Davina T. 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 Interest Law and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After law school, Ms. Chen 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 indigent individuals accused of federal crimes at every stage of criminal proceedings.
In practice since 1999, Ms. Chen has earned a reputation as a tenacious, creative, and aggressive advocate for her clients. Whether in investigation, negotiations, or courtroom advocacy, Ms. Chen 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 her vast knowledge of federal criminal and constitutional law, has earned her clients unusually favorable resolutions. In addition, she continues to consult with trial counsel in complex matters, either to prevent the need for an appeal, or to preserve a record that makes success on appeal more likely.
Ms. Chen has served as Special Counsel to the United States Sentencing Commission, which sets national sentencing policy, and is active in representing the interests of defendants before that body. Nationally recognized within the defender community, she is frequently invited to train other criminal defense attorneys. In 2015, Ms. Chen was selected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to serve as an Appellate Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. In 2019, she was appointed by Chief Judge Thomas to serve on the Ninth Circuit's Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
In 2013, Ms. Chen founded the Law Office of Davina T. Chen.