Becoming Owner and Co-Managing Partner at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake is the realization of a dream that began years ago. Justin first had the opportunity to work with Jason Shapiro and David Zwanetz as a law clerk while in his second year of law school at the University of Baltimore. During that time, it was immediately apparent that Jason, David, and Justin all shared the same values and the same passion for fighting for every client and their particular and individual situations. Justin knew that this was “home”, and it was his dream to one day return after law school to join forces once again with Jason and David.
Upon joining them (Shapiro Zwanetz & Associates) in 2018, Justin’s effectiveness in the courtroom was quickly recognized by his peers as he was selected as one of Maryland Superlawyer’s Rising Stars, which is a distinction awarded to only 2.5% of the attorneys in Maryland.
Being charged with a crime and facing the criminal justice system can be a scary and daunting process. Justin takes great pride in each of his client's cases and works hard to keep all clients informed throughout the entire process.
Justin has years of experience handling a wide range of criminal, DUI/DWI, and traffic cases. Prior to Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake, Justin was an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office. During his nearly four years at the State’s Attorney’s office, Justin prosecuted thousands of DUI/DWI and misdemeanor cases, prompting his quick promotion to the Circuit Court Division, where he routinely handled major felony cases including Robbery, Armed Robbery, and First Degree Murder. Justin is now handling these same types of cases, and the experience Justin has as a former prosecutor allows him to meticulously analyze each and every aspect of his cases to get the best results for his clients.
One particularly notable case that Justin has handled was during the winter of 2019 when Justin represented a client charged with First Degree Rape, a felony that carries the possibility of life in prison. The case was not called for trial until over one full year from the date that charges were initiated. Through Justin’s tireless efforts to defend his client, he learned that the prosecution’s case was based solely on false accusations. One of the most satisfying moments of Justin’s career was when, due to Justin’s superb lawyering, evidence proposed by the State was excluded and the prosecution was forced to dismiss all charges against Justin’s client. Sharing with his client and the client’s family that their nightmare was finally over is a pinnacle moment in Justin’s career that he will never forget. Perhaps this is just one reason why one of the Maryland judges commented about him: “Justin has impressed me so much…..He puts a lot of thought into his approach for each of his clients and chose the perfect words to say on their behalf. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear Justin has been doing criminal defense for 20+ years. He is so polished and poised….”
Justin is a lifelong Maryland resident, growing up in Howard County with his parents and two sisters. Justin received his undergraduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University and matriculated from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he graduated Cum Laude. Justin now lives in Baltimore with his wife and daughter. Justin is a passionate D.C. sports fan and enjoys cheering on the Washington Football Team, Nationals, Capitals, Wizards, and of course his Nittany Lions.
Year admitted to bar: 2013
Law School: University of Baltimore, School of Law
College: The Pennsylvania State University
Born: June 10, 1988, Silver Spring, MD