona Antonyan, APC

Jimmy Cheng


Bibianne Fell

Fleming & Fell PC

Ariel Javier

Law Office of Ariel A. Javier

Dan Kehr

Kehr Law

Brooke Kim


Chris Lawson

San Diego District Attorney's Office

Kate Mangan

Mayer Mangan

Megan Mazza

Allen Matkins

Ashley Palmer

Robbins Umeda LLP

Rachel Scatizzi

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

Brett Schreiber

Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire

Jason Sheinberg

San Diego Law Firm

Sean Stapleton

Alere Inc.

Devin Storey

The Zalkin Law Firm PC

David Zachry

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

Get Involved

Don't miss this opportunity to recognize your peers or congratulate the San Diego Young Attorneys. Highlight your company's expertise by advertising or sponsoring Young Attorneys 2011.

Contact us at 619.232.4381 or to receive additional information today!

Important Dates

Nominations Open: September 14
Nominations Close: October 26
Nominees Announced: November 2
Finalists Notified: November 4
Sponsorship/Advertising: December 13
Publication Date: December 21


Past Events

Young Attorneys reception

Transcript reporter Doug Sherwin talks to Nadia P. Bermudez of the Brown Law Group LLP at the 2007 Young Attorneys reception.