Mike Klinkosum’s standard for being a defense lawyer is simple: “A good lawyer represents clients, but a great lawyer fights for people.” With almost 20 years of experience as a criminal defense trial lawyer, Mike is no stranger to legal battles. Having defended thousands of people, charged with crimes ranging from minor infractions to capital murder, Mike has fought for the accused in numerous trials and hearings as lead counsel. Among the people he has fought for are business people, military officers, school teachers, engineers, law enforcement officers, and college students. He has fought on behalf of those with the means to defend themselves, as well as the poor. He has waged battles for people in high-profile cases and, more often, for the accused who received no media attention.
Mike has been certified as a Specialist in State Criminal Law by the NC Bar Board of Legal Specialization since 2004 and as a Specialist in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 2007. His practice is devoted exclusively to criminal defense and civil rights at the trial and appellate levels in both the State and Federal courts of North Carolina. He has appeared in cases in all of the regions of North Carolina.
Mike’s career and role in the criminal justice system has always been that of a trial lawyer for the accused. Prior to entering private practice, he spent several years as an Assistant Public Defender, both in Chicago, IL and Raleigh, NC. He has also represented people charged with first-degree murder as an Assistant Capital Defender with the Winston-Salem, NC and Durham, NC offices of the NC Capital Defender. Mike joined Tin Fulton Walker & Owen and opened the Raleigh office in January 2015 after several years in private practice at the Raleigh law firm of Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan.
Mike maintains an AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell and has been recognized on multiple occasions as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in North Carolina by Super Lawyers and Business North Carolina as one of North Carolina’s “Legal Elite.” He has also been recognized as one of the top 100 criminal defense trial lawyers in North Carolina by both The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers and the American Society of Legal Advocates.
Mike has served on the board of directors for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services since 2008. He is also a member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and served as the Chair of the Criminal Defense Section of the NCAJ from 2004 to 2006, as Chair of the NCAJ SBI Crime Lab Task Force from 2010 to 2011, and as a member of the Board of Governors of NCAJ from 2004 to 2007.
Mike has authored several articles in both state and national journals related to criminal defense, and has given over 45 seminars and presentations in North Carolina, as well as other states, on topics related to criminal defense, with particular emphasis on trial practice, discovery in criminal cases, forensic science, and mental health issues in criminal cases. He is also the author of Klinkosum on Criminal Defense Motions, published by Lexis and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, now in its 3rd edition and edited by Sarah Jessica Farber. Mike is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law where he teaches Criminal Procedure Litigation Skills.