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Criminal Defense


Injury and






Real Estate Matters

Google Search Michael J. Vavonese, Esq.
for news articles on past cases*




For the past 35 years Michael J. Vavonese practiced in the area of criminal law at all levels of the Courts in the State of New York and in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York as a criminal trial attorney.


He has handled all types of penal law and traffic infractions from representing individuals charged with Murder to those charged with DWI and traffic offenses. He has represented defendants charged with some of the most serious and notorious crimes in Upstate and Northern New York including a number of trials that have resulted in acquittals on the most serious charges.*

His representation of Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice plaintiffs has resulted in recoveries in the amount of one million dollars or more.*


Michael J. Vavonese graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in 1976 and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Canisius College in 1980. Michael received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law in 1983 and was admitted to the New York State Bar and the District Court for the Northern District of New York in 1984.

Michael was an associate of Emil M. Rossi, Esq. for many years before opening his own law practice, which he continues to operate today.

In 2011, Michael was honored by being included in the Super Lawyers annual magazine in the area of Criminal Law for Upstate New York and was recognized by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys for his excellence in that field of criminal law.


Michael has been quoted regarding his representation of criminal and civil litigants in various national news outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, Inside Edition and The Nancy Grace Show. Michael has lectured in the area of criminal law for the New York State Bar Association, the Onondaga County Bar Association, the New York State Association of Town and Village Justices and has been a guest lecturer for trial practice at Syracuse University College of Law. Michael is also a past delegate to the Onondaga County Judicial Nominating Committee.

* Past results do not guarantee future specific outcomes

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New York State Bar
Admittance: February, 1984 – Present

Northern District of New York:

Admittance: 1984 – Present


Michael J. Vavonese Law Office
2001- Present
Concentration in Criminal Law and
Personal Injury

Emil M. Rossi, Esq. Law Office
May, 1984-2001
Concentration in Criminal Law

City of Syracuse Corporation Counsel’s Office
Summer, 1982
Law Clerk to First Assistant Corporation Counsel




Duquesne University School of Law • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, J.D. 1983

(Visiting Student Syracuse University School of Law, 1983)

Canisius College • Buffalo, New York, B.A. 1980

Christian Brothers Academy • Syracuse, New York 1976


Included in Super Lawyers Magazine in the area of Criminal Law for Upstate New York in 2013
National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys Top 10 Attorney Award
Lecturer, Continuing Education, New York State Town and Village Justices
Lecturer, New York State Bar Association, Criminal Litigation
Lecturer, Onondaga County Bar Association, Criminal Litigation and Search and Seizure Issues

Guest Lecturer, Syracuse University School of Law Trial Practice Class
Evaluator, Syracuse University School of Law Moot Court Competition
Pi Sigma Nu, Political Science National Honor Society
Di Gamma Honor Society
Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities

Thomas J. Pirro Award for Legal and Civic contributions to the Central New York Community


New York State Bar Association

Onondaga County Bar Association

Central New York Catholic Lawyers Guide

Board of Trustee, Upstate Multiple Sclerosis Society

Board of Director, Eastwood Bears Football Association

President, C.B.A. Alumni Association

Canisius College CNY Alumni Association

Past Onondaga County Republican Alternate Delegate to Judicial Nominating Committee

Italian American Athletic Club

Our Lady of Pompei Holy Name Society

President, Our Lady of Pompei School Alumni Association

President, Columbus Day Monument Foundation

Board of Trustees, Columbus Day Parade Committee

Lakeshore Yacht and Country Club

Italian American Bar Association


I was so touched that you went out of your way to thank the defense lawyer. The accused is entitled to an attorney - even a confessed murderer like Ryan Lawrence. From what I've heard, he got one of the best criminal defense lawyers. And Mr. Vavonese no doubt used all his considerable experience and expertise to try to defend the accused. It must be one of the hardest jobs in the justice system - to defend someone who has killed his own child. But Mr. Vavonese took an oath to represent all of his clients to the best of his ability - even those whose behavior is as reprehensible as this man. I'm sure Mr. Vavonese was the second most unpopular man in that court room. That's got to take a toll on a man of conscience, who (like you) entered law because of a strong sense of right and wrong, and the pursuit of justice.

— A.K.R.

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