Attorney Jon Zulauf has regularly been recognized as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in Washington state. He has been named every year since 2003 to Washington State Super Lawyers, including most recently for 2018. Seattle Magazine has ranked him one of the top five criminal defense attorneys in Seattle, and he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since 1995, including for 2013. Most recently, Best Lawyers named Jon the 2014 Lawyer of the Year for Seattle in the area of Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar.
Seattle Business magazine has named Jon as being among the best lawyers in Puget Sound in the area of Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar for 2013, and the September/October 2010 issue of Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition honored him as one of the top attorneys in Civil and Criminal Litigation in America.
Avvo has awarded Jon its very highest rating of Superb in the area of criminal defense, and the 2015 U.S.News—Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” survey has given Zulauf & Chambliss a Tier 1 Ranking for Seattle in the area of Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar.
Jon practices criminal defense in Seattle with a special focus on the following crimes:
- Murder, assault, other violent crimes
- Vehicular homicide
- Rape and child molestation
Since 2016, Jon has focused a significant part of his practice on petitions for clemency, commutations, pardons, and parole. Together with Jen Smith, he was a founder of the Seattle Clemency Project, which matches indigent and deserving prisoners with volunteer lawyers. Jon is the President of the Board of Directors of the Seattle Clemency Project.
In the area of white collar criminal defense, Jon has represented a lawyer charged with racketeering in Alaska, a real estate developer charged with securities violations, doctors accused of Medicare fraud, and corporations charged with EPA and FDA crimes. He has represented corporations accused by the Department of Financial Institutions of fraud in the Pay Day Loan industry and individuals charged with IRS crimes.
Other notable cases Jon has taken on include:
- Doctors at the University of Washington relating to the University of Washington Physicians investigation
- A mechanic implicated in the Alaska Airlines crash
- Employees of the Olympic Pipeline Company regarding a gasoline explosion in Bellingham
- Well-known sports figures, including a Seattle Seahawk football player and a Seattle Sonic basketball player
- The celebrity, Courtney Love
In 2008, Jon successfully defended Pamela Moran, charged in Federal Court with 36 Counts of tax fraud. After a lengthy trial before Judge Coughenour, she was found not guilty of all counts.
In 2007, Jon volunteered to represent two Guantanamo Bay detainees allegedly involved in acts of terrorism. He traveled to Cuba, met with his clients, and worked to establish that his clients had no association with Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Each of those clients has now been released from prison. Jon has also contributed his time to the Innocence Project, and he successfully reversed a conviction in which his client was falsely accused of committing thousands of acts of child molestation in the notorius Wenatchee child sex abuse trials.
Jon is a past-President of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the chairman of the Federal Bar Committee, and a frequent lecturer at CLE seminars. He is a member of the Washington Bar and several federal bars, and has practiced in the Courts of Washington, Hawaii, California, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska and Florida. Jon was an invited lecturer at the Washington State Judicial Conference on the topic of diminished capacity.
Jon graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1973, then went on to law school at the University of Georgia, graduating in 1976. At Emory, he was the Chairman of the University’s Speaker’s Bureau. In law school he was on the International Moot Court team.
After a summer internship with the law firm of Culp, Dwyer, Guterson and Grader in 1975, Jon worked as a law clerk for a King County Superior Court Judge. In 1977 he started a five-year period of public defender work representing clients on a variety of felony charges including five first-degree murder trials. None of his clients were convicted of first-degree murder. Jon entered private practice in 1983 joining Larry Finegold, a former Assistant United States Attorney, practicing in both state and federal criminal courts.
Jon was born on November 20, 1950 in Ann Arbor, Michigan where his father was an instructor in the University of Michigan Business School. Raised in Ohio, he was the Student Body President in high school.
Jon has been involved in the community as a basketball and soccer coach, a fundraiser for Little League baseball in the Rainier Valley, a board member for three years with Powerful Schools, and a board member with Pratt Fine Arts.