About Davina Chen

Davina Chen has practiced exclusively in criminal defense and related areas since 1999. With extensive experience in both trials and appeals, Ms. Chen has earned a reputation as a smart, determined, and creative advocate for her clients.

Whether in investigation, negotiations, or litigation, she leaves no stone unturned. As a trial attorney, she was known for her aggressive motions practice that frequently resulted in the dismissal of all charges or an agreement to significantly reduced charges.  She brings the same energy to her appellate and post-conviction practice, which when combined with her keen intellect and vast knowledge of federal criminal and constitutional law, has earned her clients unusually favorable resolutions.  

Ms. Chen also consults with trial counsel in complex law and motions practice, either to prevent the need for an appeal or to preserve a record that makes success on appeal more likely.  As a highly regarded federal sentencing law expert, she also works with trial counsel from plea negotiations through sentencing to help ensure that the strongest legal arguments are identified and presented to the prosecution and, ultimately, the court.

In 2020, Ms. Chen took a leave from directly representing individual clients when she was asked to lead litigation for the National Sentencing Resource Counsel Project of the Federal Public and Community Defenders. In that capacity, she collaborated with defense attorneys and advocates throughout the country in developing constitutional, statutory, and sentencing guideline litigation strategies—from district courts to the United States Supreme Court. In recognition of her expertise in criminal law and appellate litigation, Ms. Chen was elected member of the American Law Institute in 2021. 

Returning to individual practice in 2024, Ms. Chen continues to represent clients in appellate and post-conviction matters and to consult with trial counsel in complex areas of federal criminal law. 

Ms. Chen graduated from U.C. Berkeley with highest honors in English and highest distinction in general scholarship. She earned her law degree, magna cum laude, from the New York University School of Law, where she was awarded the Root-Tilden Scholarship for Public Service and a member of the Order of the Coif. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Harry Pregerson, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She then started her practice at the Office of the Federal Public Defender, where she represented poor people accused of federal crimes at every stage of criminal proceedings. She founded the Law Office of Davina T. Chen in 2013.

Headshot of Davina Chen