James F. Mills
Criminal defense attorney Michael Kraut says few people ever expect to use his services. “Virtually everybody who comes into my office never thought they would be setting foot into a criminal defense attorney’s office,” says Kraut, the managing partner of the Kraut Law Group.
Whether it’s a DUI or drug charge or something more complex like arson, domestic violence, white collar fraud crimes or even homicide, Kraut is one of the leading criminal defense attorneys in the region. Educated at Case Western and Harvard law schools, the upstate New York native made a name for himself during the 14 years he spent as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, heading up the Hardcore Gang Homicide Division and the Major Frauds Division. While there, Kraut tried over 80 felony trials and had an astonishing 99 percent success rate in jury trials.
Since starting his own firm three years ago, he’s helping defend those he once prosecuted. He prides himself on thorough pre-trial investigation, independent of the police investigation.
“I truly love what I do,” says Kraut, who many may recognize as the legal commentator on KTLA news and the Legal Broadcast Network. “I honestly really care about the client I represent and do everything I can to help him.”
He doesn’t accept every client who comes to him, explaining it has to be a “great match between us” since he devotes himself so fully to his clients. Believing everyone should be able to get top legal representation, he also offers a sliding fee scale.
“No one should be turned away just because of financial stress,” says Kraut, who in his spare time competes on the rodeo circuit as a calf roper.
LGBT clients he takes on can rest assured they’ve got someone on their side. “I used to sit in a courtroom as a senior trial lawyer,” he says. “I guess I looked the part of a white Republican prosecutor. I had so many lawyers come up to me and say the most derogatory things about their gay and lesbian clients. I decided that no matter how successful this firm got, I would always make myself accessible to the gay and lesbian community, so that they knew there was somebody who not only knew how to try cases and protect the client, but was very well connected within the ranks of the district attorney’s office and law enforcement.”
And are there certain crimes which LGBT people are charged with more frequently?
“The gay and lesbian community is as diverse as any other community, and the crimes they are charged with are not much different than that of any other community,” says Kraut. “The only thing that the gay community has more crime around is some of the drug and sex crimes.”