Joel Erik Thompson, Ltd.

Joel Erik Thompson is the principal lawyer for the Thompson law office, based in Phoenix, Arizona. His outstanding credentials are summarized below. The focus of the office's, and Mr. Thompson's, practice is the courtroom representation of individuals and corporations accused of major crimes, with special focus on high profile, high publicity and complex cases. He has also written and argued many criminal appeals at all levels of the court system, including before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization as a criminal law specialist since 1980, Mr. Thompson presided over both civil and criminal trials during his years as an Arizona Superior Court Judge pro tempore, and he has been solo or lead defense counsel in hundreds of jury trials across the nation involving major criminal accusations. In addition to representing the Thompson office's clients, Mr. Thompson is regularly associated by other lawyers to handle courtroom representation of their clients. In that capacity, he was for years the chief trial lawyer for a large Phoenix, Arizona law firm where he associated, on a limited basis, for that firm's most serious cases.

When asked recently what the background of his "typical" client might be, Mr. Thompson's response was, "I've represented people all across the social, financial, educational, ethnic and occupational landscape. Even the proverbial doctor, lawyer, though I'm still waiting for the first 'Indian chief' to call. Occupational backgrounds of clients that come to mind are: police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, prosecutor, probation officer, judge, lawyer, court reporter, professional athlete, professional musician, political figure, teacher, school psychologist, school district administrator, business owner, corporate officer, doctor, nurse, physical therapist, biker, motivational speaker, member of the clergy, truck driver, software designer, programmer, mechanic, race car driver, photographer, accountant, bookkeeper, you name it. I guess legal troubles can visit anybody, anywhere."

Professional Summary

  • Licensed to practice law since 1970
  • Licensed as a professional engineer for over 25 years
  • Certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in criminal law since 1980
  • Judge pro tempore of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County 1987-1995
  • Listed in Marquis' Who's Who in American Law
  • Listed in Marquis' Who's Who in America
  • Listed in Marquis' Who's Who in the World
  • Listed in Marquis' Who's Who in Finance and Business
  • Listed in Marquis' Who's Who in Finance and Industry
  • Listed in Marquis' Who's Who in Business and the Professions
  • Listed in Who's Who in Arizona
  • Listed in International Who's Who of Professionals
  • Listed in National Directory of Who's Who in Executives and Professionals
  • Listed in International Biographical Centre's "One Thousand Great Americans"
  • Listed in PHOENIX magazine's TOP LAWYERS, November, 2006 issue
  • Southwest SuperLawyers 2008-2011


  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Charter member)
  • National Constitution Center (Founding member)
  • Maricopa County Bar Association, Member Bench and Bar Committee (1992 - 1996)
  • Maricopa County Bar Association, Member Continuing Legal Education Committee (1990 - 1994)
  • Arizona Association of Private Investigators (Honorary member)
  • International Association for Identification (Honorary member)
  • American Probation and Parole Association (former member)

Teaching Experience

  • Arizona State University, School of Law
  • American Institute, Department of Paralegal Studies
  • Phoenix Regional Police Academy, Instructor
  • Numerous seminars for the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, Office of the Maricopa County Public Defender, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and others.
  • Speaker at national conferences for the International Association for Identification, Arizona Association of Private Investigators, and VOCAL/NASVO.


  • Seton Hall University, School of Law - Juris Doctor degree
  • National College of Criminal Defense, Bates College of Law, University of Houston, intensive program
  • College of Advocacy, Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy, Hastings College of Law, University of California
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Diploma, Advocacy Program, College of Law, University of Arizona
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Diploma, Advanced Advocacy Program, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
  • Newark (N.J.) College of Engineering - B.S. degree (8 semesters Dean's List, diploma cum laude) in Mechanical Engineering

Admitted to Practice

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, District of Arizona
  • United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
  • United States Court of Military Appeals
  • United States Customs Court
  • United States Court of Claims
  • United States Tax Court
  • Supreme Court of Arizona