MyPhillyLawyer Attorney Profile: Kenneth C. Edelin Jr. Brings Criminal Defense Experience and Respect for His Clients to His Work
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on October 31st, 2011
After graduating from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1990, Ken Edelin Jr. went to work as a counselor in a Washington, D.C. community-based shelter for teens who got themselves into very serious trouble with the law.
The shelter was a place for them to stay until the courts decided what to do with them, including options from probation to prison.
It was difficult and emotional work with kids whose lives were often affected by poverty and difficult home situations. And from those trying experiences working with troubled teens every day in that shelter, that’s where Edelin found the inspiration to become a criminal defense lawyer.
“Part of my responsibility in that job was to go back and forth with them to court,” Edelin says. “But I didn’t like the representation that they were getting in court. I decided that poor people needed good attorneys, too. My perception was that they weren’t really getting help from the lawyers who were there for them. So I went to law school to become a public defender.”
Today, Edelin brings that same compassion to his work with MyPhillyLawyer.
His total dedication to his clients is one of his greatest strengths as a lawyer.
“I will represent them as I would want someone to represent any of my four children, with that same absolute care and concern,” Edelin says. “That’s what comes from me and this office. I want them to know they are in good hands as much as they can be. At the end of the day, they should be secure in the knowledge that we did everything that we could for them.”
More than anything, Edelin understands that the lives and livelihoods of his clients are on the line when they enter a courtroom.
“I understand the magnitude of the responsibilities,” he says. “I take it very seriously. I enjoy when I am able to help somebody. I strive to do everything I can to be sure the system treats them fairly.”
Edelin was born in Dayton, Ohio, on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where his dad was in the U.S. Air Force. He was raised in Boston, Mass., and Washington, D.C. In high school, he was an All-Star basketball player for Brookline High School.
After graduating from Morehouse College, Edelin went to the Howard University School of Law, earning his law degree in 1996. He then headed to Philadelphia where he became a staff attorney position at The Defender Association of Philadelphia, which is one of the premier Public Defenders offices in the U.S. He worked as a staff attorney in both the State and Federal divisions of the office and litigated major trials in both.
In 2008, Edelin left the group and opened his own law office in Philadelphia. A year later, he joined MyPhillyLawyer.
Edelin has been admitted to the Bars of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is also a Criminal Justice Act panel member for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, where he takes court appointments for indigent clients. He has extensive litigation experience both in jury and non-jury trials throughout Pennsylvania in both State and Federal Court.
His experience in both the public and private sectors has enabled him to develop a reputation as a staunch advocate for the downtrodden and disenfranchised.
In his legal career, two separate criminal cases years ago left a strong impression on him, he says. Both were jury trials where neither client showed up for court because they were afraid that no one would believe them. “They went AWOL because they were so scared that they’d be found guilty,” he says. Instead, Edelin presented their cases in court and both were found not guilty.
“I felt a great sense of relief and amazement and of pride in the system,” he says.
Edelin and his wife have four children and recently moved to Delaware after living in West Philadelphia for many years.
His hobbies revolve around his children. “I enjoy watching my children excel and grow and being an active participant in their lives,” he says with a smile. “I like listening to music, including R&B and any kind that’s relaxing. And I enjoy taking my wife out on a date every now and then.”
Edelin is also active in his community, volunteering in a wide range of community events, including food and clothing drives, highway clean-up projects and Ronald McDonald House events.