Tony Abbatangelo, Esq.
Top Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyer
To say that Tony Abbatangelo, Esq. was “born into the law” would be a fair assessment of his life and professional career because it’s quite literally true. With a father that was a well-respected lawyer in Las Vegas and a mother that ran her husband’s law practice, Tony spent his formative years in his parents’ busy law firm while other kids were in daycare. For Tony, his parents law firm was his daycare.
Through that experience and being witness to all the excitement that went on at his parents’ busy firm, Tony realized at a young age that it was his destiny and calling to be an attorney, just like the father he loved so much and looked up to. Today, Tony is indeed a well-respected lawyer, respected by judges and prosecutors alike. However, equally important, he’s also beloved by his clients because they know when he’s representing them, he’s a fighter for their cause and a person with a deep reservoir of compassion.
Fabulous Las Vegas
Tony was born and raised in fabulous Las Vegas. His parents moved here in 1961. They were first generation Italian Americans who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tiring of the east coast winters they decided to move to the west coast for the opportunities and great weather. Driving to California, which was where they intended to relocate, they decided to stop in Las Vegas along the way. But like countless people who today claim Las Vegas as home, they never made it to California.
Instead, they immediately fell in love with the glitz, glamour and great weather of Las Vegas. Everything seemed fabulous here! At the time, Las Vegas was a small and friendly town and it seemed everyone had one degree of separation back then. Everybody knew each other or had a friend in common. Although Las Vegas has changed a lot since 1961, its still a relatively small city with a big name! Simply put, its still fabulous Las Vegas!
Growing Up In The Law
Tony quite literally grew up in the law. His dad was an attorney and his mother was the office manager for the law firm. Tony’s dad was “old school” and handled a very diverse set of cases. That’s how most lawyers were back in those days. From personal injury to criminal law, from divorce cases to drafting a will, Tony’s dad did it all. And while hanging out and literally growing up in his parent’s law firm, Tony got to see it all. He would go to court with his dad at an early age. As he got older, his parents put him to work as the file clerk organizing papers, serving as the firm “runner” and doing whatever else it took to help the clients.
The decision to become a lawyer for Tony was hardly a decision at all. Having grown up in the law and revering a father that was a successful, well-respected attorney that was loved by his clients, Tony knew from an early age that this was his calling. After graduating from the University of San Diego law school, passing the Nevada bar exam and becoming a licensed attorney, Tony began working in his father’s small law firm. There was no time for hand holding or coddling from his father who was as tough as they came. Tony was immediately thrown into a jury trial in which his client faced a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Tony “hung the jury.”
What this means is the jury could not decide if his client was guilty or not – they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict which is required to convict. It was certainly a victory for Tony’s client. Feeling pretty good about the result, Tony spoke to two of the jurors after the trial. Both elderly women, they told him they couldn’t convict because they felt sorry for Tony given his young age and apparent nervousness during the trial. That was a bit deflating but it taught Tony a lesson in humility and the importance of bonding with a jury. It also taught Tony another valuable lesson and that is that the focus should always be on the client.
Lessons From Mom
Watching his mother work equally as hard as his father, Tony learned at an early age to respect every person for the invaluable role they play. It takes a team to win! While his mother held the title of “office manager,” she also played an instrumental role in communicating with clients, managing their fears and anxieties and helping them understand the legal process.
According to Tony, “she drummed into me the importance of keeping clients informed, it was about showing respect. I would come back from court and she would have a stack of papers telling me to call my clients before the day ended. She also taught me humility because she was certainly never afraid to let me know when I was screwing up!”
Looking back on the early days of his career, the advice mom gave him still rings true today according to Tony: “people come to an attorney looking for help during a stressful time in their life and because of that, they should always be treated with respect and compassion no different than how a doctor should treat a patient.” Although they’re no longer with him, Tony still hears his parents telling him to keep practicing law the right way: with honesty, integrity and compassion for clients.
Judge Tony Abbatangelo
In 1993, Tony decided to run for Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge because he didn’t like how a particular judge was treating people. Tony and his friends worked hard in that election. Motivated to make the law better, Tony campaigned relentlessly. The hard work paid off. At 28 years old, Tony became the youngest attorney ever elected judge in Nevada history, a record he still holds to this day.
In 1996, Tony ran for another judicial seat, this time for Justice of the Peace in Las Vegas Justice Court. Once again, through dedication and hard work, he was elected Judge and served in that position for 14 years. During his tenure as a Judge, Tony oversaw a wide variety of cases – everything from simple traffic tickets to murder cases. A well-respected Judge, Tony routinely received the highest ratings from lawyers and the public.
In 2004, while still serving as a Judge, Tony started the DUI Court in Las Vegas. It was the first of its kind to be certified in the State of Nevada. Around the same time, he was also instrumental in the creation of the “Moderate Offender Program” or “MOP.” Having sat on the bench for a number of years, Tony observed that a significant percentage of people that find themselves in the justice system are basically good people who have either addiction or dependency issues or people who simply made a bad decision. As a pioneer in “restorative justice,” a concept that is the topic of considerable discussion today, Tony understood early on that people should be entitled to second chances and a pathway to redemption.
A Well-Respected Lawyer That Cares About His Clients
Tony is a lawyer that truly cares about his clients. Since leaving “the bench” as a Judge and joining private practice, he’s dedicated himself to maintaining his reputation as an excellent lawyer and advocate for those he serves. He routinely appears in trial courts in southern Nevada and is well-known to judges and their staff. After all, he was once one of them.
A skilled negotiator and trial attorney, Tony handles both criminal and civil cases. He’s defended the most serious of criminal cases and also negotiated high dollar settlements in personal injury matters. A graduate of the University of San Diego, for both undergraduate and law school, Tony is admitted to practice law in Nevada and is active in a number of legal and community organizations such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Nevada Justice Association and the Clark County Bar Association to name a few. A graduate of Bishop Gorman high school and a life-long resident of Las Vegas, Tony “understands” this city better than anyone. If you need a smart, compassionate attorney that knows how to get results and is no stranger to the courtroom, you need Tony and his team at The Vegas Lawyers.
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Tony knows how to get results and he also knows how to tell it straight to his clients. According to Tony, “the greatest respect you can show a client is telling them the truth about their situation and giving them the opportunity to make intelligent decisions about their case.” Further adding, “I also try to show compassion for their situation because, as a former judge, I’ve been witness to thousands of cases and I know from first-hand experience that sometimes good people find themselves in bad situations.”