The Role of the Strickland Expert

Proving ineffectiveness of counsel can be a daunting challenge. Courts often seek out any way to uphold a criminal conviction in the face of a Strickland challenge, frequently clinging to the second prong of the Strickland test — prejudice — in an effort to dismiss prior counsel’s ineffectiveness as immaterial. The fundamental role of an expert in a Strickland case is to analyze the role played by the prior attorney and compare this performance to the “objective standard of reasonableness” regarding criminal law attorneys in the given jurisdiction.

A Strickland expert is intended as a neutral evaluator of the prior attorney’s conduct in an effort to aid the court in understanding what occurred and — more importantly — should have occurred in order to provide to the client the minimum level of representation guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.

  1. Role of the Strickland Expert
  2. Experience & Background of Aaron Spolin
  3. Rates

Experience and Background of Aaron Spolin

Former prosecutor and criminal appeals attorney Aaron Spolin is available to testify as an expert witness regarding the Strickland standard in state and federal cases throughout California and New York. The following list highlights some of the factors that will be helpful in the court’s admission of Mr. Spolin as an expert.

  • Former Assistant District Attorney.
  • Former criminal defense attorney.
  • Current criminal appeals attorney regularly arguing issues of ineffectiveness of counsel in front of appellate courts.
  • Former member of California Law Review.
  • Author of “Padilla and the End of the Collateral-Consequences Rule,” an analysis of the Padilla v. Kentucky case and its effects on Strickland v. Washington, which was used as the successful write-on contest submission to California Law Review.
  • Author of “Reforms for the Process of Eyewitness Identifications in Criminal Trials,” a Princeton university thesis.
  • Co-author of Serving Immigrants and Refugees: A Guide to Careers in the Law, a publication of the Harvard Law School Public Office of Public Interest Advising.
  • Winning of various awards for advocacy work.
  • Former Extern for Federal District Court Judge Schira Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York.
  • Experience handling hundreds of criminal cases.
  • Princeton University B.A.; University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) J.D.
  1. Role of the Strickland Expert
  2. Experience & Background of Aaron Spolin
  3. Rates


Rates for appearances in court depend on the complexity of the case, the type of legal issues involved, whether the case is in state or federal court, and the physical location of the courthouse. Typical rates run from $250 to $350 per hour for preparation and $250 to $450 per hour for time spent in court, with minimum daily fees for court appearances.

For more information on having Mr. Spolin serve as an expert witness in a legal matter you are handling, please contact our office at (310) 424-5816.